166. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of progress on a building project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53575/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
Written Answers Nos. 166-185
166. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of progress on a building project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53575/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is in the process of being devolved to Waterford & Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) for delivery.
The acquisition of a site to facilitate the construction of permanent accommodation for the school is at an advanced stage of the conveyancing process. Due to commercial and legal sensitivities relating to site acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to provide further details at this time. However, I can assure the Deputy that my officials are working to bring matters to a conclusion at the earliest possible date.
In the meantime, my Department is engaged with WWETB with a view to putting in place a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which is the next step in progressing the project.
Once the SLA is in place, the ETB will procure a design team for the project to design the building, obtain the necessary statutory planning permission, and move the project onward to 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.
167. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a SNA and resource teacher will be put in place for a child (details supplied) in County Cork. [53576/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
I wish to advise the Deputy, firstly, that in relation to the provision of additional teaching support for the child referred to in this question, that DES Circular 007/2019 for primary schools and 008/2019 for post primary schools, set out the details of the model for allocating special education teachers to schools.
The Special Education Teaching allocation provides a single unified allocation for special educational support teaching needs to each school, based on each school’s educational profile. This model has replaced the previous model of allocating resource teaching support and learning support to schools.
The Special Education Teacher allocation, allows schools to provide additional teaching support for all pupils who require such support in their schools and for schools to deploy resources based on each pupil’s individual learning needs.
It gives flexibility to schools as to how they can deploy their resources, to take account of the actual learning needs pupils have, as opposed to being guided by a particular diagnosis of disability, and schools are guided as to how they should make such allocation decisions.
All schools are therefore resourced to provide additional teaching support for pupils who may require extra support and guidance has been provided to schools as to how they should utilise and deploy their resources under the new allocation model. These guidelines are available at www.education.ie.
In relation to the provision of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Support, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.
The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.
In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.
SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.
SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.
The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.
Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, it may continue to make applications to the NCSE.
As this question relates to the provision of SNA support to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for its direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.
168. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the outcome of the patronage process for the new secondary school in Goatstown, Dublin 14 due to open in 2020 will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53606/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the four years from 2019 to 2022, including a new 800 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Goatstown_Stillorgan_DLR school planning area as a regional solution .
The successful patrons of the six new post-primary schools to be established in 2020, including the new school referred to by the Deputy, were announced yesterday and the assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations are available on my Department's website (www.education.ie).
169. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the permanent school buildings for the recently opened primary and the post-primary school (details supplied) to be opened in September 2019 in an area will be included in the recently announced contract tenders for new school buildings; if not, when the contract tender for the permanent buildings for these schools is likely to be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53607/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
The permanent buildings for the schools referred to by the Deputy are being delivered under my Department's Design & Build Programme. Architectural planning for these schools is at an early stage.
Following design development the next stage in the process is an application to the relevant Local Authority for planning permission. The planning permission process will be a key factor for determining the timeline for the delivery of the project.
The primary school to which the Deputy refers is currently located in suitable interim accommodation since September 2019.
The post-primary school for the area referred to by the Deputy will open in September 2020 as scheduled, in suitable interim accommodation.
170. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if class sizes in DEIS band one schools will be decreased in view of the fact the staffing schedule in schools was reduced in budgets 2016 and 2018, and for small schools in budget 2020, there was no corresponding reduction made in the pupil-teacher ratio in DEIS band one schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53618/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
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.
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.
171. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills the policies being developed to ensure that students with disabilities can complete their university education without incurring fees for deferring some of their coursework; if a plan will be supported that allocates funds to allow additional time for students with visual and hearing impairments and students who use wheelchairs to complete their university degree; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53619/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
Students with disabilities are one of the target groups identified in the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education (NAP).
Various access supports are available to students with disabilities such as:
- The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) allocates funding to further and higher education colleges for the provision of services and supports to students with disabilities. The FSD was extended in 2018 to cover students studying on a part-time basis;
- Students are also able to apply for financial support through the Student Assistance Fund (SAF); and
- The Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) has allocated a number of 1916 Bursaries to NAP target groups such as students with disabilities and students who wish to undertake their studies on a part-time basis.
All eligible undergraduate students are covered by the Free Fees Initiative whereby the State provides funding towards tuition fees for students undertaking approved courses in eligible higher education institutions. Under the rules of the initiative, tuition fees are not paid in respect of students undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level. However, this condition may be waived where there is evidence of exceptional circumstances, such as cases of certified serious illness. Decisions in such cases are made at a local level in each higher education institution in line with the criteria of the scheme. A similar approach applies in respect of grant support. In this regard, SUSI cannot extend funding past the normal duration of the course, unless the applicant is repeating the same year of a course under exceptional circumstances.
172. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of new staff recruited to his Department from January 2019 to date; the title of each employment position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53641/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
173. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school (details supplied); and when it will receive funding towards an extension. [53695/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
My Department has been in contact with the school authority in question. The school has been requested to provide further information and the matter can be considered further when this has been received.
174. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of and the timeline for the commencement of the building of a new school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53707/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
A building project for the school referred to by the deputy is included in the Department of Education & Skills’ Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan. This building project will provide a 16-classroom school on the existing school site. A new Design Team had to be appointed in 2018, as the brief was increased from 8 classrooms due to greater enrolments.
The Department gave approval in September of this year, to the school and Design Team to progress to Stage 2B of Architectural Planning – Detailed Design Stage which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Certificate, Disability Access Certificate and the preparation of Tender Documents. The Design Team is currently working on the Stage 2B Submission.
The School and Design Team contacted the Department about the possibility of an amendment to an existing Right of Way. The Department is exploring options in relation to this. Dublin City Council as landowner, pending the completion of the transfer to the Department of Education & Skills, is assisting in this regard. There was an objection to this proposal from Youth Work Ireland, which is located in a building adjacent to the school site.
The Department arranged a meeting in November with Youth Work Ireland to discuss this matter. This meeting had a positive resolution, with representatives of Youth Work Ireland reassured and pleased with the strategy proposed by the Department. Youth Work Ireland agreed to bring this option to its Board for consideration.
The Department is in regular contact with the school and Design Team to keep them updated on the status of the building project.
175. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if funding is provided for integration projects undertaken with primary or secondary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53715/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
In terms of specific project funding, €370,000 for a Migrant Integration project, run by City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), was approved by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in the 2016 Dormant Accounts Action Plan, at the request of my Department.
This year, in its submission to the Department for Rural and Community Development, my Department again proposed the inclusion of funding for this CDETB Migrant Integration project in the Dormant Accounts Scheme. €105,000 has been approved by the Minister for Rural and Community Development for disbursement from the Scheme in the 2020 Dormant Accounts Action Plan. The funding for this project is reimbursed to my Department from the Dormant Accounts Scheme.
The CDETB Migrant Integration project promotes and supports the integration of newcomer migrant students, who do not have English as a first language, through a range of educational and intercultural measures. The overall objective of this project is to enable these students to access the curriculum, fully engage in post-primary education, and to integrate into school and life in Ireland.
In addition, under my Department's School Excellence Fund (SEF) - DEIS which is designed to ensure that innovative approaches and proposals to tackle educational disadvantage are supported and rewarded, funding of €51,000 was approved by my Department in 2018 to a cluster of schools in Balbriggan for a three year project entitled “English as an Additional Language”. Specifically the schools will focus on the acquisition of higher level language skills for students to fulfil their potential at both primary and post-primary level.
Other funding schemes
Other funding schemes for integration projects include funding available under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund which was established by the European Commission and managed by the Department of Justice and Equality.
176. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the person or body that will own the school building and the school site for a school (details supplied) on the Phoenix Park site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53719/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
The permanent project for the school referred to by the Deputy is being delivered under my Department's Design & Build Programme.
Key factors that can impact on the timeline for any new school project are the availability of a site and the planning permission process for the new school building.
A site was identified and will be available for this new school. This has enabled the design process for the new school building to be undertaken. Planning Permission was lodged with the Local Authority on November 29th. The planning permission process will be a key factor for determining the timeline for the delivery of this project.
My Department's officials have kept the school authority fully briefed in relation to this project and the anticipated delivery timelines in respect of same.
Along with the Taoiseach my Department is working to have the first phase of the school's permanent accommodation handed over by September of 2021 with phase 2 to follow in a matter of months. The delivery date of September 2021 for Phase 1 is dependent on no delays arising during the planning permission process.
177. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost based on the recent pilots of having 100 annual cross-Border exchanges between schools (details supplied). [53734/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
This cross-border pilot project was funded from the Reconciliation Fund, which is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. If this project was extended to 100 similar projects, I would estimate the cost to that Department would amount approximately to €2.1 million.
178. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount spent on advertising in 2018 and to date in 2019 on Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53742/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
The Department of Education Skills has not used advertising as a method of communicating in respect of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The Department has kept its stakeholders and partners informed of education-related matters in this regard through its regular communications channels with stakeholders and partners. These include electronic mail, mailings to schools, website and social media and meetings where appropriate.
179. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding provided to higher education in each of the years 2017 to 2020 by capital and current. [53758/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
As requested, please see table below outlining the funding both current and capital provided to higher education in each of the years 2017 to 2020.
Programme C - Higher Education
NTF: HE labour market focussed provision
NTF: Springboard / ICT skills
NTF: HE apprenticeships
PPPs in HE
180. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of expanding the DEIS programme in order to cover 50% more children. [53761/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
In 2019 my Department will spend in the region of €125 million on the 891 schools participating in the programme and serving in excess of 185,000 children. The full list of supports available to DEIS schools is available on my Department's website at the following link https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/deis-supports-to-deis-schools-effective-from-2017-2018-school-year.pdf.
It is not possible to definitively provide the total cost of expanding the DEIS programme in order to cover 50% more children as the costs will vary from school to school depending on enrolment and the levels of disadvantage in individual schools.
In the 2019/20 school year, the total spend on DEIS is spread across 891 schools participating in the DEIS Programme. The composition is as follows:
Primary Urban Band 1 - 231
Primary Urban Band 2 - 104
Primary Rural - 358
Post Primary - 198
Further expenditure is incurred by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the School Meals Programme and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the School Completion Programme.
181. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of the home school liaison programme. [53762/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
All DEIS Urban Primary and DEIS Post Primary schools are included in the Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL). The scheme is delivered by 415 full-time HSCL Coordinators who are teachers in these schools and assigned to HSCL duties either in individual schools or clusters of schools, catering for approximately 156,000 pupils.
The estimated staffing costs of the HSCL scheme for 2019 is in the region of €27million across the Primary & Post Primary sector. The Deputy may also be aware that 10% of the DEIS grant paid to schools is also for HSCL activities.
182. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of reducing the number of pupils which a small school requires to retain or recruit a teacher by one and two pupils, respectively. [53763/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
I understand the importance of small schools and I hosted a Small Schools Symposium in June attended by the relevant Education Partners to discuss issues of concern to small schools. Securing the future of small schools is a priority for me as Minister for Education and Skills.
Budget 2020 has provided for improved teacher staffing levels for small schools. This measure will see a more favourable pupil teacher ratio in small schools from September 2020. This improved schedule will apply in two, three and four teacher schools and ensure one less pupil is required to retain/recruit a teacher.
This builds on measures in previous budgets which has seen improvements in the appointment and retention thresholds for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th classroom teacher and more favourable enrolment thresholds for one teacher schools situated 8km or more from the nearest school of the same type of patronage and/or language of instruction.
Small schools have also benefitted from the 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule for all schools implemented in 2016 and again in 2018.
In addition, the staffing process includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, including a specific appeal measure for small schools, to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board.
The staffing schedule at primary level currently operates on a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher which is historically the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level. Each 1 point adjustment to the pupil teacher ratio at primary level is estimated to cost in the region of €14.4m per annum.
183. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding provided in budget 2020 for the school excellence fund. [53764/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
The School Excellence Fund (SEF) is an innovation of my Department which enables schools to participate in innovative programmes which are context-specific and aimed at improving learning outcomes for young people. Projects associated with the School Excellence Fund already established include ;
School Excellence Fund DEIS
SEF DEIS is designed to ensure that innovative approaches and proposals to tackle educational disadvantage are supported and rewarded. The overarching aim of the initiative is to improve learning outcomes for young people. In order to achieve improved outcomes, schools in the SEF-DEIS will be challenged to promote innovation by adopting new evidence-based approaches to tackling under-performance in literacy and in the STEM subjects or in the Arts subjects.
A total of €1.8 million is provided for innovative programmes in DEIS schools under SEF-DEIS. Tranche 1 of SEF DEIS was launched in November 2017 and Tranche 2 in April 2018. Earlier this year I launched the third Tranche and I will shortly announce the successful applications. SEF DEIS 2020 expenditure is estimated to be in the region of €450,000.
School Excellence Fund Digital and School Excellence Fund STEM
SEF Digital and SEF STEM are administered together. The Digital Strategy for Schools outlines a vision for the embedding of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment in primary and post primary schools. SEF STEM supports schools to work together on projects in accordance with the Government’s ambitious plans to promote the teaching and learning of the STEM subjects
The total funding committed in respect of the SEF Digital and SEF STEM programme for 2020 is €250,000.
School Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters
The SEF – Creative Clusters initiative launched in 2018 with an allocation of €200,000. As part of this, 23 cluster comprising of 71 schools were engaged as part of the initiative.
The funding for 2019 was extended to €400,000. This allowed those schools who engaged in the programme in 2018 to continue into a second school year, while also taking in an additional cohort of schools. A further 76 schools comprising of 21 clusters engaged with the initiative from September 2019, bringing the total schools engaged to 147.
Funding for SEF – Creative Clusters in 2020 has not yet been finalised.
School Excellence Fund – Step Up
Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) collaborates with my Department’s Inspectorate on the School Excellence Fund, Step Up Project and support for this project is drawn from many JCT teams.
The Step Up Project focuses on supporting schools to ‘step up’ in the delivery of the new junior cycle programme. Schools will work together and will be supported by the Department’s Inspectorate, which will help with planning, and the Junior Cycle for Teachers, which will provide additional teacher training. There is no financial allocation in 2020 for SEF Step Up.
184. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to increase the management supports available to special schools by providing for the appointment of additional administrative deputy principals. [53765/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
There are 124 special schools providing specialist education for approximately 7,500 pupils annually with over 1,400 teachers.
Budget 2020 provides for an additional 23 teaching posts for special schools, designed to meet expected increases in enrolments in 2020, providing over 8,000 pupil places in special schools. It also provides for the continued provision of administrative deputy principal posts in special schools with 15+ teaching posts, introduced in special schools for the first time from September 2019 - at present 22 special schools qualify for an administrative deputy principal post.
Where an administrative deputy principal is appointed, the school may appoint a replacement teacher. The average cost of a new entrant primary school teacher, inclusive of employer PRSI, is €46,487.
The allowance for administrative deputy principal, inclusive of employer PRSI, ranges from €3,967 up to €19,964, depending on the number of authorised teachers in the school.
185. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of ensuring that each special school has access to behavioural therapists. [53766/19]Amharc ar fhreagra
On 27th March I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model, a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs, which is being piloted in 75 schools in the Kildare/Wicklow/South Dublin region in the current school year.
The pilot will include four behaviour practitioners as part of a National Council of Special Education (NCSE) Regional Support Team. These practitioners will be employed on a salary scale of €52,162 to €61,418 (exclusive of employer's PRSI).
The School Inclusion Model aims to build schools’ capacity and to provide the right supports at the right time for students with additional needs.
The School Inclusion Model pilot comprises:
- a frontloaded SNA allocation model based on schools’ profiled need having regard to the special education teacher allocation model introduced in 2017;
- an expanded National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) to support pilot schools;
- the continuation of the Pre-school and In-school Therapy Demonstration Project in the pilot area to ensure a wrap-around service for the pilot schools;
- the establishment of an NCSE Regional Support team in the pilot area to include speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour practitioners, in order to inform teacher Continuing Professional Development and best practice in schools;
- the development of a national training programme for SNAs with pilot roll-out; and
- the provision of nursing support for children with complex medical needs in schools.
Budget 2019 provided €4.75 million to support implementation of the recommendations of the NCSE Comprehensive Review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme, including the implementation of the new service pilot.
As the above is a pilot, the current position is that the provision of behavioural therapies falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Health and the service is provided through the Health Service Executive (HSE).