Climate Action Plan

Ceisteanna (103)

John Curran

Ceist:

103. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the OPW action of the Climate Action Plan 2019 to develop a roadmap to promote greater use of lower carbon building material alternatives in construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50470/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The OPW State Architect presently conducts a Green audit when reviewing OPW architectural projects. In addition, a Green Design for Construction Guide is in preparation and should be completed in Q2-Q3 next year. This guide will include a wide range of information from site selection, design, technology, building materials, through to certain specifications.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (104)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

104. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of Bills in his Department awaiting Committee Stage. [50553/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department currently has one Bill, the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015, awaiting Committee Stage. This Bill had been scheduled for recommencement of Committee Stage in the Dáil on 3 December 2019. However, this has been postponed by the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach. The Committee informed me on 25 November 2019 that it will be in touch further when it is possible to allocate the Bill a revised date in the Committee’s meeting schedule.

The Deputy may also wish to note that once the Appropriation Bill 2019 has been approved by Government, it will go through all stages in the Dáil on the same day.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (105)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

105. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the photography costs for his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy in his Department regarding the booking of photographers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50577/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The engagement of any such service providers by my Department is done in line with procurement policy, with every effort made to minimise costs. My Department does not have a formal policy in relation to engaging photography services, as the majority of such requirements are met internally by the staff of its Press Office.

-

Name of Photographer

Event

Cost

2012

Fennell Photography

Irish Presidency European Union Public Administration Network meeting

€105.00

Fennell Photography

European Union Public Administration Network (Directors General) meeting

€105.00

2015

Noel Hillis Photography

Official opening event for the OGP Offices at Spencer Dock

€220.00

Maxwell Photography Limited

Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards

€529.00

Steven Langan t/a City Headshots

Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards

€1,500.00

Marc O’Sullivan Photography

HR Awards

€369.00

2016

Fennell Photography

Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards

€849.00

Lafayette Photography

Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards

€476.00

2017

Lensman

Civil Service Customer Engagement Survey

€430.50

Maxwell Photography Limited

NSSO Head shots

€126.00*

Maxwell Photography Limited

Shared Services Conference

€464.00*

Fennell Photography

Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards

€1,390.51

2018

Fennell Photography

Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards

€1,314.24

* Expenditure in respect of the National Shared Services Office, prior to its establishment as a Scheduled Office under the aegis of the Department on 1st January 2018

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (106)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

106. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of freedom of information requests made to his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of requests fully denied by reason; the number of requests partially denied; the number of appeals made against denials; the number of such appeals upheld; the number of such appeals rejected; the number of requests that required a fee; the amount received for freedom of information requests in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50602/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The table below sets out the number of Freedom of Information requests received by my Department from 2016 to date. The following table includes information on the number of requests that were refused, the number of requests that were partially granted, the number of appeals (Internal Reviews), the number of such appeals upheld and the number of appeals whereby the decision to release records was amended. No appeals were rejected.

Year

FOI Requests Received

Refused

Partially Granted

Internal Reviews

Appeals: Upheld

Appeals: Decision Amended

2016

203

48

69

10

6

4

2017

249

48

95

8

5

3

2018

208

66

68

14

7

7

2019 (to date)

289

80

98

10

6

4

With regard to the reasons for the refusal of FOI requests, the processing of all FOI requests in the Department is done in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2014. That Act makes provision for access, to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy, to records in the possession of public bodies such as my Department. As the Deputy will be aware, specific exemptions are set out in the legislation and these are applied by the Department where appropriate. In some instances, FOI requests are refused under more than one Section of the Act.

The following table summarises the fees received for Freedom of Information requests from 2016 to date. A small number of other FOI requests may have required fees to be paid. However, these FOI requests were refused by the Department under Section 15(1) (h) where a fee or deposit payable under Section 27 of the FOI Act in respect of the requests concerned has not been paid.

Year

Amount Received

Number of Requests

2016

€186.35

6

2017

€246.35

9

2018

€370.00

10

2019

€210.00

7

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (107)

James Browne

Ceist:

107. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding a scheme (details supplied);; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50611/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Enniscorthy (river Slaney) flood defence scheme is being progressed by Wexford County Council on behalf of the Commissioners of Public Works as a scheme under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995.

The scheme is at an advanced stage of planning and design. A formal Exhibition was held in May 2019 where the public were able to review the scheme design and measures and provide feedback on what is being proposed. The scheme proposals were generally well received and the lead consultants are currently reviewing the feedback received, finalising the design and all the documentation required for submission of the scheme for formal Confirmation of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. All submissions received during the public exhibition will be responded to.

It is planned for the scheme to be submitted for Confirmation in early 2020. Subject to Confirmation it is hoped to commence construction in the second half of 2020 after tendering for works contractors, with an estimated construction period of 3 years.

The proposed scheme will be funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and I can confirm that provision for the cost of the scheme is included in the OPW's multi-annual capital framework and the allocation for flood relief in the National Development Plan 2018-2027.

Physical Education Facilities

Ceisteanna (108)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

108. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the policy of not including general purpose and physical education rooms in existing schools in the capital plan; his views on whether physical education is an essential part of the school curriculum; his further views on whether the challenge of childhood obesity is one of the most significant health challenges being faced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50437/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware, under the National Development Plan (NDP), increased funding has been provided for the school sector capital investment programme. This funding allows for a continued focus on the provision of new permanent school places to keep pace with demographic demand and also provides for an additional focus on the refurbishment of existing school buildings, to include the building and modernisation of PE facilities.

Under Project Ireland 2040, we will invest €8.4 billion in primary and post primary school buildings. The government is committed to a PE Hall build and modernisation programme, starting in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period.

The provision of general purpose rooms and PE Halls form part of the accommodation brief for all newly established schools. These facilities may also form part of the overall accommodation brief for major capital extensions to existing schools.

These measures will ensure that students in all post-primary schools can have access to state of the art facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of PE as a Leaving Certificate subject.

A new specification for examinable Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) subject and a new non-examinable Framework for Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE) were introduced on a phased basis from September 2018.

The examinable LCPE specification is currently being delivered in 64 schools and will be examined for the first time in 2020. The national rollout of Leaving Certificate Physical Education will commence from September 2020.

40 schools are participating in Phase 1 rollout of the Framework during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 school years. The Framework is available now to all schools for their consideration in planning for Senior Cycle Physical Education. From September 2020, the new Framework will replace the existing guidelines set out in the Rules and Programmes for Secondary Schools, which currently form the basis for Physical Education at Senior Cycle.

The Framework is designed to support teachers in planning quality learning in Physical Education for all students in Senior Cycle and will not be assessed as part of the Leaving Certificate examination. It will assist schools to design a physical education programme for senior cycle students, including students who do or do not elect to take Physical Education as a subject for their Leaving Certificate examination. The Framework is structured around six curriculum models and is designed to be taught over two or three years of Senior Cycle.

My Department works closely with the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive on the Healthy Ireland agenda. My Department is represented on a number of groups including the National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Group and on the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group.

Healthy Lifestyles guidance issued to post primary schools in 2015 and primary schools in 2016. This guidance was drafted in consultation with the Department of Health.

My Department acknowledges the commitment of schools in promoting healthy lifestyle choices for students in a number of ways - the curriculum – for example Physical Education and Social Personal Health Education (SPHE); through schools policy including healthy lunch policies and by the use of resources and programmes chosen by the school. The Active School Flag (ASF) is one such programme. Work by my Department in this area aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge to enable them to make the right choices for healthy lifestyles throughout their lives.

The primary curriculum is currently undergoing a process of review and redevelopment, which includes SPHE and the time allocated. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will publish a draft overview of a redeveloped primary curriculum in early 2020. This draft will be the basis for an extensive consultation which will feed into the overall shape and direction of a redeveloped curriculum.

At post primary, SPHE is compulsory at Junior Cycle and Physical Health is an element of SPHE. In year one, the module focuses on life-style patterns that support good physical health.

Public Consultation Process

Ceisteanna (109)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

109. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the public consultations held by his Department in 2018 and to date in 2019; the date on which such consultations were held by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50446/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Department conducts public consultations on matters of relevance as the need arises, in consultation with its stakeholders. Consultations are conducted on a national basis in the main. On occasion consultations are held in locations around Ireland. The following table outlines the public consultations held in 2018 and 2019.

2018 Name of Public Consultation Process - list each individual consultation 

DATE

County

Regional Meeting on the statement of strategy

07/02/2019

Donegal

Regional Meeting on higher education sector

20/02/2019

Dublin

Regional meeting on the Irish language

27/03/2019

Galway

Regional Meeting on impact of Brexit and future skills needs

04/04/2019

Louth

Regional Meeting on social inclusion and special education

17/04/2019

Waterford

Review of Out of School Education Provision - Written Submissions

06/04/2018

Not applicable

Review of Out of School Education Provision - Workshop

Dublin

Public Consultation for the Career Guidance Review

Not applicable

Consultation on the Reform of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971

Not applicable

New Statement of Strategy 2019-2021

Not applicable

2019 Name of Public Consultation Process- list each individual consultation separately 

DATE

County

Online questionnaire - Supporting students with behaviours of concern – preventing and responding to crisis situations. Guidelines for schools

01/04/2019

Not Applicable

Advertising Irish Language Scheme consultation

06/06/2019

Not Applicable

Consultation on the Reform of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971

24/07/2019

Not Applicable

Public Consultation on Action Plan 2020 

25/10/2019

Not applicable

Summer Works Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (110)

John Curran

Ceist:

110. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools that applied for summer works in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of applications which were successful; the number of applications which were unsuccessful in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50467/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is outlined below in the format requested.

Schools that were not funded under the Summer Works Scheme may have received funding for their requested projects under other Department’s schemes such as the Additional Accommodation Scheme or the Emergency Works Scheme or have a major project pending for their school.

Scheme Year

No. of Applications Received

Successful applications to date

Schools not funded under Summer Works Scheme, some schools in this have been funded under other schemes

Awaiting assessment

2016/2017 Scheme

1650

1220

363

67

2020 onward Scheme

1162

163

2

997

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (111)

John Curran

Ceist:

111. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an application by a school (details supplied) for a school summer works grant that was unsuccessful will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50468/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school in question applied for funding under SWS 2020 onwards for 'Roof Works'.

As the Deputy is aware I recently announced details of the schools that will receive funding in summer 2020 in respect of applications submitted for 'Life Safety Systems projects'.

Commensurate with the level of funding set aside for the Scheme, applications are being assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the Circular accompanying the Scheme. In that regard, applications submitted for other works will be considered under future rounds of the Summer Works Scheme. The school in question will be considered in this regard.

I can also confirm to the Deputy that the major building project for Scoil Áine Naofa is to be delivered as a joint project with another school, with both schools sharing the same site.

This project is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2(b) Detailed Design which includes the application for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

In June 2019, at a meeting with the schools, their design team and officials from my Department, discussions took place regarding the current conditions at the schools. My Department advised the schools to submit an application for consideration, for replacement/additional temporary accommodation required to address their current accommodation needs pending the delivery of the major school building project.

School Transport Administration

Ceisteanna (112)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

112. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if adjusting the rate of pay to a person (details supplied) will be investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50479/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of my Department.

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

In accordance with Department of Education & Skills Circular 50/2019 regarding the revision of pay for all staff paid directly by a recognised school or ETB, the hourly rate effective from 1st September 2019 for School Bus Escorts is €13.07. Holiday pay is paid at 8%. This equates to €1.05 (€13.07 x 8%) and is payable for each hour worked with effect from 1st September 2019. School Bus Escorts are paid based on the daily hours worked.

The revised salary rates have been introduced as a result of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013 – 2020 (Haddington Road Agreement/ Lansdowne Road Agreement) and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017.

School Services Staff

Ceisteanna (113)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

113. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the role of school secretaries will be upgraded to clerical officer positions; and if so, the timescale for the transition. [50483/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I recognise the very important work done by these staff, and the other support staff in the running of our schools. I have spoken to a number of staff about their employment conditions and understand the issues they have raised.

In Budget 2020 I increased the number of secretaries and caretakers in certain schools, allowing schools with enrolments of 500-625 to fill secretary vacancies provided they have fewer than 1.5 secretaries; schools with enrolments of 626-699 to fill vacancies provided they have fewer than two secretary posts filled, and schools of 700 or more to fill caretaker vacancies provided they have fewer than two caretakers. These measures will take effect from September 2020.

Earlier this year I relaxed the moratorium for those C&C and ETB schools with enrolments of 700 and more which allow them to employ additional school secretaries up to a maximum of two per school. There are 91 schools in the C&C and ETB Sector who meet this criteria, based on the information currently available to this Department. This is an initial step and has taken immediate effect.

Schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of clerical officers and caretakers in schools. The schemes were withdrawn completely in 2008. These schemes have been superseded by the more extensive capitation grant schemes. The current grant scheme was agreed in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, published in 1991.

The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services under these grant schemes. It is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs. Where a school uses the grant funding for caretaking or secretarial purposes, any staff taken on to support those functions are employees of individual schools. Specific responsibility for terms of employment rests with the school.On foot of a Chairman’s Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries and caretakers, including through an independent arbitration process in 2015. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for staff and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period. This arbitration agreement covers the period up to 31 December 2019.

The arbitration agreement was designed to be of greatest benefit to lower-paid secretaries and caretakers. For example, a secretary or caretaker who was paid the then minimum wage of €8.65 per hour in 2015 prior to the arbitration has from 1 January 2019, been paid €13 per hour which is a 50% increase in that individual’s hourly pay.

The increases recommended by the Arbitrator are binding and must be applied by all schools who employ staff to whom the Arbitrator’s recommendation applies. My Department receives informal correspondence by telephone in respect of grant-funded secretary and caretaker circulars, as regularly occurs with the publication of pay circulars. Advice is provided on the implementation of the circular and the appropriate steps to take. Secretaries and Caretakers who have queries regarding the application of the circular should raise queries directly with their individual employer / Board of Management.

In addition, the recent survey of Secretaries and Caretakers has identified some schools that are non-compliant with the provisions of the 2015 Arbitration Agreement, and my Department will be making contact with these schools to remind them of their obligations under the agreement, as implemented through various circulars. The links below will bring you to the most recent circulars in respect of the pay increases under the 2015 Arbitration Agreement.

https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0076_2018.pdf

https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0077_2018.pdf

Officials from my Department attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills on the 9th of April to discuss the status of non-teaching staff.

In May this year officials from my Department had discussions with FÓRSA trade union representatives as part of a planned meeting. FÓRSA took the opportunity to formally table a pay claim.

This was tabled as a follow-on claim from the current pay agreement for this cohort of staff which lasts until December 2019. The Department issued surveys on the 10th of July to establish the full current cost of the trade union’s claim. This is standard practice.Officials from the Department met with FÓRSA representatives in September. Management Bodies representing the employers of schools impacted by the action were also in attendance at the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to further explore the details of the pay claim as presented by FÓRSA and the nature of the industrial action.

On 30 September FÓRSA requested the Department to agree to use the services of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to resolve the dispute. As is normal practice the Department has agreed to use the industrial relations machinery of the state in an effort to resolve this matter.

In order to address the various issues within the claim and to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, the Department is in discussions with FÓRSA under the auspices of the WRC.

DEIS Administration

Ceisteanna (114, 115, 120, 121)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

114. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding DEIS schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50509/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

115. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in DEIS band one primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50510/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

120. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reduce class sizes in DEIS band one schools (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50581/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

121. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason there was no corresponding reduction made in the pupil-teacher ratio in DEIS band one schools in view of the fact that staffing schedules in schools were reduced in budgets 2016 and 2018 and again for small schools in budget 2020; if he has responded to DEIS teachers in County Donegal calling for a reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50586/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114, 115, 120 and 121 together.

The DEIS programme allows for a reduced class size in Urban Band 1 primary schools with the application of a preferential staffing schedule to these schools of 20:1 at junior classes and 24:1 at senior classes to support those students at the highest risk of educational disadvantage.

Schools in the DEIS Urban Band 2 and Rural bands receive the same allocation under the primary staffing schedule as mainstream schools which now stands at 26:1.

Posts allocated on the basis of the staffing schedule are specifically for mainstream classes and should be deployed accordingly. School authorities are requested to ensure that the number of pupils in any class is kept as low as possible, taking all relevant contextual factors into account. However, school authorities should, where possible, use their autonomy under the staffing schedule to implement smaller class sizes for junior classes. The staffing schedule is available on my Department's website at

https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0019_2019.pdf

As the Deputy may be aware, DEIS Plan acknowledges the allocation of teaching resources to DEIS primary schools with the highest concentrations of children at risk of educational disadvantage has served to improve learning outcomes. It also commits to the evaluation of the level of teaching resources for schools participating in DEIS to be undertaken to inform future policy in this area.

In order to facilitate this a Class Size Working Group was established comprising representatives from the Education Partners, the Educational Research Centre and the relevant Business Units in my Department. This group has met on a number of occasions to consider class size in the context of improved learning outcomes of those most at risk of educational disadvantage.

A report on the work of this group is currently being finalised, and will take into consideration the feedback and observations of the working group members. It is intended that this will be finalised in the coming weeks and its findings will inform future policy direction in this area.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (116)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

116. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the provision of school transport for a child (details supplied) who is in an ASD unit in school will be expedited; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the paperwork is in place. [50534/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

Under the terms of the Department's School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs, children are eligible for transport where they are attending the nearest recognised school that is or can be resourced to meet their special educational needs.

An application under this scheme was received by the School Transport Section on the 13th November 2019 and the pupil referred to by the Deputy has been deemed eligible for transport under the scheme. An upgrade to a vehicle on an existing service is required to accommodate them. My Department has sanctioned this upgrade and Bus Éireann will liase with the family and school authorities regarding the arrangements.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (117)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

117. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of Bills in his Department that are awaiting Committee Stage. [50546/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

There is currently one Bill in the Department of Education and Skills awaiting Committee Stage in the Dáil - the Retention of Records Bill 2019. The Bill was published on 28 February 2019 and completed Second Stage on 2 April 2019.

Summer Works Scheme Administration

Ceisteanna (118)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

118. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an application for summer works funding by a school (details supplied) has been incorrectly announced as being allocated to County Sligo; his plans to substitute an application from County Sligo in view of the error; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50558/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has looked into this matter and can advise that the school in question is registered on the Department's system as having a postal address in Co Sligo. We are currently liaising with the school authority in relation to their official title and address. As the Summer Works Scheme is not administered on a county quota basis, my Department will continue with the Summer Works Scheme as announced.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions Nos. 120 and 121 answered with Question No. 114.

Ceisteanna (119)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

119. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the photography costs for his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy in his Department regarding the booking of photographers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50570/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The following table provides a list of the photography costs for the Department since 2011. The Department books photographers when there is a requirement to do so for an event. Photographers are chosen based on the nature of the job and estimate received for the job. In addition, Department officials regularly take photographs for use on social media.

Date

Event

Photographer

Amount

30/06/2011

Copies of photographs of a school project and their use on an A1 display board for the joint RIAI/Department colloguium on school design

Donal Murphy Photography

€ 381.15

12/06/2012

Visit of UN Special Representative on Violence against children

Fennell Photography

€ 301.35

24/07/2013

Changes to third level fees for migrant students

Maxwell Photography

€ 154.98

06/09/2013

National Parents Council Anti Bullying Launch

Maxwell Photography

€ 172.20

07/10/2013

Photos ahead of trade mission to Brazil

Maxwell Photography

€ 154.98

02/12/2013

Digital Strategy for Schools

Maxwell Photography

€ 404.93

23/05/2014

Photography for ISSU

Maxwell Photography

€ 413.28

29/05/2014

Winners of Irish History Competition

Maxwell Photography

€ 361.62

15/08/2015

Jan O'Sullivan Seal of Office

Maxwell Photography

€ 17.22

03/06/2016

Action Plan for Disadvantaged Schools

Maxwell Photography

€ 516.60

10/06/2016

Music Bursary Scheme awards

Maxwell Photography

€ 499.38

15/09/2016

Action Plan for Education Launch

Maxwell Photography

€ 981.54

17/10/2016

EIB Loan Agreement Signing

Maxwell Photography

€ 120.54

06/02/2017

Department Action Plan Launch

Phocus Photography

€492.00

14/03/2017

Literacy and Numeracy Strategy

Fennell Photography

€497.20

25/04/2017

Active Schools Week Launch

Maxwell Photography

€499.38

20/06/2017

Digital Strategy Launch

Maxwell Photography

€522.37

26/06/2017

Music Generation Photography

Fennell Photography

€369.00

23/08/2017

Minister Mitchell O'Connor Portraits

Maxwell Photography

€189.42

25/08/2017

Minister Bruton Portraits

Maxwell Photography

€223.86

06/09/2017

Minister Halligan Portraits

Maxwell Photography

€504.30

22/09/2017

Digital Learning Framework for Schools

Fennell Photography

€ 95.00

17/10/2017

Minister Bruton Photocall

Fennell Photography

€109.25

06/11/2017

Gender Taskforce Launch

Jason Clarke Photography

€492.00

11/12/2017

Physical Education Announcement

Maxwell Photography

€412.05

20/12/2017

Minister Bruton Computer Science Accouncement

Maxwell Photography

€393.60

21/12/2017

Minister Mitchell O'Connor Funding Announcement

Maxwell Photography

€430.50

09/04/2018

Action Plan Launch

Maxwell Photography

€473.55

09/04/2018

Photography PE as a LC Subject

Maxwell Photography

€412.05

16/04/2018

Announcement on contract Signing Higher Education Marino

Fennell Photography

€162.03

24/04/2018

Ministerial Photography DIT Grangegorman

Maxwell Photography

€356.70

14/05/2018

Launch at Warrenmount Primary School

Maxwell Photography

€375.15

25/06/2018

Non-mainstream Music Education Bursary Scheme 2018 awardees

SON Photographic Ltd

€430.50

29/08/2018

TU announcement Grangegorman

Maxwell Photography

€393.60

09/10/2018

Photography for Consent report

Maxwell Photography

€528.90

09/10/2018

Minister Mitchell O'Connor and THEA photocall

Fennell Photography

€276.75

12/11/2018

Photography UK Sec of State visit

Maxwell Photography

€375.15

12/11/2018

Announcement of €11.9 billion investment in Education as part of Project Ireland 2040

Maxwell Photography

€418.20

12/11/2018

Key Provisions Announcement

Fennell Photography

€461.25

12/11/2018

Workshop on consent & Tackling sexual issues

Fennell Photography

€276.75

19/11/2018

Announcement on co-funding of re-development of Royal Irish Academy of Music

Fennell Photography

€461.25

10/12/2018

Gender Taskforce launch

Fennell Photography

€492.00

22/01/2019

Launch of Review of the national Access

Fennell Photography

€461.25

22/01/2019

Announcement with HEA

Fennell Photography

€276.75

27/02/2019

Photo Print of Minister

Irish Photo Archive Ltd

€85.13

03/04/2019

Action Plan for Education Launch

Julien Behal Photography Limited

€645.75

23/04/2019

Photography for Consent Launch

Fennell Photography

€461.25

08/07/2019

CLIL Launch Maynooth University

Julien Behal Photography Limited

€522.75

10/07/2019

Senior Academic Leadership Initiative event

Jason Clarke Photography

€492.00

10/07/2019

Consultative meeting on substance abuse Writers Museum

Jason Clarke Photography

€522.75

15/07/2019

Medal Ceremony – minister Mitchell O’Connor

Jason Clarke Photography

€492.00

16/08/2019

Videography for Small Schools Symposium

PI Communications

€1,451.40

04/10/2019

Wellbeing Photocall with Minister McHugh

Julien Behal Photography Limited

€522.75

26/09/2019

Launch of Rapid Response group on drug and substance abuse

Jason Clarke Photography

€430.50

06/11/2019

Launch of TURN Report – Minister Mitchell O’Connor

Jason Clarke Photography

€492.00

12/11/2019

William Campbell Bursary photocall

Julien Behal Photography Limited

€485.85

15/11/2019

DCU STEM Event

Photocall Ireland

€369.00

Questions Nos. 120 and 121 answered with Question No. 114.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (122)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

122. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of freedom of information requests made to his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of requests fully denied by reason; the number of requests partially denied; the number of appeals made against denials; the number of such appeals upheld; the number of such appeals rejected; the number of requests that required a fee; the amount received for freedom of information requests in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50595/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department reports annually to both the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Office of the Information Commissioner on Freedom of Information activity. The Office of the Information Commissioner publish this data in its annual report and the annual reports up to 2018 are available on the OIC’s website - https://www.oic.ie/publications/annual-reports/

To date in 2019 the data is as follows:

Year

Total Rec'd

Granted

Part-granted

Request Transferred

Request withdrawn or handled outside of FOI

Refused

Current FOI on Hand

Appeal - Internal Review (IR)

Appeal - Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC)

2019

482

88

90

18

132

71

62

19

5

Total FOIs received 2019 does not include to date includes 20 live FOIs carried over from 2018.

- Of the 19 cases appealed for internal review, the decision by my Department was upheld in 12, 3 were partially overturned, 3 were withdrawn by the requester and 1 remains open.

- Of the 5 cases appealed to the Information Commissioner, 4 are ongoing and the OIC overturned the department’s decision on the fifth.

- Where fees are applicable, my department will engage requesters to refine the scope of the request so that fees do not fall due in line with section 27 of the FOI Act. To date 216 euro in search & retrieval fees has been applied.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (123)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

123. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a building project application by a school (details supplied); when the project will proceed to the next stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50645/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the school to which he refers was recently approved funding under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme for a stand-alone extension to its existing accommodation at the school. This extension will include two general classrooms and a science lab and science preparation area.

The project has been devolved for delivery to Cavan Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB). In that context, it is now a matter for CMETB to progress the project, reverting to the Department for approval at certain stages.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (124)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

124. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application for additional accommodation will be approved for a school (details supplied); when the project will proceed to the next stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50646/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application, for grant aid, under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme from the school authority in question. Once the assessment process has been completed my Department will contact the school authority directly with a decision.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (125)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

125. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of a school building project (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The delivery of a new building for the school to which the Deputy refers has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education & Training Board (KWETB).

KWETB has appointed a design team for this project. The Design Team will now take the project through the various stages of architectural planning and onwards through the statutory planning requirements and construction.

The timeframe for the construction of the project will not be known until the design stages have been completed and planning permission secured.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (126)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

126. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of a school building project (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50660/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) for delivery as part of a programme of school building projects.

The NDFA is currently preparing tender documents for the second phase of the process of appointment of multi-disciplinary technical advisors (design teams) for these projects. This process will involve a number of call-off competitions for bundles of projects from a framework.

Thereafter, the NDFA will ensure that the project progresses to design stage, obtains the necessary statutory planning permission, and moves the project onward to tender and construction in due course. As the project is at an early stage in the delivery process, it is not possible at this time to give a date for its completion.

Please be assured that the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (127)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

127. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of a school building project (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50661/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) for delivery as part of a programme of school building projects.

The NDFA is currently preparing tender documents for the second phase of the process of appointment of multi-disciplinary technical advisors (design teams) for these projects. This process will involve a number of call-off competitions for bundles of projects from a framework.

Thereafter, the NDFA will ensure that the project progresses to design stage, obtains the necessary statutory planning permission, and moves the project onward to tender and construction in due course. As the project is at an early stage in the delivery process, it is not possible at this time to give a date for its completion.

Please be assured that the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.