Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (477)

Bríd Smith


477. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education further to Parliamentary Question No. 425 of 15 September 2020, if the school appealed a staff reduction as a result of a fall in pupil numbers in Spring 2020 under section D - English as an additional language, EAL; if this appeal was refused; if it is now open to the school to appeal the staff reduction under a different category as a result of difficulties experienced as a result of implementing the Covid-19 guidelines from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26930/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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 and also encompasses the Language Support (EAL) allocation that schools were allocated in previous years.  

Further temporary Language Support is also provided, as necessary, to schools that have high concentrations of pupils that require language (EAL) support. At primary level, these allocations are made on the basis of appeals by schools to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board.  The additional teaching resources which are provided under this model cannot be used for mainstream class teaching, or to reduce the pupil teacher ratio in mainstream classes

The school referred to by the Deputy has 4 Special Education Teachers and 1 permanent EAL post.  The school submitted an application for additional temporary language support to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board which was refused on the basis that the projected EAL enrolment in the school on did not warrant the allocation of an additional post.

If the school has subsequently had an increase in the number of pupils who require EAL support, the school may submit a new appeal to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board.

My Department has published a suite of helpful guidance for the safe and sustainable reopening of schools. Each school is required to have a COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe operation through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in line with public health advice. This guidance is focused on the practical steps schools must take to minimise the risk of transmission of infection. If a school is experiencing difficulties in implementing these measures they should contact the Department's helpline for assistance.