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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 205-212
 Header Item Teacher Training Provision
 Header Item Schools Data
 Header Item State Examinations Data
 Header Item Teacher Data
 Header Item Schools Mental Health Strategies
 Header Item Education and Training Provision
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Capitation Grants

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 971 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 205-212

Teacher Training Provision

 205. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his plans to make training available for principal teachers on enactment of the schools admission legislation in view of the fact that these principals will have additional responsibilities in areas such as pupil enrolment under the legislation. [29506/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Deputy will be aware that the Education Admissions to School Bill, which is currently progressing through the Seanad, aims to provide a new framework for school enrolment that is designed to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that the way in which schools decide on applications for admission is structured, fair and transparent.

The approach taken, aims to strike the right balance between school autonomy and fairness in our education system. 

In relation to the role of the school Principal, the Bill does not alter, but recognises the current position that it is the school Principal who normally implements the school’s admission policy.  The Bill also provides for regulations to be made in relation to a number of key aspects of school admission.  In that regard, the Bill requires the Minister to consult with the education stakeholders, including management bodies and teacher unions, prior to the making of such regulations. Over and above the requirements of the Bill, the Department will also be consulting and engaging with both the IPPN and NAPD as representatives of primary and post-primary school Principals. This consultative process will help ensure that any concerns in relation to the implementation of the legislation can be taken account of and that the resulting regulations are as practical and straightforward as possible to operate for Principals, schools and for parents.

Schools Data

 206. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of students on roll in the 20 smallest schools; if his Department takes responsibility to manage school amalgamations in circumstances in which enrolment trends are declining and unlikely to recover; and the steps he will take in this regard. [29507/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The position in relation to enrolments at the 20 smallest schools in the country, four of which are island schools, is set out in the table.

  In respect of two of the schools listed, the Patron of the schools concerned has taken a decision to close the schools from the end of the 2017/18 school year.

  In respect of a 3rd school, following engagement with the school’s patron, approval has been granted by my Department to its amalgamation with another local school. A 4th school was established in September 2017 and it is anticipated that enrolments will increase. In respect of other schools listed, my Department will continue to engage with the Patron's of these schools where appropriate.

  I can confirm to the Deputy that the decision making authority for school amalgamations belongs to the Patron/Trustees of a school, and this is subject to the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills. Any proposed changes involves extensive negotiations at local level and must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of students, parents, teachers, local communities and contributes to an inclusive education system.

  The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment that no small school will close without the consent of parents.

Year Roll no. Name Address Address Address Address Eircode Enrolment per return
2017 13174H ST COLUMBAS N.S. INISHTURK CO GALWAY   Mayo H91YNP3 2
2017 14111L CROSS N S KILRUSH CO CLARE   Clare V15TW83 2
2017 16817P BRANNOXTOWN N S BRANNOCKSTOWN Naas CO KILDARE Kildare W91NY67 2
2017 18100D LISGRIFFIN N S GOLEEN SKIBBEREEN CO CORK Cork P81XE40 2
2017 10568N S N CUIBHREANN CILL CHAOI CO AN CHLAIR   Clare V15RT73 3
2017 16630W CEARA N S BONNICONLON BALLINA CO MAYO Mayo F26E782 3
2017 16982H S N ATH EASCRACH CHUAIN BEAL ATHA NA SLUAGH CO NA GAILLIMHE   Galway H53FK35 4
2017 20502M Scoil Sinead NS Scoil Sinead Pelletstown C/O ETNS Broombridge Bannow Road Dublin D07TD93 4
2017 14865Q KILLOCRANN N S CASTLEHILL BALLINA   Mayo F26HF78 7
2017 18818E S N NAOMH IOSAF LEITIR CASTLEBAR CO MAYO Mayo F23RY60 8
2017 16173U KINAFFE N S SWINFORD CO MAYO   Mayo F12FW71 9
2017 16379R VALLEY N S DUGORT ACHILL CO MAYO Mayo F28HY27 9
2017 05348S SCOIL EOIN TAHILLA SNEEM CO. KERRY Kerry V93D735 10
2017 12339I S N INIS MEADHOIN Inis Meáin Oileann Árainn Co. na Gaillimhe Galway H91P892 10
2017 15948C CLOLOGUE N S CLOLOGUE CAMOLIN ENNISCORTHY Wexford Y21NY10 10
2017 17365L Two Mile Community National School CILL AIRNE CO CHIARRAI   Kerry V93WD82 10
2017 04054T BALLINDANGAN MIXED N S Ballindangan Mitchelstown   Cork P67EW90 11
2017 05164I SCOIL NAOMH CHOLMCILLE OILEAN THORAI AN BHUN BHIG CO DHUN NA NGALL Donegal F92XV52 11
2017 11943S BALLINLOUGH N S BALLINLOUGH CO ROSCOMMON   Roscommon F45RY86 11
2017 12633I COOLMEEN N S COOLMEEN KILMURRY MCMAHON KILRUSH Clare V15KR50 11

State Examinations Data

 207. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of persons required overall in recent years and to date in 2018 to correct papers and to assess projects in the State examinations; and the proportion of these persons who were registered teachers. [29508/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations.

  In view of this I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply to you

Teacher Data

 208. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of teachers who in the most recent years for which statistics are available were in receipt of a principal teacher’s allowance throughout one school year and on the payroll but not in receipt of such an allowance in the subsequent school year; and if his attention has been drawn to evidence of greater numbers of principal teachers relinquishing their roles and links between this and increased regulatory and other administrative responsibilities. [29509/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Principal teachers are employed by the managerial authorities of their schools and the information required for their payment on payrolls operated by my Department is provided by them.  The information is provided on standardised forms which are completed by authorized representatives in the school.

A Data Protection Privacy Statement is included on these forms. The Data Statement outlines that the main purpose for which my Department requires the personal data provided is the payment of wages. It is also required for the payment of pension at retirement.

The information is retained on databases to ensure the correct payment of the teaching staff paid by my Department and employed in the schools on an ongoing basis.

The information requested by the Deputy could only be obtained from these databases. A statistical analysis of the aggregated data requested for voluntary secondary community and comprehensive schools indicated that less than one per cent of individuals who continued in teaching were paid the allowance in one school year and not in the next.

Schools Mental Health Strategies

 209. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the steps he has taken to promote teacher well-being; and if such measures will be augmented in view of international concerns regarding the importance of teacher well-being to a high quality education service. [29510/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for teachers. The aim of this strategy is to promote the health of teachers in the workplace, with a focus primarily on prevention rather than cure. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises of the Employee Assistance & Wellbeing Programme (EAWP) and the Occupational Health Service (OHS) for teachers. 

  The EAWP is a free confidential service available to teachers and their immediate family members.  It is accessible by means of a Freephone dedicated helpline which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing counselling on a range of personal health and wellbeing issues given by qualified clinicians. Up to 6 face-to-face counselling sessions are available to provide supportive and solution-focused care based on an individual’s clinical needs. 

  The OHS is in place to assist employers in carrying out their duty under Section 8 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to “ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees”.  In order to discharge these management responsibilities effectively and efficiently, it is essential that employers have access to professional occupational health advice on medical fitness for work.  The OHS encompasses health management and incorporates pre-employment health assessments, sickness absence management referrals, medical assessments of fitness for work and ill health retirement assessments and appeals.

  My Department regularly reviews the current Occupational Health Strategy with the partners in education to ensure best practice in early intervention   and prevention for supporting positive occupational health and wellbeing.  

Education and Training Provision

 210. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the status of the agreed apprentice school at a site (details supplied) in County Kildare; and the possibility of partnering the school with Carlow Institute of Technology. [29535/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan Further Education and Training (FET) provision, including apprenticeship training, is planned at a national level by SOLAS.  Applications for funding for FET are made to SOLAS by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) as part of the overall FET planning process. It is a matter for the management of each ETB to decide on the allocation of funding to FET programmes and to schools and colleges within their area. 

As part of its role in providing further education and training options for learners in the region KWETB works closely with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the local partnership, enterprise and Institutes of Technology (including Carlow) in relation to opportunities and progression routes for learners.

I understand from KWETB that while exploratory discussions took place between Kildare County Council (KCC) and KWETB in 2016 and 2017 no formal arrangements were agreed in relation to the Model School in Athy.  KWETB have indicated that they would welcome a meeting with KCC to discuss the matter further.

Schools Building Projects Status

 211. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the status of the extension for a school (details supplied) in County Kildare. [29536/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Deputy will be aware that a building project for the school in question is included on my Department's 6 Year Construction Programme.

I wish to inform the Deputy that the project is progressing to the architectural planning stage and is expected to be delivered by an external agency to my Department. Arrangements are currently being made in this regard and my Department will be in further contact with the school when these arrangements have been finalised.

Capitation Grants

 212. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if the capitation grant will be restored to €200 per pupil for primary schools; if this will be considered for budget 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29541/18]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools, including primary schools, having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years.

Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education and I remain committed to achieving this. However, I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures and prioritise where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the education sector in any one year. In that regard it is critical that any additional resources that are available in the education sector are utilised in such a way as to maximise teaching and learning outcomes. 

The Deputy will be aware that Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe within a decade.  In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education increased by €554 million to over €10 billion. Through budget 2017 and Budget 2018, we are now investing €1 billion more in education.

Improvements have been made for the restoration of grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff.  The ancillary grant was increased by €6 in 2016, €5 in 2017 and €5 in 2018, in order to enable primary schools to implement the arbitration salary increase for grant funded school secretaries and caretakers and to also implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of FEMPI legislation. 


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