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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 100-113
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Applications
 Header Item Budget 2013
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Schools Refurbishment
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 4

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Written Answers Nos. 100-113

Schools Building Projects Status

 100. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the stage of a proposed building project for a school (details supplied); when this project is likely to proceed to the next stage; and the likely timescale for the project to proceed to construction stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57139/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning. My Department has authorised the project to proceed to Stage 2(b) of Architectural Planning which includes application for Planning Permission, Fire Certification, Disability Access Certification (DAC) and the preparation of tender documents.  Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme announced earlier this year.

Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, including the one referred to by the Deputy, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 101. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide assurances that the increase in the pupil teacher ratio in further education from 17:1 to 19:1 will not result in a reduction of 25 whole time equivalent teaching posts across the city of Cork Vocational Education Committee. [57142/12]

 102. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his views on concerns that as a result of the high number of retirements in a college (details supplied), eight staffing positions have been placed at risk as a result of the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio in further education programmes. [57143/12]

 103. 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 his attention has been drawn to the fact that a college (details supplied) in County Cork has an increase of pupil teacher ratio of 19:1 which will mean many courses will be cancelled next year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57147/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 to 103, inclusive, together.

There are 32,688 approved PLC places available nationwide and this number of places is being maintained. Places are allocated to Vocational Education Committees (VECs), Community and Comprehensive and Voluntary Secondary schools on an annual basis following an application process and VECs are responsible for the further allocation of those places to schools and colleges under their remit. City of Cork VEC has an allocation of some 4,020 Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) places and manages the PLC centres referred to by the Deputies.

As a result of the change in the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) the VEC's allocation of PLC teaching posts will be reduced from 236 to 212, a reduction of 24. These changes will not take effect until September 2013 and the VEC has until then to plan for the reduced teaching allocation for PLC centres under its remit. While it would have been preferable not to have to make any changes, by bringing the PLC PTR into line with that of free second level schools the Government has succeeded in protecting the class sizes in primary and free second-level schools for the coming year, ensuring that our limited resources are rightly focused on the children in our education system. It will result in an estimated saving of €12 million in a full year and €4 million in 2013. There will be a reduction of some 200 PLC teaching posts as a result of this change and it may result in a reduction in the range of subjects available to students. It is now up to the CEOs of each VEC to look at the resources available to them and to work with their Principals and staff to ensure they can continue to deliver programmes which closely meet the needs of both students and employers.

Schools Building Projects Applications

 104. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the assistance that will be given to a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary who has a grant shortfall of €24,000 for a new extension; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57149/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to confirm that my Department has approved funding to the school referred to by the Deputy to provide a new mainstream classroom. The school has since applied for additional funding towards this project. This application is currently being assessed and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority as soon as this process has been completed.

Budget 2013

 105. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if there will be any cuts to funding or supports for primary or post primary schools in County Louth as a result of the spending cuts in budget 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57153/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As a result of school funding measures introduced in Budget 2012, funding for capitation and related grants to schools in 2013 will be reduced by 0.5% for primary schools and 2% for post-primary schools, including schools in County Louth. The overall saving will be achieved by a reduction in the standard capitation rates only, and other related grant rates will remain unchanged. The new standard capitation rates will be €176 for primary and €306 for post-primary.

Student Grant Scheme Application Numbers

 106. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an updated list, in tabular form, of the numbers of students in County Louth who have received from Student Universal Support Ireland payment of their third level grant or notification of when it is to be paid; the number of applications that have been received from County Louth in total; the number that have been rejected and the number that have yet to be processed. [57171/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The following table provides a breakdown of the status of student grant applications received by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) from County Louth. The data provided is at a point in time on the 18th December 2012. It gives the position for student grant applications for attendance at both further and higher education. This data has been provided to my Department by SUSI. SUSI is continuing to make payments on a weekly basis to ensure students can get paid their grant as expeditiously as possible, once they have been awarded a grant. This will continue over the holiday period, with payments on the 21st December and 28th December. Those awarded a grant must supply bank account details and confirmation of registration must be received from the institution in order for the first instalment of the grant to be paid. Payments to students awarded a "fees only" grant (either the student contribution or fees) are continuing to be made directly to the relevant institution on receipt of the appropriate invoice from the institutions concerned.

SUSI Applications - Processing position for County Louth

County
Total Applications
Awarded
Cancelled/ Refused
Appealed To SuSi
Awaiting Provisional Assessment (New applications after closing date)
With SUSI Awaiting Review (Documents Received)
Reviewed and Supporting Documents Requested
Maintenance Payments
Fees Only Payments
Louth
2,154
788*
376**
69***
7
49
865#
383
42
* This figure includes a number of applications which have been provisionally awarded and are awaiting final course acceptance forms from the student.  The figure does not include grants awarded but currently under appeal status.

** This figure does not include grants cancelled or refused that are currently under appeal status.

*** This figure includes grant applications currently under appeal status and also a number where recent decisions have been made.

# This figure includes applications for which SUSI is awaiting documentation and a small number of applications on hand with SUSI which are being checked to ensure all documentation submitted is complete.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 107. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will reassess a Student Universal Support Ireland grant application for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57267/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI, the new centralised grant awarding authority, that the application of the student referred to by the Deputy is currently under review and SUSI will notify the student directly of the outcome.

Schools Building Projects Status

 108. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update on the need for an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57273/12]

 109. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update on the need for an extension and refurbishments to a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57274/12]

 110. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update on the need for an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57275/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 108 to 110, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, my priority is to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation to meet projected pupil increases in the future. The 5 Year Plan that I announced in March last, together with my announcement last week of the 50 school projects which are scheduled for construction in 2013 as part of a €2 billion capital investment programme, outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the Plan. These have been prioritised on the basis of meeting significant demographic needs.

While the proposed project at the school will not provide for new demographic need, it will replace the school's existing temporary accommodation. Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of essential additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme announced earlier this year. School building projects currently in architectural planning, including the project referred to by the Deputy, will continue to be advanced incrementally over time within the context of the funding available. Whilst no meetings have taken place between Department officials and the school authorities since March 2011, my Department will consult with the school if the need for a meeting arises.

Schools Refurbishment

 111. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the assistance given to a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary which will no longer be in a position to meet loan repayments following the removal of the minor works grant and other cuts in the education budget; if emergency funding will be made available to assist the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57277/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As part of the expansion of the devolved scheme for primary school building works, a grant of €380,000 was sanctioned for Ayle National School to enable the Board of Management to extend and refurbish their school. The grant was later increased to €484,000 to allow the school provide a fourth classroom due to increasing enrolments. My Department recently received an application for additional funding to cover additional costs associated with the project. Further information was requested from the school authority and this has now been received and reviewed. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that additional funding has been approved and the school authority has been notified of the decision.

Schools Building Projects Status

 112. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update on the need for an extension for a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57278/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning. A meeting was held with the school and it's design team in May 2012 to discuss progress on the project. No further meetings are planned. The school has a band rating of 1.1. While Lucan is considered a developing area, the project for this school will not deliver any additional classroom accommodation in the area.

Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme announced earlier this year. Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 113. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will expedite a student grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan. [57279/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI, the new centralised grant awarding authority, that the application of the student referred to by the Deputy is currently under review and SUSI will notify the student directly of the outcome.


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