Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 195-215
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Value for Money Reviews
 Header Item Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item School Services Staff
 Header Item Teachers' Remuneration
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Payments
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Education and Training Boards Issues
 Header Item EU Programmes
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item National Student Survey
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 195-215

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 195. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the extent to which he continues to be in a position to ameliorate the impact of the economic situation on the primary education sector with particular reference to class sizes and maintenance of the optimum number of teachers in areas where schools are only marginally short of qualification for an extra teacher on the basis of enrolments in the previous year and keeping in mind the need to cater for children with special needs and the multiplicity of language backgrounds from a large sector of pupils in individual schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53978/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn At this point I do not propose to give any specific commitment on the allocation of teachers to schools for the 2013/14 school year. The number of teaching posts that we can afford to fund in schools is a matter that I will have to consider with my colleagues in Cabinet in the context of the next budget. The Government will endeavour to protect frontline education services as best as possible. However, this must be done within the context of bringing our overall public expenditure into line with what we can afford as a country. The challenge will be to ensure that the resources that can be provided are used to maximum effect to achieve the best possible outcome for pupils.

Value for Money Reviews

 196. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding a submission on small primary schools value for money review in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; if he will ensure that this school is allowed to continue to bring top class educational service to its community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54041/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn All of the submissions regarding the value for money review of small primary schools, including those received from the school to which the Deputy refers, were carefully considered. The terms of reference of the review specify a focus on the organisation of the primary school system, rather than on individual schools. It is intended that the review will contribute to an evidence base to inform national policy regarding primary school size and organisation. The review is at an advanced stage of preparation. My Department expects to publish the analysis and findings shortly and I look forward to a constructive engagement on the matter.

Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge

 197. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn an bhfuil sé sásta an Ghaeilge agus an Ghaeltacht a chur san áireamh sa Bhille um Boird Oideachais agus Oiliúna, 2012; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [54042/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn An straitéis 20 bliain don Teanga Ghaeilge 2010 go 2030, tá sé mar aidhm aice cur chuige iomlánaithe a fheidhmiú don Teanga Ghaeilge a bheadh comhsheasmhach leis an gcleachtadh idirnáisiúnta is fearr. Tá sé geallta ag an Rialtas tacaíocht a thabhairt don straitéis i gClár an Rialtais 2011 go 2016. Ina theannta sin, dreamanna poibli iad na Coistí Gairmoideachais a thiteann laistigh téarmaí Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Tá sé i gceist go ndéanfaidh Bille na mBord Oideachais is Oiliúna 2012 an staid sin a chaomhnú agus go mbeadh sé de dhualgas ar a leithéid de Bhoird na riachtanais ábhartha den Teanga Ghaeilge a shásamh. Sna tosca, tá mé sásta go mbeidh na Boird Oideachais agus Oiliúna nua in ann a gcuid riachtanas a shásamh maidir leis an dTeanga Ghaeilge agus maidir leis an nGaeltacht gan soláthair ar leith a dhéanamh ar an mBille.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 198. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding an education grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford; when it will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54066/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the application of the student referred to by the Deputy is currently being assessed and that SUSI will be in contact with him directly in the coming days.

School Services Staff

 199. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the fact that staff who are employed in private colleges such as a college (details supplied) in Dublin 6, who are required to make a contribution to the superannuation pension system which is currently being held on deposit by the college yet they are not allowed yield the benefit of it because of the decision by him; if he will advise on this matter and if he thinks this is just; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54115/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand that the Deputy is referring to caretakers and maintenance staff employed in the school. The school in question is a fee charging school and does not receive grant-aid from my Department to fund the cost of employing support staff, such as caretakers and maintenance staff. Accordingly, the pension arrangements are exclusively a matter for the school authorities.

Teachers' Remuneration

 200. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if, in respect of a newly qualified teacher working as a substitute teacher (details supplied) in County Dublin, his attention has been drawn to the fact that this person is being underpaid; the reason for this underpayment; when this error will be corrected and arrears paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54128/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn It was necessary for my Department to introduce an interim payment arrangement for teachers who were first appointed to the teaching profession since 01st February 2012 pending the outcome of the review of public sector allowances by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Arrangements are being made to have the payment issues raised by the Deputy resolved and officials of my Department will be in contact with the person referred to.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 201. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline projects on which his Department co-operates with the Department of Education in the North.  [54152/12]

 202. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline projects which his Department cooperates with the Department of Employment and Learning in the North.  [54153/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 202 together.

  My Department co-operates with a number of Departments and Offices in Northern Ireland in co-sponsoring projects which have a cross-border dimension and include among their objectives increasing mutual understanding and advancing peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. The projects and Northern co-sponsors are listed in the attached table.

  Department of Education and Skills

  North South Co-operation Projects & Programmes

Name Target Grouping Irish Government

Department/Agency
Northern Ireland Executive Department/Agency
Children’s Book Week – annual event to promote reading among children School, Youth, Teachers and Parents Dept. Education & Skills Dept. Education Northern Ireland
Cinemagic – annual film festival for young people from 4 to 25 years of age School, Youth, adults & Teachers Dept. Education & Skills - Dept. of Culture, Arts & Leisure NI

- Northern Ireland Screen
Dissolving Boundaries – links schools North and South in partnerships forged through the Internet and school exchanges School, Youth & Teachers Dept. Education & Skills Dept. Education Northern Ireland
European Studies Project – through co-operative projects at post primary level enhances children’s’ awareness of EU social, economic and political issues and structures School, Youth & Teachers Dept. Education & Skills Dept. Education Northern Ireland
Irish Science Olympiad – brings together science students from the 32 counties in friendly competition for selection to an all island team for the International  Science Olympiad School, Youth & Teachers Dept. Education & Skills Dept. Education Northern Ireland
Maths Week Ireland – promotes awareness, appreciation and understanding of mathematics throughout the island of Ireland School, Youth, Teachers and Parents Dept. Education & Skills Dept. Education Northern Ireland
Pushkin Prizes – promotes creativity in adults and children through the medium of the arts and the natural environment School, Youth, Adults & Teachers Dept. Education & Skills Dept. Education Northern Ireland
George Mitchell Scholarships - provides third level scholarships to enable US university graduates to pursue a year of study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland 3rd Level Dept. Education & Skills Dept. of Employment & Learning NI
Standing Conference on Teacher Education North/South (SCoTENS)

3rd Level Dept. Education & Skills - Dept. Education Northern Ireland

- Dept. of Employment & Learning NI
Universities Ireland – promotes co-operation and collaboration between universities North and South and to enhance their reputations in Europe and elsewhere 3rd Level Dept. Education & Skills - Dept. of Employment & Learning NI
Washington Ireland Programme – enables promising university students from all traditions on the island of Ireland  to participate in a six-month programme of personal and professional leadership development 3rd Level Dept. Education & Skills Office of First Minister & Deputy First Minister Northern Ireland

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 203. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their application for a student grant from Student Universal Support of Ireland; the reason for the delay in issuing a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54215/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that on the 3rd December, 2012 a request for further documentation was issued to the student referred to by the Deputy. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

 204. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their application for a student grant from Student Universal Support of Ireland; the reason for the delay in issuing a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54216/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, his student grant application was unsuccessful and that he appealed the decision to the appeals officer in SUSI and their original decision was upheld. The student submitted an appeal to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board and the appeal was considered at a sitting of the Board on the 27th November 2012. A letter notifying the student of the decision on the appeal issued on the 28th November 2012.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 205. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their application for a student grant from Student Universal Support of Ireland; the reason for the delay in issuing a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54217/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy a grant has been awarded and an award letter issued on 29th November, 2012.

Student Grant Scheme Payments

 206. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo has not received their grant payment from Student Universal Support of Ireland having been awarded a grant from SUSI; when will a payment be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54218/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that further documentation was received from the student referred to by the Deputy on 12th November 2012 and this documentation is currently awaiting review. The student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 207. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a person (details supplied) in county Galway has not received their Student Universal Support Ireland grant despite supplying all the requested information to SUSI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54219/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that on the 27th November, 2012 a request for further documentation was issued to the student referred to by the Deputy. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 208. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a deicision will be made on an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo on their application to Student Universal Support Ireland for a student grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54220/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Ireland (SUSI), the new centralised grant awarding authority, that the student referred to by the Deputy submitted a grant application after the closing date on the 14th September. Upon initial assessment it was determined that the form was not completed in full and the student has been advised by letter on the 3rd December, 2012 to re-apply.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

 209. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their application for a student grant from Student Universal Support Ireland; the reason for the delay in issuing a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54221/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, his student grant application was unsuccessful and that he appealed the decision to the appeals officer in SUSI and their original decision was upheld. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down, in writing, by SUSI, and remains of the view that SUSI has not interpreted the scheme correctly in his/her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board.

Education and Training Boards Issues

 210. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a decision will issue on the location of the new headquarters for the amalgamation of Limerick and Clare Local Education Training Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54261/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn In October of last year, I announced and published the headquarter locations where VECs are being merged as a result of the Government decision to reduce the number of VECs from 33 to 16. In relation to the specific merger of City of Limerick VEC with Co. Limerick VEC and Co. Clare VEC as you know I have decided that the headquarters of the Education and Training Board will be in Limerick (greater city area).

Redeployment of staff from Ennis to Limerick is possible under the Croke Park agreement. However I expect that the office in Ennis will remain open for some time and that the approach to redeployment will be measured and considered. It will be a matter for the CEO of the new Education and Training Board to work through and judge what the best approach is to ensure the optimum approach to service delivery. The establishment of SOLAS is also likely to have a bearing on the precise arrangements to be made. I want to make clear that my Department will not be forcing any one size fits all approach to staff deployment and office accommodation by the new Education and Training Boards. We will be receptive to any reasonable and sensible arrangements that are the best fit for the needs of the areas served by the new board.

EU Programmes

 211. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn regarding the Erasmus Educational Programme, if he will provide in tabular form for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012 the number of academic students abroad for each year; the number of placements with companies abroad for each year; the number of teachers abroad for each year; the amount of EU funding provided in that programme for each year for the Irish participants; and if the necessary funding will be made available to continue the programme in 2013. [54264/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Erasmus programmes: figures for Ireland 2007 - 2012

  2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12*
Total Number of Students on Erasmus Study Mobility 1,514 1,421 1,660 1,918 1,898
Total Number on Erasmus Placements in companies 303 417 528 653 789
Total Number on Teaching Mobility 193 189 205 200 190
Total Number on non-academic Staff Mobility 18 28 38 43 74
Expenditure (€) 4,350,801 4,600,354 4,803,193 4,946,088 Not available until January 2013


* Estimated final numbers

  Budget 2012-13

In relation to the budget for 2012-13, the Irish national agency for Erasmus at the Higher Education Authority has received a pre-financing payment of €4,979,200 (79%) of the grant allocation of €6,313,000. All participating higher education institutions have received a pre-financing payment of 80% of their grant allocation. The balance of 21% of the budget is usually paid by the European Commission to the national agency in March/April of each year. On receipt of this payment, the national agency makes the final payment of 20% to the institutions.

On 26 November 2012, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth stated that:

"The situation surrounding Erasmus [and the Lifelong Learning Programme] is now very serious. Unless there is a rapid response to the request for additional funding credits for 2012 which the Commission adopted on 23 October, the Commission will start 2013 owing reimbursements of about €220 million to the national agencies for the expenses incurred in 2012. The Commission's intention was to reimburse this backlog from 2013 funds, thereby at least securing funding for current and further Erasmus mobilities in early 2013. This would, however, come at the cost of further depleting 2013 funds, setting the scene for substantial and real problems in the second half of the year."

To date, the Irish national agency is not aware of any immediately damaging impact on Irish participation levels. Should funding not be forthcoming, however, that situation could change for those currently on mobility and for those planning to travel in 2013.

School Staffing

 212. Deputy Eamonn Maloney Information on Eamonn Maloney Zoom on Eamonn Maloney asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn in relation to the staffing of small primary schools as set out in Circular 007/2012 from his Department, the number of teaching posts lost in the current school year in schools with four classroom teachers or less as a result of the change to the staffing formula for smaller schools as set out in this Circular; the number of appeals submitted by small schools under the terms of the Circular; the number of teaching posts granted back to smaller schools on appeal; the projected number of teaching posts to be lost by smaller schools in September 2013, based on school enrolments on 30 September 2012; the further revisions of the staffing formula for smaller schools for 2013-2014; and the projected number as outlined at above, broken down by school size.  [54270/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn 73 small primary schools were originally due to lose a classroom teacher in September 2012 as a result of the budget measure to increase the relevant pupil thresholds. The Staffing Appeals Board considered appeals from any of the 73 schools that could show that their projected enrolments for September 2012 were sufficient to allow them retain their classroom teacher over the longer term. 63 of these schools submitted an appeal to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. 34 appeals were refused and 29 were upheld.

Schools are currently providing their September 2012 enrolment figures to my Department. When all enrolments have been received the staffing schedule for small primary schools will be applied to these enrolments to determine the mainstream staffing of these schools for the 2013/14 school year. This process will be initiated early in 2013, however, the final staffing position for these schools will not be known until later in the year (generally Autumn) when the allocation process will be fully completed and all appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board will have been considered.

National Student Survey

 213. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the implementation of a national student satisfaction survey for third level students has been delayed by 12 months; the reason for this delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54271/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn A working group chaired by the HEA which includes institutional and student representatives has been established to oversee the introduction of the new national student survey which is being introduced as part of the reform programme. I understand that it had been planned that a pilot of the new National Student Survey would be ready to be tested during the third quarter of this year. However, more time was required to finalise the survey instrument. This further developmental work is currently underway and measures are also being taken to raise awareness of the survey among higher education institutions and students in advance of the roll out of a full scale national pilot in the first quarter of 2013.

School Enrolments

 214. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline his Department's assessment of the demographic needs for new primary and post primary schools (details supplied) in County Clare; the basis for that assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54282/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As the Deputy will be aware in June of last year I announced that up to 40 new schools are to be established up to 2017 to cater for increasing demographics across a number of locations. These consisted of twenty new primary schools and twenty new post-primary schools. This announcement did not include a proposal to establish any new school in the area referred to by the Deputy. However, the Forward Planning Section of my Department will continue to monitor enrolments in the area referred to by the Deputy to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation to meet any projected future demands.

Schools Building Projects Status

 215. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the date on which the new second level school in Greystones, County Wicklow, will open; the location of same; the number of pupils it will admit in its first year; the capacity of the school when it is fully operational; his views on whether it will be developed by its anticipated opening date; the envisaged catchment area of the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54322/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The project for Temple Carrig Secondary School Greystones has been included on the five year construction programme to progress to tender and construction in 2013. The school is scheduled to receive its first intake of students in September 2014. The school will accommodate 750 pupils when completed and will be located in Blacklion, Greystones. This school will serve the Greystones Community. It will be a matter for the school authorities to determine the number of pupils it will admit in its first year based on the applications it will receive.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 11:38:59 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page