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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 367-387
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Ministerial Adviser Appointments
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Issues
 Header Item Ministerial Staff
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Issues
 Header Item Ministerial Advisers
 Header Item Ministerial Transport
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staffing
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 367-387

Job Creation

 367. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of new jobs created by his Department as a result of the jobs initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37275/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon Under the Jobs Initiative the Department of Education and Skills was to provide 15,900 education and training places across a spectrum of programmes. Details of which are set out below:

 - 6,000 places in the FÁS Specific Skills Training programme

- 5,900 places in the Higher Education Springboard programme

- 3,000 places in the Back to Education Initiative programme

- 1,000 places in Post Leaving Cert Courses.

  In addition, capital funding of €40 million was made available through the Jobs Initiative to fund 374 primary and post primary school building projects. These funds allowed schools to carry out small and medium scale building works such as special needs access, toilet facilities, roof works and window replacements. As reported at the launch of the Jobs Initiative it was estimated that the investment of €40m would create approximately 2,400 direct and 480 indirect jobs in the construction sector over the course of the initiative.

Job Creation

 368. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of new jobs created by his Department as a result of the action plan on jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37291/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon My Department's actions will support the Government's "Action Plan for Jobs", which sets out how the Government will target different sectors with new policy supports for creating employment opportunities. Under this ambitious plan the Government expects to create up to 100,000 jobs over the next 4 years. My Department will play a key role in the successful implementation of this plan to ensure people have the relevant education , training and competencies so they can compete for jobs in all sectors as they arise. It is not possible at this stage to calculate the number of jobs that may be created directly as a result of the actions of my Department under this initiative. While my Department has no direct role in the creation of jobs in this regard, it should be noted that the funding for positions throughout the education sector is channelled through the Department's budget.

Job Creation

 369. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of new jobs created by his Department as a result of budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37307/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn During its first 100 days in Office, this Government put in place a Jobs Initiative and, within its first year of being in Office, the Government put in place an Action Plan for Jobs. The Deputy will be aware that the APJ includes a target to create the environment where the number of people at work will increase by 100,000 – from 1.8 million to 1.9 million – by 2016, and reach 2 million people by 2020. Some of the significant Department of Education and Skills actions in Budget 2012 and the APJ include -

* A new Labour Market Education and Training Fund. This €20 million fund will be specifically targeted at the long-term unemployed and will deliver upward of 6,500 places in 2012.

* Prioritisation of places, including in the further education and training sector, specifically for those on the Live Register for 12 months or more.

* A new call under the Springboard programme for higher education courses that are aligned with areas of future skills needs and targeted at the unemployed. In May 2012, 6,000 places on 220 courses opened for applications under Springboard 2012.

* Rollout of 750 places on 17 new fully funded graduate ICT skills conversion programmes across the country.

* A specific training initiative for managers in SMEs.

In addition, the Action Plan contains significant actions in the whole area of international education provision and attention to building on the Education in Ireland brand to increase awareness of Ireland as a top class centre of education services. The Government has also prioritised investment in school buildings and earlier this year I published the first ever Five Year Plan for School Buildings. This €1.5 billion investment in major school building projects will create an estimated 15,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs over the period of the programme (an annual average of 3,000 direct and 600 indirect jobs).

Departmental Expenditure

 370. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the total amount spent on taxis by his Department since February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37323/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The following is the information regarding taxi expenditure in my Department since February 2011:

Year
2011 (from 1 February 2011) €25,554.11
2012 ( to 31 August 2012) €16,756.18


Taxis used by my Department's officials are for business purposes and officials are required to ensure that every effort is made to minimise the use of taxis. These costs were incurred by officials who required taxi transportation in the course of travelling to or from official business engagements both in Ireland and abroad. Taxi hire for official travel is only permitted where the number of officers travelling result in taxi hire being cheaper than other forms of public transport, no suitable public transport alternative is available or using other forms of public transport is not possible/practical.

Departmental Staff Data

 371. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of press officers in his Department; the number of press officers in each agency under his auspices; the total cost of press officers in his Department and in agencies under his auspices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37339/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn There is one Director of Communications at the Press Office of my Department on an annual salary of €86,604. None of the agencies under the remit of my Department have dedicated press officer positions. In the event they receive press or media enquiries these matters are addressed by an administrative member of staff.

Appointments to State Boards

 372. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the total number of board appointments he has made since he came to office; the names, salaries and expenses of each appointee; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37355/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Details of all appointments to bodies under the aegis of my Department, including those made since my appointment as Minister, can be accessed on my Department's website www.education.ie. The day to day management of agencies, including the payment of expenses in accordance with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines, is a matter for the management of each agency and is generally available in the annual reports and accounts of agencies.

Departmental Expenditure

 373. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will detail, in tabular form, the total photography costs for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographers was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37371/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The total photography costs for my Department since 9 March 2011 are set out in the following table. My Department adheres to the National Procurement Service's photography framework in place for central government, local government and the health and education sectors. My Department does not pay a Ministerial allowance to either myself or the Minister of State. The total photography costs for my Department since 9 March 2011 are:

Cost Occasion
€381.15 (€315 + €66.15 VAT) Photographs of a school building project were copied for use on a display board submitted to the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland for the joint RIAI/Department colloquium on school design held in Dublin on June 30th 2011.

Photographers: Donal Murphy Photography
€301.35 (€245 + €56.35 VAT) Photographs taken on June 12th 2012 to highlight the visit of Ms Marta Santos Pais (UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children). Ms. Pais visited Dublin to participate in an international jury to oversee the design competition of a memorial to victims of childhood abuse in Irish institutions.

Photographers: Fennell Photography

Departmental Expenditure

 374. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will detail, in tabular form, the total cost of providing entertainment for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which entertainment was provided; the entertainers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion; if there is a policy regarding the booking of entertainers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37443/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The details requested in relation to entertainment expenses paid for directly by my Department are outlined on the following table. My Department does not pay a Ministerial allowance to either myself or the Ministers of State. My Department adheres to Department of Finance guidelines in relation to official entertainment expenditure. In order to minimise costs, it is my Department's practice to utilise the services of in-house caterers as far as possible. Expenditure is monitored to ensure value for money.

Date Hosted by Description of Entertainment Provided Entertainers Used / Suppliers contracted Total Cost of Event €  
Mar-11 Minister Lunch with the Indian Ambassador HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 48.33  
Jun-11 Minister Reception for Artist Mr. Patrick Scott- Works hang in Department. REGENT CATERING ASSOCIATES 64.16  
Jun-11 Minister Lunch with the Chinese Ambassador & delegation (Reimbursement Ruairi Quinn) HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 149.00  
Jun-11 Minister Lunch for delegation from Saudi Arabia (SA Min for Higher Ed) HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 557.70  
Jul-11 Minister Lunch in recognition of Dr. Kenneth Milne's contribution to the Irish Education System REGENT CATERING ASSOCIATES 136.82  
Jul-11 Minister Dinner on the retirement of Dr. John Hegarty Provost of Trinity College HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 296.75  
Oct-11 Minister Conference in Chicago jointly hosted by Minister Quinn and Consulate General COCCO PAZZA RESTAURANT CHICAGO 438.39  
Nov-11 Minister Dinner for Tom Jago in recognition of his personal contribution Leuven Institute for Ireland and Europe HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 349.90  
Dec-11 Minister Function in Minister's Office REGENT CATERING ASSOCIATES 233.07  
Mar-12 Minister Lunch for Chinese Ambassador and First Secretary HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 50.00  
Apr-12 Minister Reimbursement for refreshments in Minister's Office RYAN, RONNIE 91.56  
May-12 Minister Reception lunch Patronage & Pluralism Forum REGENT CATERING ASSOCIATES 151.50  
        Subtotal - Minister: €2,567.18
Jul-11 Minister of state Dinner for Visiting Ministerial Delegation FARMLEIGH 2,175.38  
Dec-11 Minister of state Dinner hosted by Minister for Visiting Delegation of Senior Higher Education Officials ROLY'S BISTRO 580.69  
Dec-11 Minister of state Lunch for the members of the SOLAS Implementation Group HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS 108.75  
        Subtotal - Minister of State: €2,864.82
Aug-11 Departmental Officials Promoting Irish Education THE DRAKE, CHICAGO 41.00  
Aug-11 Departmental Officials International Conference Promoting Irish Education THE DRAKE, CHICAGO 47.00  
Aug-11 Departmental Officials International Conference Promoting Irish Education THE DRAKE, CHICAGO 231.00  
Oct-11 Departmental Officials Refreshments Department Open Day - Irish Architecture Foundation Open House Dublin Initiative REGENT CATERING ASSOCIATES 43.56  
Sep-11 Departmental Officials Reimbursement for retirement dinner for Jerome Morrissey CEO National Centre for Technology in Education THE TALBOT 189.86  
Feb-12 Departmental Officials Working Lunch for Visiting International Delegation SHERRIES CAFÉ 19.95  
Feb-12 Departmental Officials EU Presidency Preparatory Meeting - Working Lunch EDEN RESTAURANT 68.00  
Feb-12 Departmental Officials International Conference - Lunch for 27 Participants ACADEMY PLAZA 430.65  
Apr-12 Departmental Officials Working Lunch with Visiting International Delegation WINDING STAIRS RESTAURANT 81.84  
May-12 Departmental Officials Lunch International Joint Working Group ROLY'S BISTRO 517.88  
Jun-12 Departmental Officials Breakfast meeting with International Delegation BUSWELLS 40.35  
Jun-12 Departmental Officials Working Lunch with International Delegation KITE'S RESTAURANT 55.10  
Jul-12 Departmental Officials Breakfast/Lunch meeting with International Delegation GRESHAM HOTEL 19.75  
        Subtotal - Departmental Officials: €1,785.94
        Grand Total: €7,217.94

Departmental Expenditure

 375. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the amount spent on food and drink by his Department; if he will provide a breakdown of what this involved; the occasions on which food and drink was provided; those present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37459/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The following table provides details of my Department's expenditure on refreshments for meetings and functions in 2011 and to date in 2012.

Year Expenditure
2011 €73,067.17
2012 €37,166.16


The type of refreshments included are beverages, snacks and lunches for meetings, functions and in house courses. My Department engages on a regular basis with a broad range of stake holders within the wider education sector and offers refreshments as appropriate. In order to minimise costs, it is my Department's practice to hold meetings, functions etc at its offices and to utilise the services of in-house catering. Expenditure is monitored to ensure value for money.

Departmental Expenditure

 376. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the amount spent on hair and make-up by his Department since he came to office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37475/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department has not incurred expenditure on hair or make-up since February 2011.

Ministerial Adviser Appointments

 377. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number and names of all special advisers, special press advisers, or any other type of ministerial adviser in his Department; the name of the Minister or Minister of State to whom he or she reports; the salary of each adviser now; the salary of each adviser at the time he or she was appointed; if any salary increase was asked for; if it was granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37491/12]

 484. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the names of special advisors for whom salary increases have been requested; the amount requested; the details of those granted increases and the amount by which they were increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40019/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 377 and 484 together.

  Since I took office I have appointed 2 Special Advisers, a Personal Assistant and a Personal Secretary and the Minister of State at my Department also appointed a Personal Secretary and Personal Assistant. These appointments were in accordance with the revised conditions for Ministerial Appointments as published by the Department of Finance on the 24th, March 2011. The following tabular statement gives details of the Ministerial appointments made at my Department together with details of their current salaries and their salaries when they were appointed. They were placed on the appropriate point of the salary scale proximate to the earnings they were in receipt of in their former employment.

  None of the personnel mentioned in the tabular statement has sought additional remuneration and their salary payments are as agreed in their employment contracts which were drafted in accordance with the terms of the Guidelines for Ministerial Appointments as mentioned above. As provided for under the terms of the Ethics in Public Office Acts copies of the appointees' contracts of employment together with details of the Special Advisers qualifications were laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on the 28th, October 2011.

Mr. Ruairí Quinn, T.D. Minister for Education & Skills

- - Appointment Sept 2012
Appointee Position Salary Salary
John Walshe Special Adviser €92,672 €92,672
Deirdre Grant Special Adviser €86,604 €86,604
Ian O’Mara Personal Assistant €47,304 €48,520
Neil Ward Personal Secretary €45,160 €45,940
Mr. Ciaran Cannon, T.D. Minister of State
- - Appointment Sept 2012
Appointee Position Salary Salary
Martina Forde Personal Assistant €49,790 €49,790
Niamh Lawless Personal Secretary €38,945 €43,510

Consultancy Contracts Issues

 378. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide detail, in tabular form, of the names of all external public relations and consultancy persons and organisations used by his Department for the years 2011 and 2010; the amount paid to each; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37507/12]

 381. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will detail in tabular form the amount paid to consultants since February 2011; the name of each organisation used; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37556/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 378 and 381 together.

  The details in question are outlined in the following table.

Consultancy Persons and Organisations used by the Department of Education and Skills in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (up to 31/08/2012)
- YEAR 2011 -
Consultant Purpose Total Cost
   
Centre for Cross Border Studies 2011 annual review of Post graduate courses in Northern Ireland €2,420.00
Jim Duffy and Pat McLoughlin An Independent panel made recommendations to the Minister on the preferred proposal for designation of a single awarding authority. €1,927.86
Gartner Subscription for provision of ICT research, advice, guidance & related services to the IT Unit 1/10/2011 -30/09/2012 €35,150.49
Sr. Eileen Randles Review of an appeal against an inspection under section 13 (9) of the Education Act 1998 €920.00
Dr Simon Marginson Submission of draft criteria for the proposed re-designation of amalgamated institutes of Technology Universities arising from the recommendations of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 €9,075.00
Sir Jim Rose Provision of international expertise and advice to the Minister in relation to Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children & Young People 2011-2020 €0
Farrell Grant Sparks Provision of specialist advice in relation to the finalisation of updated and transparent accounting arrangements with Bus Éireann in respect of the School Transport Account €8,410.71
Professor John Coolahan, Dr Caroline Hussey & Fionnuala Kilfeather Advisory Group on the Forum on Patronage & Pluralism in the Primary Sector. €20,000.00
Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP (PWC) Belfast Evaluation of the Special Education Support Service. €97,866.01
Goodbody Economic Consultants Evaluation of the Initial Implementation of Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education €31,280.92
The PA Consulting Group Evaluation of the training & education programmes for the unemployed delivered under the Labour Market Activation Fund 2010 €52,003.38
Fitzpatrick & Associates Mid term Evaluation of the Human Capital Investment 2007-2013 €61,589.00
Deloitte Audits of the national agencies for the Lifelong Learning Programme in Ireland. €16,299.00
Public Authority Pension Services Ltd Pensions advisory work relating to the establishment of a pension scheme for staff of the National Council for Technology in Education €4,791.60
Analyses Mason Commercial Financial and Technical Procurement advice for Schools Broadband Tender €63,632.51
  2011 Total: €405,366.48
* No payment made in 2011    
- YEAR 2012 from 1/01/2012 to 31/08/2012 -
Consultant Purpose Total Cost
   
Mokum Change Management Oracle Training & Support & Oracle Functional Consultancy Fees May & June 2012 includes supply of service (4th schedule) vat at 23% (part of the Department's Performance Budgeting and Vote Restructuring Project €7,522.99
Version 1 Functional and Training consultancy as part of the Department's Performance Budgeting and Vote Restructuring Project €2,070.00
Pat McLoughlin (former CEO Eastern Health Board) T & S for his work on the Independent Panel set up re the establishment of a Single Grant Awarding Authority in 2011. (Fee paid by payroll and adjustment made from A 7 non IT consultancy December 2011). T & S paid in 2012 for work carried out in 2011. €83.66
Sir Jim Rose Fee, travel & Sub and expenses for his work as International Expert for Literacy & Numeracy Implementation Group meetings 12/12/2011 and 27/03/2012. Includes supply of service (4th schedule) vat at 23% €2,462.84
Analyses Mason Technical commercial and financial advice in the procurement of broadband services for schools €52,040.42
Mazars Audit of Labour Market Activation Projects co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) Human Capital Investment Operational Programme (HCI OP) 2007-2013 €9,839.14
Deloitte 2011 Annual Declaration of Assurancefor the leargas Lifelong Learning Programme and the HEA Lifelong Learning Erasmus Programme. €16,568.10
WRC Social & Economic Consultants Provision of Administrative & Technical support to the European Globalisation Fund Managing Authority €210,059.40
  2012 Total: €300,646.55

Ministerial Staff

 379. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the gross annual salary costs for his private and constituency offices at present; the same figures for this time last year; the same figures for any Ministers of State in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37524/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Office 2011 – Gross Annual Salary 2012 – Gross Annual Salary
Minister’s Private Office €436,856 €441,181
Minister’s Constituency Office €195,097 €195,877
Office 2011 – Gross Annual Salary 2012 – Gross Annual Salary
Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, T.D. - Private Office €213,548 €222,335
Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, T.D. - Constituency Office €125,099 €93,300


In addition, a Private Secretary was appointed from the existing staffing cohort within the Department on 7th June, 2011, to Mr. Seán Sherlock T.D., Minister of State for Research and Innovation with a gross annual salary on appointment in 2011 of €56,662. Their current gross annual salary is €58,273. The salaries paid to civil servants are in accordance with the Department of Finance salary scales for the relevant grades. The salaries paid to non-civil servant staff are in accordance with the Department of Finance Instructions relating to the Appointment of Ministerial Private Office Staff.

Consultancy Contracts Issues

 380. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will detail, in tabular form, the amount paid on external public relations and communications consultants since February 2011; the reason for the payment; the name of each organisation used; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37540/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department did not incur any expenditure on external public relations and communications consultants in 2011 or to date in 2012.

  Question No. 381 answered with Question No. 378.

Ministerial Advisers

 382. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the political activities of each special adviser, special press advisers, or any other type of ministerial adviser in his Department; if any of them were members of a political party; if so, the parties to which they belonged; if any of them are or have been elected local authority members; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37572/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I am not in a position to provide the information sought as it is not open to me to request or compel the appointees to provide this information. However, the Deputy should note that the restrictions which have traditionally been imposed on civil servants engaging in political activity under Paragraph 5.4 of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour do not apply to Ministerial Staff holding temporary unestablished positions and whose tenure is coterminous with that of the relevant Minister. In accordance with the terms of the Ethics in Public Office Acts copies of the appointees' contracts of employment together with details of the Special Advisers qualifications were laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on the 28th, October 2011.

Ministerial Transport

 383. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the amount spent by his Department on drivers and ministerial transport since February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37588/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The following table provides a breakdown of expenditure requested by the deputy on drivers and Ministerial transport since February 2011.

Ministerial Transport Costs Payment Period* Total Paid
MINISTER - Ruairi Quinn T.D. 01/03/2011 - 31/06/2012 €19,104.94
Salary Costs - Driver 1 03/05/2011- 14/09-2012 €47,886.65
Salary Costs - Driver 2 17/05/2011 - 14/09-2012 €46,442.65
Travel & Subsistence - Driver 1 07/05/2011- 11/06/2012 €1,654.76
Travel & Subsistence - Driver 2 23/05/2011 - 26/03/2012 €580.87
Total   €115,669.87
Minister of State Transport Costs Payment Period* Total Paid
MINISTER OF STATE - Ciaran Cannon T.D. 01/03/2011 - 17/07-2012 €28,638.02
Salary Costs - Driver 1 03/05/2011- 14/09-2012 €50,449.75
Salary Costs - Driver 2 17/05/2011 - 14/09-2012 €50,449.75
Travel & Subsistence - Driver 1 18/04/2011 - 27/07/2012 €8,001.32
Travel & Subsistence - Driver 2 11/04/2011 - 02/08/2012 €8,145.79
Total €145,684.63


*Travel & Subsistence based on claims paid to date

Salary Costs are exclusive of Employer's PRSI

Departmental Reports

 384. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the total amount spent since February 2011 on external reports commissioned by his Department, including payments from ministerial allowances, details of the consultants employed and costs of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37620/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Information in respect of external consultancy reports commissioned by my Department in 2011 and to date in 2012 are included in the following table. My Department does not pay a Ministerial allowance to either myself or the Ministers of State.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SKILLS CONSULTANCY REPORTS 2011

Consultant Name Purpose of Consultancy Total amt paid 2011 incl vat
Centre for Cross Border Studies 2011 annual review of Postgraduate courses in Northern Ireland €2,420.00
Sr. Eileen Randles Review of an appeal against an inspection under section 13 (9) of the Education Act 1998 €920.00
Dr Simon Marginson Development & submission to DOES of draft criteria for the proposed re-designation of amalgamated institutes of Technology Universities arising from the recommendations of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 €9,075.00
Forum on Patronage & Pluralism in the Primary Sector-Professor John Coolahan, Dr Caroline Hussey, Fionnuala Kilfeather Report of Advisory Group which convened the Forum on Patronage & Pluralism in the Primary Sector, to receive and distil the various views and perspectives of participants and to report and advise the Minister €20,000.00
Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP (PWC) Belfast Evaluation of the Special Education Support Service established by the Department in 2003 to address the then rather fragmented provision of continuing professional development in the area of special education. €97,866.011
Goodbody Economic Consultants Evaluation of the Initial Implementation of Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education €31,280.92
The PA Consulting Groupup Evaluation of the training & education programmes for the unemployed delivered under LMAF 2010 €52,003.38
Fitzpatrick & Associate Mid term Evaluation of the Human Capital Investment 2007-2013 €61,589.00
Deloitte Audits of the national agencies for the Lifelong Learning Programme in Ireland, these will serve as the basis for the submission of Declarations of Assurance from International Section to the European Commission €16,299.00
Public Authority Pension Services Ltd Pensions advisory work relating to the establishment of a pension scheme for staff of the NCTE €4,791.60
  Total (2011) €296,244.91







 

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SKILLS CONSULTANCY REPORTS 2012 1/01/2012 to 31/08/2012
Consultant Name Purpose of Consultancy Total amt paid 2012 incl vat
Mazars Audit of Labour Market Activation Projects co-funded by the european Social Fund (ESF) Human Capital Investment Operational Programme (HCI OP) 2007 - 2013 €52,040.42
Deloitte 2011 Annual Declaration of Assurance for the Leargas Lifelong Learning Programme and the HEA Lifelong Learning/Erasmus Programme. €16,568.10
  Total (Jan. to Aug. 2012) : €68,608.52


The following revised reply was received on 24 October 2012:

The table given included an error.  The correct figures are set out as follows.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SKILLS CONSULTANCY REPORTS 2012  1/01/2012 to 31/08/2012
Consultant Name Purpose of Consultancy Total amt paid 2012 incl vat
Mazars Audit of Labour Market Activation Projects co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) Human Capital Investment Operational Programme (HCI OP) 2007 - 2013 €9,839.14
Deloitte 2011 Annual Declaration of Assurance for the Leargas Lifelong Learning Programme and the HEA Lifelong Learning/Erasmus Programme. €16,568.10
  Total (Jan. to Aug. 2012) : €26,407.24

Special Educational Needs Staffing

 385. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will support the attached (details supplied). [37708/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department strives to ensure that a continuum of special education provision is available as required for children with special educational needs. In line with this approach the policy is to promote a child-centred approach to education of all children with special educational needs including those with autism. As each child with autism is unique they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs.

Children with autism present with a wide range of needs. Some children are capable of being fully integrated into mainstream schools without additional teaching or care supports. Others are able to attend mainstream schools but need additional teaching and/or care assistance. Many are best enrolled in autism-specific classes where more intensive and supportive interventions are required. Some may move from one setting to another as they get older and differing needs/strengths/abilities emerge.

The preferred policy of my Department is that children with autism are educated in school settings where children may have access to individualised education programmes (IEPs), fully-qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants, the appropriate school curriculum with the option, where possible and appropriate, of full or partial integration and interaction with other pupils.

Autism classes are established with a staffing ratio of 1 teacher and a minimum of 2 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) for every 6 children. Other SNAs may be allocated if required to meet the care needs of the children. Start-up grants are provided to the schools to enable special equipment to be purchased. Enhanced capitation is paid in respect of each child and assistive technology is funded where this is recommended. This approach promotes the maximum level of inclusion which accords with the intent of the EPSEN Act. While some children may be able to attend a mainstream class, for others the most appropriate provision may be in a special class or unit in the school or in a special school.

The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years. In excess of 540 classes have now been approved around the country at primary and post primary level, including many in special schools. Thirteen new special schools for children with autism were granted official recognition in 2010 having been funded by my Department as centres in a pilot project for a number of years.

This policy is based on advice received from international experts on autism, NEPS and the Inspectorate. In arriving at the preferred policy which is currently in place, my Department has considered published research, including the Report of the Task Force on Autism (2001) and the Evaluation of Educational Provision for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (2006), both of which are available on my Department's website has also informed the policy. My Department was also mindful of contributions of many other experts at international conferences/visits have also informed the development views.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 386. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide clarification on teacher numbers and the pupil teacher ratio at a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath from September 2012; if he is satisfied that pupils will continue to receive a comprehensive education with decreased teacher numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37725/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is an independent agency with responsibility for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs attending special schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's policy in allocating this support.

Circular 0042/2011 provides information to schools regarding the staffing arrangements which will apply in special schools for the 2012/13 school year. The Circular sets out that, for the 2012/13 school year, special schools will be staffed based on their pupil profiles and the disability category of the pupils enrolled as opposed to being based principally on school designation. It is intended that staffing levels will reflect the complexity of need that exist within schools rather than being determined solely by a school's designation, as many Special Schools now enrol students from disability categories other than from those provided for by their school designations.

The NCSE have advised that the school referred to by the Deputy has been allocated 5 teaching staff by the NCSE for the coming school year, along with 1 Administrative Principal post, for an enrolment of 32 pupils. This provides a pupil teacher ratio of 6.4 to 1 which is significantly in excess of the recommended staffing ratio of 1 teacher of every 8 pupils in a school for children with moderate general learning difficulties. The additional allocation takes into account the individual needs of pupils in the school and the fact that some pupils have more severe or multiple disabilities. The NCSE has confirmed that the school has an appropriate level of teaching staff to cater for all of the children enrolled in the school from September.

Schools Building Projects Status

 387. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a delay has occurred and a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath will not be completed until May 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37741/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school referred to by the Deputy is among eight schools constituting the third bundle of school projects that are earmarked for delivery as part of the Department's overall Schools Public Private Partnership programme of works. Unfortunately, unanticipated difficulties associated with the current fiscal situation have led to delays in achieving financial close. As a consequence, it has not been possible to conclude the contract with the preferred tenderer as had been originally planned. However, the expectation is that these difficulties will now be overcome later this year with the likelihood that the contract will be in place and the builder on site before the end of the calendar year. I look forward to this situation coming to pass.


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