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Quinn, Ruairí

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leaders' Questions

Exactly.More Button

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

And your question is what?More Button

His question is what?More Button

Question.More Button

Well done, Mattie.More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage (Continued)

No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Back to School Costs

Was asked: his views on whether children qualifying for a special needs assistant this coming September will experience reductions in their allocated special needs assistant hours due to the continuance of th...More Button

Contrary to the Deputy's public expressions in recent days, I can confirm that there has been no reduction to the overall number of SNA posts for the coming school year.

  This p...More Button

The Deputy is wrong.More Button

I think there is more time than that.More Button

Is that for Priority Questions as distinct from ordinary Oral Questions?More Button

I would be happy to write to the Deputy setting out what is contained in the reply because if I am to obey the Chair, I do not have the time to give him the full reply.More Button

I am happy to indicate there has not been the reduction in supply he suggests because the demand has not increased as he has alleged. It was not brought to my attention by any of the education p...More Button

If the Deputy will not take my word for it, I can only draw his attention to the statement released by the National Parents Council last week which stated: "Parents should have no fears regarding t...More Button

I had other commitments. Unfortunately the Minister of State, Deputy Cannon, was not available because he was sick and the Minister of State, Deputy Sherlock, was out of the country.More Button

Was asked: his plans to implement the recommendations of the Oireachtas Select Committee on Education who have proposed that pupils should not be obliged to wear crested uniforms and schools should end the pr...More Button

My Department will carefully consider the joint committee's report on tackling back-to-school costs which was published last week.More Button

Tackling the costs associated with school is a major priority of mine. I have recently issued guidance on schoolbook rental schemes. I have also raised the matter of school uniforms informally ...More Button

School Curriculum

It is important that all schools are sensitive to the financial pressures on parents not only with regard to school uniforms or books but in respect of any matter that has cost implications for p...More Button

It is.More Button

I am very supportive of the recommendations of the joint committee. As Deputy O'Brien is aware, they were all-party recommendations. I will be studying the report carefully and I will consider wh...More Button

I hope to have the draft enrolment legislation and the statutory instruments ready fairly soon and to publish them. I will deal with that issue in draft form in the publication when it is ready.More Button

All I can say is that since the foundation of the State, and even going back before then, a partnership has existed between the State and school providers and educators. The Department at national...More Button

With all due respect I am not passing the buck but that is the body to which those aggrieved parents should write in the first instance. It is understandable why the people wrote to Deputy O'Bri...More Button

Was asked: in view of the serious concerns regarding the subject of history in the proposed reform of the junior certificate, if he will consider including history as a compulsory subject. More Button

Under the new framework for junior cycle, schools will design programmes to reflect not only the key skills and statements of learning of the framework but also to reflect teacher qualifications an...More Button

The vast majority of schools already offer history. More than 90% of students choose history although it is compulsory in only half our schools. Curriculum choice is important in motivating stu...More Button

As it happened I saw some of the debate that took place with the committee in the House. I am sympathetic to the study of history right through to sixth year, as are 90% of students who study the ...More Button

The whole thrust of the junior cycle reforms serves to bring a holistic approach to teaching at second level, which we do not have at present.More Button

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

If one meets primary school teachers, they will tell one they are teachers and that they teach children. However, I have heard too many secondary school teachers state they are history, chemistry ...More Button

As 92% of all students study geography, for the life of me I do not understand what are the Deputy's fears in this regard. Is it that because the curriculum will be improved, the two most popular ...More Button

Was asked: the number of Student Universal Support Ireland applications for 2012-13 still to receive a final answer; the number of appeals outstanding; the steps he has taken to ensure students are not refuse...More Button

I understand from Student Universal Support Ireland, SUSI, that there are 133 cases in which a decision on an application has not yet been made. A number of difficult and complex cases arise every...More Button

As for the payment of fees, where a student has informed the institution that a decision is awaited from the grants system, I understand that SUSI has in place a facility allowing institutions to...More Button

In respect of the case the Deputy has just cited about a postgraduate student not being able to access the results, that postgraduate student would never have been a client of SUSI. Consequently, ...More Button

Sorry, the Deputy is correct. I withdraw my comment.More Button

I had temporarily forgotten.More Button

First, I did not make a mess of SUSI and a mess has not been made of SUSI. SUSI was obliged to start from a base in which certain things had to be learned and the body that undertook this project,...More Button

Was asked: how he expects to update the plan for implementation of the Education For Persons with Special Educational Needs, EPSEN, Act to prioritise access for children with special needs to an individual ed...More Button

The recently published National Council for Special Education, NCSE, policy advice on supporting children with special educational needs acknowledges the current economic climate makes it unlikely ...More Button

The report makes 28 detailed recommendations which are interesting and significant. They deserve in-depth and detailed examination and exploration. I have asked my Department to review carefull...More Button

I understand from the Inspectorate of my Department that the majority of schools already use individual education planning to support children with special needs and the Department currently supp...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources devoted to supporting children with special educational needs has been maintained at €1.3 billion this year. This includes provision for 1...More Button

The original Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act was very ambitious in its objectives, as everybody recognised at the time, and when it was commissioned by the previous Governm...More Button

I share the Deputy's point. As we know, there is a massive reorganisation going on in the health services but prior to that reorganisation when the HSE was established there was dissatisfaction fr...More Button

Was asked: the way he can improve the provision of special needs services to post-primary students who require them; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when the working group to review special education will report; the key priorities the group is addressing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 20 together.More Button

The NCSE recently published its policy advice on supporting children with special educational needs. This report makes a number of recommendations as to how students with special needs, includin...More Button

The NCSE has recommended that a new model should be developed for allocating special needs teaching resources to mainstream schools to ensure that such resources are targeted at those children wh...More Button

I have requested the NCSE to establish immediately a working group to develop a proposal for consideration in regard to the new allocation model. Mr. Eamon Stack, chairperson of the NCSE and for...More Button

The first deadline, so to speak, in the system is the end of September this year. I hope the conclusions of that interim report will put us in a better place with regard to giving the Deputy an ac...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, this is a complex area. The existing model of allocation of resources and the way the system is functioning is effectively 20 years old, and much has happened in the areas ...More Button

Was asked: if he will reassure parents and teachers there will be no cuts to other education services following his announcement not to implement his planned cuts to resource hours.More Button

Was asked: if he will clarify his statement that pupil teacher ratios in schools may be increased to pay for the reversal of planned cuts to supports for children with special needs.More Button

Was asked: the implications for the education budget in 2014 of the additional resource teachers announced on 25 June 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide assurances that the allocation of an additional 500 resource teachers to meet the increase in the percentage of children with special needs who are attending school from Septembe...More Button

Was asked: the implications for the education budget in 2014 of the additional resource teachers announced on 25 June 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 12, 16, 23 and 24 together.More Button

I have authorised the NCSE to restore the level of resource teaching allocations to be provided for students with special educational needs to the 2012-13 levels. There will not now be a reducti...More Button

A number of additional posts will be required to ensure that allocations can continue to be made for valid applications for resource teaching support received for the coming school year. The full...More Button

The implications of this for my Department's employment control framework and Vote will be raised with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and will also be addressed in the forthcomin...More Button

I am not in a position at this time to anticipate future budgetary decisions. All of these issues will have to be considered as part of the normal budgetary and Estimates process for 2014 and be...More Button

Was asked: the impact of the special needs assistant cap on access to special needs support from next September in view of the increase in demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources being devoted to supporting children with Special Educational Needs has been maintained at €1.3 billion this year. This includes provision fo...More Button

Was asked: if he will intervene to stop third level institutions employing debt collectors to pursue student debt, in view of the serious difficulties that arose from the processing of grants through Student ...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that third level institutions are autonomous bodies and I have no role in their day to day operational affairs. Those matters are the responsibility of the management au...More Button

Was asked: his views on reports that children with special educational needs from middle-class backgrounds continue to receive more support at school than those from working-class areas as a result of having ...More Button

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) published its Policy Advice on Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs on 17th May, 2013. This is a very significant report which is ba...More Button

Was asked: if it is appropriate for the statistics section of his Department to contact schools to request in writing from the parents of Traveller children confirmation of their ethnic status in order to qua...More Button

The statistics section of my Department recently contacted schools to remind them (as was always the case) that parental consent is required in the identification of a pupil as a member of the Trav...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a guarantee that he has shelved plans to include assets such as farmland and business premises in the means tests for third level students.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that, following agreement in principle by the Government to broaden the current means testing arrangements for student grants by way of inclusion of the value of capital as...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the implementation of Síolta and Aistear; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Síolta and Aistear Frameworks represent a comprehensive set of national practice guidelines which support the development of quality early childhood care and education in Ireland. Both Framewor...More Button

Was asked: the reason it is taking until 2015 to implement the national policy on educating children with autism; and the reasons behind the lengthy delay for implementing a national policy for children with ...More Button

The Deputy may be aware that, mindful that greater clarity on my Department's policy on the education of children with autism would be useful for schools and parents, my Department is currently in ...More Button

Was asked: if he will examine the case of a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which has recently lost 2.5 special needs assistants even though two new children with special needs are due to start at...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applicat...More Button

Was asked: if he will consider a reversal of all the cuts to special needs assistants and resource hours that have been implemented by his Government.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources devoted to supporting children with Special Educational Needs has been maintained at €1.3 billion this year. This includes provision for 10,5...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether third level institutions need to be more ambitious in opening up undergraduate programmes to Northern Ireland residents; if he is concerned about the insubstantial increase in ...More Button

Undergraduate programmes in the universities and institutes of technology are open to students from Northern Ireland, who can apply for a place through the CAO system and who are entitled to access...More Button

Was asked: the reason geography is being considered for removal as a compulsory junior certificate subject under his reform proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the reason history is being considered for removal as a compulsory junior certificate subject under his reform proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 55 together.

Success in learning in the new junior cycle will focus on making greater connections between learning and the development of key skil...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond to the claims that the reduction in the number of school guidance counsellors reflects his lack of understanding of the important role they perform in schools and that he is also...More Button

The budget measure that required schools to manage the provision of guidance from within their standard staffing allocation, was introduced as an alternative to adjusting the standard staffing sche...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond to the findings contained in the Education at a Glance 2013 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which shows the proportion of public expenditure ...More Button

Public expenditure on education in Ireland as a percentage of total public expenditure was relatively even over much of the first decade of this century, being 13.7% in 2000, 14% in 2005 and 13.4% ...More Button

Was asked: the steps he will take to address the increasing numbers of special needs pupils at primary level, in view of the curtailment in funding to support such pupils; if he has assessed the impact of the...More Button

Was asked: if he will indicate the extent to which he expects to be in a position to continue to meet the requirements in respect of resource, special needs assistants or other special needs teaching notwiths...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 61 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources being devoted to supporting children with Special Educational Needs has been ...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm that the only State support to fee-paying schools relates to teacher pay and that the schools themselves have to cover all of their other costs from fee income; and in view of th...More Button

The salaries of teachers employed within the approved annual staffing allocation for fee charging schools by my Department, are paid by the State. In addition, the salaries of approved Special Need...More Button

Some limited funding is provided for capital projects undertaken in fee charging schools. The Department provided approximately €6.5m in capital funding in 2012. Fee charging schools do not rece...More Button

As outlined in the report "Fee Charging Schools - Analysis of Fee income", which I published last March, the tuition fee income of fee charging schools was adjusted or discounted by the amount of...More Button

A copy of the report is available on my Department's website.More Button

  Question No. 118 answered with Question No. 114.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has been able to avert any loss of teachers at primary and second level schools throughout the country; the extent to which he is in a position to initiate any alleviating me...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which pupil-teacher ratios at primary and second level throughout the country have been kept to the desired levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the extent to which pupil-teacher ratios at primary and second level throughout County Kildare have been kept to the desired levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119, 135 and 136 together.

  The Statistics section of my Department's website contains information relating to pupil teacher ratio (PTR) at prim...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to meet the educational needs of children with special needs at primary and second level in all areas throughout the country in both small and lar...More Button

Was asked: the total number of places currently available in mainstream primary and second level schools for children with special needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has been in a position to maintain expenditure on the educational needs of children with special needs in each of the past four years to date; and if he will make a statement...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which children with autism and Asperger’s or children with similar needs are likely to be facilitated in terms of their educational requirements at primary and second level throughout...More Button

Was asked: the total number of special needs school places available throughout the country; if this is in line with requirements as set out by the school authorities; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

Was asked: the total number of special needs school places available throughout County Kildare; if this is in line with requirements as set out by the school authorities; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120, 125 to 127, inclusive, 133 and 134 together.

  The Deputy will be aware that this Government is committed to the protection of frontline ser...More Button

State Examinations Issues

There is also the question of considering outcomes as distinct from inputs in order to see whether the model is working in the way we want it to work and whether we are ensuring that youngsters in ...More Button

Was asked: the number of resource teachers that will lose their jobs or have their teaching hours reduced in the 2013/14 academic year; if he will confirm that principals and school boards of management have ...More Button

Resource teaching allocations are being preserved at 2012-13 school year levels. I do not, therefore, anticipate any significant change in the overall number of resource teachers. The arrangement...More Button

I am not clear if I fully understand the Deputy's question. Is he referring to a situation where, as a result of a change in the number of pupils, the resource teacher was no longer required and t...More Button

I will be obliged to obtain specific information in respect of the question Deputy O'Brien posed. I do not have the full details in my possession and I would not be able to offer an explanation wi...More Button

In the context of the announcements relating to SNAs and resource teachers, it has always been the case that the total package is made public at the same time but I accept that clarity emerges so...More Button

The precise details sought by the Deputy are not contained in the supplementary information provided to me. It is my understanding that they were announced conterminously - that is, at the same ti...More Button

Was asked: the basis on which he decided teachers would correct the junior certificate examination work of their own students and schools would provide their own individual certification.More Button

Special Educational Needs Services Provision (Continued)

If it is required.More Button

Of the three big spending Departments, education has been ring-fenced to this extent, and it is the only Department that is hiring additional staff. That is happening because the population is gro...More Button

It is ring-fenced to the extent that where the student population grows - and we know it is growing - extra teachers required are being hired. That is unlike the position in other Departments. It...More Button

We thought we could find a reduction in reducing by a portion of time the allocation of resource teachers to children with special needs. When this was announced, it provoked a reaction that we ...More Button

I stated that I presumed I would have to find this resource from within my Department. I was asked to put a figure on that and I was asked where it was likely I would get it. All I indicated wa...More Button

Ambulance Services

We must understand where we all are, not just in this country but across the whole of Europe and indeed in Northern Ireland where there are reductions. People are struggling, salaries have been re...More Button

At the moment, this country and republic can only borrow money on terms and conditions we can afford from one source. That is what the loss of economic sovereignty means. Hopefully, we will be ...More Button

The Deputy may not like the realities of the world but she cannot ignore them, in the same way as I do not like them either.More Button

The Deputy saw what happened in Greece where the country nearly closed down and had to change. We must navigate our way back to regaining our economic sovereignty so that we control our own destin...More Button

The fact that we have to do it does not mean we either approve of it or like it. We do not.More Button

All of those measures have been looked at and will no doubt be looked again and those cases will be made but I am charged with answering questions relating to education and am trying to make the ca...More Button

Returning to the point raised by Deputy McConalogue when I was asked where I could find that money, I presume it will have to come from within my own budget. I indicated that the only area that ...More Button

Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013: Report and Final Stages (Continued)

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Student Grant Scheme Administration

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the July provision programme for children with autism and if siblings with autism will be entitled to one-to-one provision to meet their individual needs as stated i...More Button

The Terms and Conditions document for the 2011 home based July Provision scheme has been superceded by revised terms and conditions in 2012 and in 2013.

The 2013 revised Terms and Condi...More Button

Was asked: his response to the latest OECD Education at a Glance report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I welcome the publication of the 2013 edition of this annual publication, Education at a Glance, by the OECD. I am a strong believer in the value of good comparative international data as one sour...More Button

  Question No. 12 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm that no plans for a graduate tax, student loan or student voucher system in relation to university fees will be considered in budget 2014. More Button

I have already signalled my intention to increase the student contribution to €2,500 for the next academic year and to increase it by €250 each year thereafter until the 2015/16 academic year when ...More Button

Was asked: the reason school guidance counsellors were not informed by Student Universal Support Ireland that the closing date for higher education grants had been brought forward to 1 August.More Button

The closing date for new student grant applications to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) for the academic year 2013/14 will be a month earlier than last year.   The system ope...More Button

Was asked: the number of schools at primary and second level throughout the country at which he has managed to replace temporary school buildings with permanent structures in each of the past two years to dat...More Button

Was asked: the number of schools at primary and second level throughout County Kildare at which he has managed to replace temporary school buildings with permanent structures in each of the past three years t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 130 together. More Button

The Deputy will be aware that under the Prefab Replacement Initiative 2012, approval was given to 170 schools nationally to replace 458 prefab units with permanent accommodation. In excess of €4...More Button

In June of this year, I announced a further initiative to replace prefab units with permanent accommodation. A total of €15 million has been allocated in 2013/2014 for this purpose. Forty-six sch...More Button

Replacing prefabs is part of this Government's €475 million education infrastructure plan for 2014. The Plan will provide modern, high quality accommodation for pupils and teachers and constructi...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that the Five Year Construction Plan, that I announced on 9 March 2012, outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the P...More Button

In addition, due to additional funding made available for the schools' building programme as part of the Government's "Investing in Infrastructure & Jobs" package announced recently, school proje...More Button

Details of all works funded, including those for schools in Kildare, under the above initiatives including Prefab Replacement and Additional Accommodation Schemes, are available on my Department'...More Button

Was asked: when a school (details supplied) in County Kildare will become fully operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the school closed for the summer holidays last week. The project is close to completion and it is envisaged that the building will be handed over to the school authori...More Button

  Question No. 130 answered with Question No. 128.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the workplace educational and skills requirements continues to be monitored with a view to ensuring that students leaving second and third level are suitably skilled and equippe...More Button

The development of appropriate skills for the workplace has implications for curricula, programme design and teaching methodologies at all levels of the education system. As enterprise sectors deve...More Button

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, which is funded by my Department, also plays a key role in advising on future skills needs and any emerging gaps. Its research provides a valuable input t...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects Student Universal Support Ireland to be in a position to deal with processing of higher education grants for students within a reasonable time; if in the event of the...More Button

The Accenture Report, which reviewed the operations of SUSI, contained a series of recommendations, many of which are already being implemented by SUSI. In line with these recommendations and in pr...More Button

A number of new initiatives will make the application process more efficient this year including: direct information sharing between SUSI and Government agencies such as the Revenue Commissioners...More Button

In addition the staff resources recommended by the review have already been sanctioned. The resources include five additional management posts and some 23 (whole time equivalent) additional proce...More Button

In addition, the closing date will be a month earlier to facilitate earlier application and decision on a grant application. Also SUSI is working closely with all third level institutions to impr...More Button

I have no plans to revert to the previous system where 66 different awarding authorities were involved in the assessment of grants.More Button

  Questions Nos. 133 and 134 answered with Question No. 120.More Button

Institutes of Technology Issues

Was asked: his views on the recent OECD Education at a Glance report showing that Irish graduates are more likely to be unemployed in comparison with other countries, and the noted lack of progression from ed...More Button

The rates of graduate unemployment reflect the higher than average overall rates of unemployment in this country. There continues to be a strong correlation between educational attainment and unemp...More Button

  Question No. 16 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

Was asked: his plans regarding smaller rural schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I recently received the report of the Value for Money Review of Small Primary Schools and I am currently considering it. I intend to discuss the report's contents with my Government colleagues pri...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that guidance counsellors in many schools are reporting that up to 70% of their case load is now taken up by pastoral care and counselling with higher in...More Button

I have already acknowledged to the House that bringing guidance within quota is challenging for schools. However the alternative was to adjust the PTR staffing allocations. The budget decision shel...More Button

Was asked: his plans to change the procedures in place for stationery procurement in primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Public Service Reform Plan, published in November 2011, recognises the key strategic importance of public procurement and provides for the development of a new policy framework for procurement....More Button

  Question No. 20 answered with Question No. 6.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide details of the proposed reorganisation of third level education; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On 30th May of this year, I responded to advice on reconfiguring the system submitted to me by the Higher Education Authority. The HEA advice and my letter to the Chair of the Authority in respons...More Button

Third Level Funding

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the report he has ordered the State Examinations Commission to make into the typographical errors and mistakes that were made on leaving certificate papers; and if h...More Button

Was asked: if he will examine the circumstances of the mistakes that were reported in the leaving certificate maths papers; if his Department has carried out an investigation into what happened; if he has tak...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 25 together.

The State Examinations Commission was established as an independent agency in 2003 to deal with all operational issues relating to Sta...More Button

  Questions Nos. 23 and 24 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

  Question No. 25 answered with Question No. 22.More Button

Was asked: the number of Student Universal Support Ireland applications outstanding; the number of applications that are currently under appeal; the impact on students accessing exam results; and if he will m...More Button

I understand from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that there are 133 cases where a decision on an application has not yet been made. A number of difficult and complex cases arise every yea...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to retain workable levels of pupil-teacher ratios in all schools throughout the country, primary and post-primary, private and public, religious a...More Button

Decisions about staffing and capitation levels for schools have to be considered in the context that my Department, like all other Government Departments, is operating in the context of a budgetary...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond to objections raised by staff of Dublin Institute of Technology regarding the provision of Shell funding towards the new visual arts degree in Erris, County Mayo, which is being ...More Button

The position is that higher education institutions, including Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), are autonomous bodies and their day to day operational affairs including issues such as the provi...More Button

Student Support Schemes Issues

Was asked: the contingency plans he has in place to deal with any industrial action by teachers in the autumn; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The revised proposals put forward by the Labour Relations Commission for the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 arise from an intensive and difficult set of negotiations between the Publi...More Button

Tá mo chinneadh polasaí déanta agam COGG agus an CNCM a chomhshuí. Chuir mé an Chomh-aireacht ar an eolas faoi seo agus phléigh mé go hiomlán leo é an tSamhain seo caite. Táim cinnte gur fearr a ...More Button

Was asked: the reason his Department wrote to the National Council for Special Education on 30 May regarding the 75% resource teaching allocations it was asked to delay communicating this information to schoo...More Button

My Department wrote to the NCSE on 30 May 2013 to confirm that the NCSE should allocate resource teaching hours at an allocation rate 10% below the allocation made for the 2012-13 school year. Thi...More Button

Was asked: the reason the Student Universal Support Ireland application system was not available online earlier than its launch in May when many sixth year students had broken up for the school year; and if h...More Button

This year the online application system, which included a new online renewal system, opened on 20 May 2013, three weeks earlier than last year. This earlier opening date provided first-time applic...More Button

School Textbooks

Was asked: if he will outline in tabular form the capital funding which has been allocated to institutes of technology over the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

INSTITUT...More Button

Was asked: if there are plans for the widespread introduction e-books in schools nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Encouraging the deployment of high-quality curriculum-relevant digital resources is a clear priority for the ICT in Schools programme. In this context, I am fully aware of developments in the digi...More Button

Was asked: the arrangements for supervision of students during school organised Gaeltacht residential trips and classes; if his attention has been drawn to a reported major breakdown in supervision following ...More Button

I am aware of the media reports in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy. The issues raised by the Deputy are matters to be dealt with at local school level rather than centrally by my Depar...More Button

Was asked: his views on the case of a student (details supplied) who cannot access their examination results due to difficulties with Student Universal Support Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) in relation to the student referred to by the Deputy that on 25th June, 2013 they contacted the college by e-...More Button

Was asked: his views on the proposals put forward by the SCP co-ordinator of the Dominican Campus school completion programme with the support of the three primary schools; if he has considered the proposals ...More Button

My Department has received a request from the School Completion Programme (SCP) Coordinator of the Dominican Campus School Completion Programme for funding to create a new post of Traveller Educati...More Button

The Report and Recommendations for a Traveller Education Strategy published in 2006 recommends that the development of community initiatives aimed at Travellers as education workers should be con...More Button

The School Completion Programme is administered by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, while the Home School Community Liaison scheme is administered by the National Education Welfare B...More Button

Was asked: the impact of the move from Dún Laoghaire to Tallaght, Dublin, for the staff of Dún Laoghaire Vocational Education Committee and the delivery of services in the area; if he has considered the impac...More Button

In June 2011, the Government decided to reduce the overall number of vocational education committees (VECs) from 33 to 16, to merge particular VECs, including the VECs covering County Dublin and Du...More Button

Was asked: his plans to assist families with the cost of school books; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am very conscious that the cost of textbooks is a considerable burden on families. Since becoming Minister for Education and Skills, I have attempted to take steps to reduce the burden on famili...More Button

Schools Building Projects Status

Was asked: if a State-funded study on the impact of increasing student registration fees was conducted in recent years; and if so, what the findings revealed. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware the student contribution will increase to €2,500 for the next academic year and is payable by students who qualify under the free fees schemes. Students who qualify unde...More Button

  Question No. 55 answered with Question No. 50.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an assessment of the impact the changes to pupil-teacher ratios is having on class numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Pupil teacher ratios for the 2012/2013 academic year are currently being compiled and will be available during the summer of 2013. Figures for the 2011/2012 academic year are available on the Depar...More Button

Was asked: if he will update Dáil Éireann on his Department's review of submissions that may have been received from organisations which represent minority denominational schools in rural areas; if he will ac...More Button

Organisations representing minority denominational schools have made submissions to my Department on the effect of changes to the staffing schedule for small primary schools and on the possible o...More Button

Was asked: if he will outline his long-term plan for special needs education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources devoted to supporting children with Special Educational Needs has been maintained at €1.3 billion this year. This includes provision for 10,5...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide the details of the terms of reference that will apply to the working group that is being established to review the allocation of special educational resources.More Button

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) published its Policy Advice on Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs on 17 May, 2013.

This is a very significant report wh...More Button

Was asked: when a school (details supplied) in County Dublin may expect to receive funding for much needed refurbishment; when this refurbishment is scheduled to take place in view of the fact that it was due...More Button

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning and is included on the five year school building programme.

Stage 2...More Button

Overseas Development Aid Issues

Was asked: if the principal and board of management at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 2 have permission from his Department to allocate resource hours to mainstream teachers because the school is in an...More Button

Teacher allocations to all second level schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. The staffing arrangements at post p...More Button

Schools Building Projects Administration

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the merger of the National Centre for Technology in Education with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in order to integrate ICT education and further...More Button

The Programme for Government included a proposal to merge the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. Following consideration of ...More Button

One of the Deputy Director posts has responsibility for the ICT support service functions carried out by the staff of the former NCTE. The new configuration ensures greater integration of ICT wit...More Button

The Plan has helped to raise awareness of employment opportunities in ICT. Technology courses accounted for 20.5% of all honours degree level first preference applications through the CAO this ye...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a school (details supplied) in County Louth has proposed to integrate an autism unit into its school and that a prefabricated building has been in p...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) engaged with County Louth VEC during the 2011/2012 school year with a view to establishing an autism unit at one o...More Button

The NCSE recommended that an autism unit would be established at the school in question to commence in January 2013. My Department sanctioned temporary accommodation for this unit on that basis. ...More Button

Was asked: if he will consider that there is little point in the Government fully accepting the recommendations of the Fottrell report, committing to increasing medical student numbers, investing the time and...More Button

Students pursue GEM programmes as second undergraduate degree courses and consequently are not eligible for free fees or for student grants. However in order to widen access to GEM programmes, and...More Button

Was asked: the date by which tenders have to be submitted to his Department for the construction of a new school (details supplied) in County Waterford; if a work schedule and completion date for the construc...More Button

A project manager has been appointed by my Department to oversee the delivery of the project referred to by the Deputy. Tenders for the project are due for return on July 15th 2013 and the relevant...More Button

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Was asked: the position regarding emergency funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following receipt of an application from the school authority I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department recently approved funding under the Emergency Works Scheme. The school authority h...More Button

Was asked: his plans for an ASD unit, English speaking, for primary school children in the west Cork area.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local special educational needs organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing application...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an appeal made to Student Universal Support Ireland in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy was issued with a new award letter on 28th June 2013, following a ...More Button

Was asked: the number of special needs assistants who will be allocated to primary and secondary schools in County Kerry from September 2013; the comparable figures for 2011 and 2012; if he will provide a det...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applicat...More Button

Was asked: if he has received the application for capital funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Limerick requesting urgent repair of the school facilities; if he will fast-track the appl...More Button

My Department has been in contact with the school, referred to by the Deputy, and approved the preparation of the report concerned into the school's accommodation issues.

This report ha...More Button

Was asked: the number of hours a permanent special needs assistant in a primary school is required to work on a weekly basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: whether the total number of hours a permanent special needs assistant in a primary school works is inclusive or exclusive of tea breaks and lunch breaks; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 95 together.

The working week for SNAs is defined in their contract (Department of Education and Skills Circular 15/05). SNAs are required to work...More Button

School Staffing

Was asked: if the special needs assistant allocation for a child (details supplied) in County Cork currently receiving full-time assistance will be maintained for the upcoming year, as it is due to be halved,...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applicat...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form the number of release days from full-time teaching duties afforded by his Department to teaching principals; his plans to increase these; and if he will make a st...More Button

Was asked: if he will list in tabular form the number of release days from full-time teaching duties afforded by his Department to teaching principals; his plans to increase these; and if he will make a state...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 108 together.

  The details regarding release time for principal teachers in primary schools is outlined in Circular Letter 25/02 which c...More Button

Was asked: the training that was provided for members of boards of management at primary and post-primary level; the funding his Department provided for this training; the evaluation of this training that has...More Button

In recognition of the responsibility which the Education Act has imposed on Boards of Management and the increasingly complex environment in which they must operate, the Teacher Education Section (...More Button

When the training was established in 2006, my Department allocated a sum of €1,000,000 and since then has provided an additional €764,146 towards the training. For 2013 my Department has allocat...More Button

Was asked: his plans to reduce the average class size in primary schools in Ireland, which according to OECD Education at a Glance 2013 is the second highest of EU countries; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

The staffing schedule is the mechanism used for the allocation of classroom teachers to all primary schools. It operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools eq...More Button

Classroom teachers are allocated under the staffing schedule based on the pupil enrolments for the previous 30th September. However, the staffing schedule also includes provision for schools that...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Government has protected frontline services in schools to the greatest extent possible in the recent budget and there will no reduction in teacher numbers in pri...More Button

Was asked: if he will list in tabular form the number of assistant principal posts and special duties posts in primary schools in March 2009; the number of assistant principal posts and special duties posts i...More Button

Was asked: if he will list in tabular form the number of assistant principal posts and special duties posts in post-primary schools; the number of assistant principal posts and special duties posts in post-pr...More Button

Was asked: if he will list in tabular form the number of Assistant Principal posts returned to primary schools and post primary schools each year as a result of the limited alleviation introduced for schools ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 to 102, inclusive, together.

  When the moratorium on the filling of posts of responsibility was introduced the Government exempted Principal...More Button

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Was asked: if he will instruct his Department to carry out a review of the workload of principal teachers with particular emphasis on the role of teaching principals in view of reports that increasing workloa...More Button

My Department is focused on improving its systems and requirements to ensure that the administrative burden for Principals, schools and for the Department itself is minimised as far as possible. To...More Button

Was asked: the number of primary principals between the age of 21 and 30; the number of primary principals between the age of 31 and 40; the number of primary principals between the age of 41 and 50; the numb...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy on the age profile of principals in primary schools is as follows:

<...More Button

Was asked: the number of section 29 appeals against suspension in post-primary schools that were taken by parents of children with special needs; the number of section 29 appeals against expulsion in post-pri...More Button

The specific information requested by the Deputy, that is number and category of appeals relating to special needs children is not available.

My officials have compiled the information t...More Button

Was asked: the financial support being provided to each of the managerial bodies at primary and post-primary level in each of the past five years. More Button

My Department provides annual grants to the recognised management bodies at primary and post primary level to assist them in providing management support to the schools in their sectors. Management...More Button

Was asked: the financial support being provided to the National Parents Council Primary and the National Parents Council Post Primary in each of the past five years.More Button

The National Parents' Councils primary and post-primary are to a large extent financed by grants from my Department.

The financial support provided by my Department is made up of two ele...More Button

  Question No. 108 answered with Question No. 97.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) may expect a response to their current appeal to Student Universal Support Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) may expect a response to their current appeal to Student Universal Support Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 113 together.

The appeal of the student referred to by the Deputy was reviewed by the independent Student Grants Appeals Board (Appeals Board) on...More Button

School Accommodation

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) may expect a response to their appeal to Student Universal Support Ireland; if he will resolve the issue whereby SUSI has issued this individual with two reference ...More Button

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the correct reference number is W121310133413 in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, and...More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to secure a school place in respect of a child (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the enrolment of a child in a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no r...More Button

Was asked: when a third level higher education grant application for 2012-13 will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) as a dependent student, in view of the fact that they were deemed not a...More Button

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the applicant referred to by the Deputy was issued with a decision on 13 May 2013 advising her that she ...More Button

  Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 109.More Button

Was asked: if he will clarify a situation regarding special needs assistants (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding special needs assistants (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 118 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources being devoted to supporting children with Special Educational Needs has bee...More Button

Was asked: if he will examine a student grant appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, her student grant application was appealed to the appeals...More Button

Was asked: the reason a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow is being asked for a financial contribution; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, a new 3 classroom school building was constructed in 2010 for the school to which he refers using public funds. At the time, payment of a local contribution of €63,000...More Button

Fee-Paying Schools

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to facilitate dialogue with the authorities in catholic and protestant fee-paying schools with a view to addressing concerns they may have arising from fears of capit...More Button

Was asked: if he has received communication from the authorities in catholic or protestant or fee-paying schools who are concerned with suggestions regarding possible reduction in capitation grants; and if he...More Button

Was asked: if arising from any discussions he has had with representatives of fee-paying schools, it has been found possible to address issues of mutual concern; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will facilitate meetings with representatives of catholic and protestant fee-paying schools with a view to reaching agreement on issues of mutual concern; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 to 124, inclusive, together.

I met in recent days with the Joint Managerial Body and representatives of fee charging schools. The meeting afforded t...More Button

  Questions Nos. 125 to 127, inclusive, answered with Question No. 120.More Button

Third Level Participation

Was asked: the total number of incidents of school bullying including cyber bullying reported to his Department through the primary and or post-primary sectors in each of the past three years to date; the ext...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is not available in my Department as individual school management authorities are not required to report incidents of bullying to my Department.

A...More Button

Was asked: the number of students known to have dropped out of third level education in each of the past three years to date for whatever reason; his plans to tackle this issue in the coming year; and if he w...More Button

The most recent report by the HEA entitled 'A study of Progression in Higher Education' is available on the HEA website. The following table from the report illustrates the non-presence rates of ne...More Button

Was asked: if a special needs assistant will be assigned to a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applicat...More Button

Was asked: when a reply will issue to representations made by this Deputy on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if it is possible for a person to participate in the DARE programme in a given academic year if their application is held up beyond the closing date for reasons beyond their control; his views that...More Button

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third-level admissions scheme for students with a disability. The scheme is operated by a number of higher education institutions and not by my ...More Button

Public Procurement Regulations

Was asked: if he will report on his meeting with Down Syndrome Ireland on 25 June 2013; if he will provide the resource hours to children with Down syndrome as requested by Down Syndrome Ireland.More Button

The Deputy will be aware of this Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring that all children with special educational needs, including children with Down's syndrome, can have access to an educati...More Button

Was asked: if there is a protocol or guideline in place governing the appointment of voluntary classroom assistants at primary and second level; if not, his plans in relation to same; and if he will make a st...More Button

Responsibility for the recruitment and selection of school personnel (including volunteers) rests with the Board of Management. If the Board of Management of a school decides to engage a person (w...More Button


 

 

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