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Dolan, Aisling, Dillon, Alan , Hoey, Annie, Ward, Barry, Leddin, Brian, Berry, Cathal , Crowe, Cathal, O'Sullivan, Christopher, O'Callaghan, Cian, Kerrane, Claire, Devlin, Cormac, O'Rourke, Darren, Smith, Duncan, Flynn, Eileen, McCallion , Elisha, Currie, Emer, Higgins, Emer, McGreehan, Erin, Duffy, Francis Noel, Ahearn, Garret, Gannon, Gary, Cairns, Holly, O'Connor, James, Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer, Whitmore, Jennifer , Flaherty, Joe , Cummins, John, McGahon , John, Guirke, Johnny , Mythen, Johnny, Boylan, Lynn, Farrell, Mairéad , Noonan, Malcolm, Ó Cathasaigh, Marc, Sherlock, Marie, Wall, Mark, Browne, Martin, Fitzpatrick, Mary, Seery Kearney, Mary, Carthy, Matt, Shanahan, Matt, Carrigy, Micheál, Hourigan, Neasa, Foley, Norma, Crowe, Ollie, Smyth, Ossian, Daly, Pa, Ryan, Patricia , Costello, Patrick, Donnelly, Paul, O'Reilly, Pauline, Tully, Pauline , McAuliffe, Paul , Cronin, Réada, Moynihan, Rebecca, O'Donoghue, Richard, O'Gorman, Roderic, Garvey, Róisín, Ó Murchú, Ruairí, Keogan, Sharon, Clarke, Sorca, Matthews, Steven , Gould, Thomas, Murphy, Verona, Martin, Vincent P., Wynne, Violet-Anne

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


State Examinations

Was asked: if she will respond to a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a result of COVID-19, which prevented the State from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. The purpose o...More Button

The system is underpinned by key principles of objectivity, equity and fairness. For the Calculated Grades system to be operated with integrity, and to ensure fairness to all students, an estimat...More Button

There are two particular groups of students who may not have been able to receive Calculated Grades and they will already have been advised of this during August 2020:More Button

- students who were enrolled in full-time education but were studying an extra subject(s) outside the school;More Button

- external students who were not enrolled in full-time education and are regarded as out-of-school learners. These would include home-schooled students.More Button

In cases where a student was attending school, but was studying one or more subjects outside of school, school principals were asked to make every effort to provide an estimated percentage mark f...More Button

Out of school learners had to apply directly to the CGEO for Calculated Grades. Of the total of 929 students in the category of out-of-school learner it was possible to provide calculated grades...More Button

Was asked: if students who sits the leaving certificate in November can elect to sit the exams in a school or educational setting in their area that are facilitating the November exams but are not the schools...More Button

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...More Button

Was asked: if an appeal by a person (details supplied) regarding the leaving certificate will be investigated.More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. In the...More Button

The process of national standardisation, which forms a key part of the Calculated Grades process, was applied to the information provided by schools in order to ensure comparability between the s...More Button

These adjustments resulted in the school estimates of subject percentage marks staying the same or being revised upwards or downwards. The standardisation process operated on the premise that the...More Button

A standardising process happens every year and would have happened in 2020 had the Leaving Certificate examinations been run as normal. In the system of calculated grades, the standardisation pr...More Button

Following standardisation, the estimated percentage mark was converted to a calculated mark and subsequently, a calculated grade which was provided to students on 7 September. It is only at this ...More Button

Therefore, it is not accurate to state that student(s) were downgraded, or upgraded, through the standardisation process. Rather the grade that was awarded following the standardisation process ...More Button

The overall data on school estimated marks showed that there was a very significant rise in estimated grades against what would normally be achieved nationally. This level of grade increase based...More Button

While some students will be disappointed at the results they have achieved, this is the case every year when the Leaving Certificate results are published. It may be more difficult for students t...More Button

The appeals process for Calculated Grades was open to students who were disappointed with the Calculated Grades they received in one or more subjects. In addition, students had the option to regi...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the case of persons (details supplied); if she will investigate the case to ensure all procedures were correctly followed; and if she will make a statement on the...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a result of COVID-19, which prevented the State from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. The purpose o...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); if she will investigate the case to ensure all procedures were correctly followed; and if she will make a statement on th...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. In the...More Button

The process of national standardisation, which forms a key part of the Calculated Grades process, was applied to the information provided by schools in order to ensure comparability between the s...More Button

These adjustments resulted in the school estimates of subject percentage marks staying the same or being revised upwards or downwards. The standardisation process operated on the premise that the...More Button

A standardising process happens every year and would have happened in 2020 had the Leaving Certificate examinations been run as normal. In the system of calculated grades, the standardisation pr...More Button

Following standardisation, the estimated percentage mark was converted to a calculated mark and subsequently, a calculated grade which was provided to students on 7 September. It is only at this ...More Button

Therefore, it is not accurate to state that student(s) were downgraded, or upgraded, through the standardisation process. Rather the grade that was awarded following the standardisation process ...More Button

The overall data on school estimated marks showed that there was a very significant rise in estimated grades against what would normally be achieved nationally. This level of grade increase based...More Button

While some students will be disappointed at the results they have achieved, this is the case every year when the Leaving Certificate results are published. It may be more difficult for students t...More Button

The appeals process for Calculated Grades was open to students who were disappointed with the Calculated Grades they received in one or more subjects. In addition, students had the option to regi...More Button

Was asked: if she will consider extending the deadline for leaving certificate appeals in view of the calculated grade errors; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Calculated Grades Student Portal reopened on 14 September to allow students to view their estimated percentage marks and calculated marks and to submit an appeal for any of their Calculated Gra...More Button

The appeals process is a process review focussed on looking for errors in the transmission and processing of student data through the process. It is not possible to appeal the information (estim...More Button

At the time of closing the appeal application process on Wednesday 16 September, some 12,300 students had appealed almost 33,700 grades. More Button

The appeals process is continuing as normal following the announcements on 30 September and 03 October regarding errors found in the Calculated Grades model. This applies whether or not a student...More Button

The results of Stage 1 and 2 appeals will be made available in the coming days. More Button

The third stage of the appeals process, on option to have the process reviewed by independent appeal scrutineers, will commence after the release of Stage 1 and Stage 2 appeals results. It is no...More Button

The CAO will be automatically notified by the Department of the outcomes of the appeals process.More Button

If, as a result of an upgrade, a student becomes eligible for a college place at a higher CAO preference than the one they were already offered, they will be eligible for that course.More Button

It is not possible to guarantee at this stage that, following a successful appeal, a student will be able to take up such a place offered in the academic year 2020/21. This depends on factors suc...More Button

Was asked: the date the lines of code containing the error in the context of the leaving certificate calculated grades model were last edited; and if further oversight and tests were carried out by the nation...More Button

Was asked: the number of lines of original code, excluding code contained within imported libraries, written by a company (details supplied); if all code was written uniquely for her Department or formed part...More Button

Was asked: the programming languages used by a company (details supplied) in developing the system used for calculated grades.More Button

Was asked: if the leaving certificate calculated grades code was written entirely by a person (details supplied); and if there was an oversight of their work within the company.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 234, inclusive, together.

  The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a result of COVID-19, which prevented ...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) retired from an organisation or associated third party institute or foundation; and her views on whether it is proper in view of the person's close relationship wit...More Button

My Department appointed Dr. Kentaro Yamamoto to the Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades National Standardisation Group in an expert role which included a level of contingency cover for the compan...More Button

Prior to his retirement in May 2020, Dr. Yamamoto was Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Assessment in Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Research & Development Division in Princeton, NJ. ...More Button

Dr. Yamamoto had no role in the review conducted by ETS regarding the error in the coding for Calculated Grades. More Button

Was asked: the positive factors which led to the choosing of a company (details supplied) to supply the leaving certificate calculated grading model; and if there was work of a similar purpose, or with a simi...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations.More Button

As part of initial contingency planning for the Leaving Certificate 2020, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) procured international expertise through Polymetrika International Inc. (PII). PI...More Button

Mr Cartwright’s extensive experience, expertise and unique set of skills, coupled with his knowledge of the Irish education system, were the reasons he was originally approached by the SEC. Othe...More Button

Polymetrika played an integral part of the development and running of the Calculated Grades model, and as such the contract for Polymetrika was extended to implement the Calculated Grades model. ...More Button

Was asked: the level of oversight applied over the calculated grading formula; if all previous testing was replicated after it was amended to remove any aspect of school profiling in the days before the resul...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. A rang...More Button

Was asked: if the bonus for completing leaving certificate exams through Irish was taken into consideration when the algorithm was being applied to give calculated grades to students from Gaelscoileanna; and ...More Button

Circular letter 0037/2020, ‘Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 - Guide for Schools on Providing Estimated Percentage Marks and Class Rank Orderings’, which was published on 21 May, set ...More Button

This included guidance to schools that, in arriving at an estimated percentage mark in the case of students who were entered to take their examinations through Irish, the teacher should base her/...More Button

Was asked: the exact guidelines the schools applied to predict grades and ranking; if this was properly proofed; if this includes the junior certificate for 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a result of COVID-19, which prevented the State from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. The purpose o...More Button

Was asked: the date on which the appeals process for leaving certificate 2020 students will be complete and all results available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the 2020 leaving certificate appeals process was closed before all errors in the grading mechanisms were identified; if so, if students will have another opportunity to appeal decisions in the w...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 249 and 251 together.

  The Calculated Grades Student Portal reopened on 14 September to allow students to view their estimated percentage marks ...More Button

Was asked: if she is satisfied that all instances in which students were incorrectly marked for the 2020 leaving certificate have been identified; the number of those affected; if the CAO rounds of offers wer...More Button

The Leaving Certificate system has a well-established practice of not reducing the marks or grades of students who have not appealed their results, but who through an appeal by another student or o...More Button

In keeping with that principle, and mindful of the fact that the mistake was not the students’ mistake, students who received higher grades as a result of the errors in the Calculated Grades syst...More Button

The CAO system operates on behalf of the higher education institutions solely on the basis of the Leaving Certificate results that candidates have been awarded. More Button

Therefore, the CAO cannot differentiate within the group of candidates with the 2020 Leaving Certificate, just as the CAO cannot treat a 2019 Leaving Certificate candidate differently from a 2020...More Button

There has been an increase in the numbers of available places in colleges this year so that improved CAO offers can be made to all candidates who benefitted from upgraded Leaving Certificate res...More Button

Of the 485 candidates who received improved CAO offers last week, some of them will move from one course to another and this will create the potential for further offers to other candidates in su...More Button

  Question No. 251 answered with Question No. 249.More Button

Was asked: the dates on which the first calculated grades were made in relation to the 2020 leaving certificate results; the date on which the rounds of CAO offers were made; the date on which errors were dis...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations.
More Button

Was asked: if she will address the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a direct result of COVID-19, which prevented the state from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. In the...More Button

The process of national standardisation, which forms a key part of the Calculated Grades process, was applied to the information provided by schools in order to ensure comparability between the s...More Button

These adjustments resulted in the school estimates of subject percentage marks staying the same or being revised upwards or downwards. The standardisation process operated on the premise that the...More Button

A standardising process happens every year and would have happened in 2020 had the Leaving Certificate examinations been run as normal. In the system of calculated grades, the standardisation p...More Button

Following standardisation, the estimated percentage mark was converted to a calculated mark and subsequently, a calculated grade which was provided to students on 7 September. It is only at this ...More Button

Therefore, it is not accurate to state that student(s) were downgraded, or upgraded, through the standardisation process. Rather the grade that was awarded following the standardisation process ...More Button

The overall data on school estimated marks showed that there was a very significant rise in estimated grades against what would normally be achieved nationally. This level of grade increase based...More Button

While some students will be disappointed at the results they have achieved, this is the case every year when the Leaving Certificate results are published. It may be more difficult for students t...More Button

The appeals process for Calculated Grades was open to students who were disappointed with the Calculated Grades they received in one or more subjects. In addition, students had the option to regi...More Button

Was asked: the date on which the results of the leaving certificate calculated grading appeals will be known.More Button

The Calculated Grades Student Portal reopened on 14 September to allow students to view their estimated percentage marks and calculated marks and to submit an appeal for any of their Calculated Gra...More Button

  Question No. 271 answered with Question No. 262.More Button

Was asked: if an organisation (details supplied) or another independent body will carry out a full audit of the coding provided by a company for the leaving certificate 2020 calculated grades process followin...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a result of COVID-19, which prevented the State from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations this year. The...More Button

Education Testing Services (ETS) was appointed to carry out an audit of a sampling of the coding following the discovery of two coding errors. This work needed to be carried out within a very sh...More Button

On 3 October, I announced that I had asked that an independent comprehensive review of the design and implementation of the Calculated Grades process should take place when the process is complet...More Button

The full scope of the review will be clearly set out in advance.More Button

Was asked: the timeline for leaving certificate appeals; the timeline for dealing with administrative errors; the options available for students whose position is not improved on appeal; and the capacity of t...More Button

The Calculated Grades Student Portal reopened on 14 September to allow students to view their estimated percentage marks and calculated marks and to submit an appeal for any of their Calculated Gra...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide a breakdown by gender of the calculated grades process in cases in which students had their predicted grades downgraded and upgraded subsequently; if she will provide a similar ...More Button

The decision to adopt a model of Calculated Grades by my Department was a result of COVID-19, which prevented the State from running the conventional Leaving Certificate Examinations. The purpose o...More Button

Schools provided an estimated percentage mark and a rank order for each student’s subjects. The process of national standardisation was applied to the school information in order to ensure compa...More Button

These adjustments resulted in the school estimates staying the same or being revised upwards or downwards. The standardisation process operated on the premise that the school estimates should onl...More Button

The degree to which mark changes occurred related to the degree of over or underestimation in the school estimates for each subject and each level. This means that some students experienced mark...More Button

Following standardisation, the estimated percentage mark was converted to a calculated mark and subsequently, a calculated grade which was provided to students on 7 September. It is only at this ...More Button

Therefore, it is not accurate to state that student(s) were downgraded, or upgraded, through the standardisation process. Rather the grade that was awarded following the standardisation process ...More Button

The statistical model used was blind to demographic characteristics either at the level of the student or the school. The standardisation process means that the same standard has been applied u...More Button

While the datasets used to generate Calculated Grades do include certain demographic information, this demographic information was not used as part of the process of generating the calculated gra...More Button

Following the issue of the outcomes of the appeals of Calculated Grades, my Department will be arranging to update the national statistics for the 2020 Leaving Certificate (Calculated Grades) res...More Button

Departmental Programmes

Was asked: the status of the future building programme; the works scheduled to be carried out under the programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department has a large pipeline of projects for delivery under the school building programme currently involving 373 large-scale projects and circa. 800 projects for delivery under the Departme...More Button

The current status of projects being delivered is listed on a county by county basis on the Department’s website at www.education.ie. The website is updated on a monthly basis to reflect their pr...More Button

Public Sector Staff

Was asked: if injury at work leave will be provided to teachers; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of an occupational injury scheme for teachers is the subject of a claim brought by the Teacher Unions to the Teachers' Conciliation Council. Discussions are taking place under the aus...More Button

Student Support Schemes

Was asked: if funding and resources will be provided to enable schools to provide for students who need access to technology and the internet outside of the classroom; if her attention has been drawn in parti...More Button

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020, sets out a plan to embed the use of digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment, and affirms that the use of digital technology can enhance t...More Button

This funding can be focussed on assisting schools to address ICT needs including the purchase of devices, software and infrastructural solutions to support the provision of remote learning, inclu...More Button

Schools have been advised of direct drawdown mechanisms for the purchase of laptops. HEAnet operates an aggregated order process on its Single Provider Framework with Dell, while Datapac also do ...More Button

The Professional Development Service for Teachers Technology in Education (PDST-TIE) offers advice and supports to schools on digital learning. Advice sheets are available on digital technology i...More Button

Separately, and through the Schools Broadband Access Programme, my Department provides for improved ICT infrastructure for the supply of internet connectivity for all recognised primary and post ...More Button

It is recognised of course that poor access to home broadband does present challenges for the education system in the current crisis. With this in mind, schools have been asked to consider the ne...More Button

The National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) published by the Department of Justice and Equality provides the framework and strategic direction for interventions across a range of Gover...More Button

School Curriculum

Was asked: if she will address a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A specification for the new Leaving Certificate Computer Science (LCCS) subject was introduced on a phased basis in September 2018, to be offered by schools as an additional optional subject. The s...More Button

School Transport

Was asked: the number of post primary school transport ticket holders in County Kerry for each academic year since 2015 to 2020-21, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education.

  In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over ...More Button

Was asked: if school transport will be provided in the case of persons (details supplied).More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with sp...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest schoo...More Button

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year wh...More Button

Bus Eireann has confirmed that both children of the first family to which the Deputy refers are attending their closest school and are eligible for school transport. Payment for the family was re...More Button

Bus Éireann has also confirmed that the child of the second family referred to by the Deputy is not attending his closest school and is therefore not eligible for transport. Payment was received ...More Button

Late applicants and/or families who pay late are not guaranteed a seat and will only be allocated a seat if capacity is available once seats are allocated to those families who applied and paid o...More Button

Given the health advice which my Department received from NPHET, my Department and Bus Éireann are presently focused on achieving 50% capacity across post-primary school transport services. The t...More Button

Was asked: if school transport will be provided to three siblings in County Mayo (details supplied).More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with sp...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.More Button

Under the terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8kms from and are attending their nearest Post Primary Sc...More Button

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year wh...More Button

Payment was made, by the family to whom the Deputy refers to, on the 7th September 2020 and as such, their payment was late. More Button

Late applicants and/or families who pay late are not guaranteed a seat and will only be allocated a seat if capacity is available once seats are allocated to those families who applied and paid o...More Button

In addition, payments or submission of medical card details for Post-Primary seats completed or made after 4th August 2020 will be only considered when 50% capacity, required by new Covid19 publi...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 519 of 29 September 2020, when a person (details supplied) will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with sp...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.More Button

Under the terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8kms from and are attending their nearest Post Primary Sc...More Button

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year wh...More Button

Bus Éireann have advised that the pupil the Deputy refers to first applied and paid for school transport for the 2020/21 school year on the 8th September 2020 and as such their payment is late. More Button

Late applicants and/or families who pay late are not guaranteed a seat and will only be allocated a seat if capacity is available once seats are allocated to those families who applied and paid o...More Button

Given the health advice which my Department received from NPHET, my Department and Bus Éireann are presently focused on achieving 50% capacity across post-primary school transport services. The t...More Button

Was asked: the number of applicants for school transport that are now availing of the stipend for private travel by county in tabular form.More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with s...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest schoo...More Button

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/2021 school year ...More Button

My Department has been engaging intensively with Bus Éireann in regard to the logistics for the safe operation of School Transport Scheme services for the 2020/2021 school year. My Department has...More Button

My Department is engaging with Bus Éireann in respect of these plans, in order to implement measures so that any post-primary services that could operate from the start of the school year at 50% ...More Button

I am pleased to advise that Government has agreed to provide the necessary funding to ensure that full implementation of the public health recommendation of running buses for post-primary childre...More Button

For those children who are eligible for transport under the terms of the post-primary school transport scheme and whose parents decide not to use post-primary transport for the 2020/2021 school yea...More Button

I can advise that, to date, my Department has contacted 336 families of mainstream eligible children to confirm their request and to outline next steps in regard to availing of this grant. My De...More Button

Was asked: the status of school bus services; her views on reports of the cancellation of services by Dublin Bus for a number of schools including a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement...More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. More Button

In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-prima...More Button

My Department is aware that Dublin Bus has cancelled a number of services that operated in the main to serve certain schools in the greater Dublin area. These services were operated separately by...More Button

My Department understands that Dublin Bus has written individually to each affected school, explaining the rationale for the discontinuation of the services and outlining alternative transport op...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 520 of 29 September 2020, the reason persons (details supplied) have not been facilitated with school transport; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with s...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.More Button

Under the terms of the Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nea...More Button

Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable lev...More Button

Home pick-ups are not a general feature of the Primary or Post Primary Schemes. Where practicable, and subject to considerations of cost and logistics, routes are planned to avoid an eligible chi...More Button

Bus Éireann have advised that the service the Deputy refers to has been reviewed and changes have been implemented taking all pupils on the route into consideration. More Button

  Question No. 266 answered with Question No. 262.More Button

Was asked: the reason a larger bus is not being provided to accommodate children in the case of children attending a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with sp...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.More Button

Under the terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8kms from and are attending their nearest Post Primary Sc...More Button

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year wh...More Button

Pupils residing in the area mentioned by the Deputy are eligible for school transport to Post Primary Centre referenced by the Deputy. There is a school transport service available to families, t...More Button

The Department has been engaging intensively with Bus Éireann in regard to the logistics for the safe operation of School Transport Scheme services for the 2020/2021 school year. The Department h...More Button

The implementation of 50% capacity has been put in place where possible over the last number of weeks, while Bus Éireann has been carrying out a detailed analysis of the resources required to ful...More Button

  Question No. 277 answered with Question No. 230.More Button

Was asked: the date on which school transport will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with sp...More Button

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest schoo...More Button

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year wh...More Button

Bus Eireann have confirmed, that the child to whom the Deputy refers, is eligible for School Transport. However, the application and payment for School Transport were both received on 9th Septemb...More Button

Late applicants and/or families who pay late are not guaranteed a seat and will only be allocated a seat if capacity is available once seats are allocated to those families who applied and paid o...More Button

In the event of not securing a ticket where no capacity exists, or on cancellation, a full refund will be issued.More Button

Third Level Admissions

Was asked: the number of students who did not receive an offer for a place on the course on their CAO applications due to places on such courses being offered to students who received inflated grades resultin...More Button

The Leaving Certificate system has a well-established practice of not reducing the marks or grades of students who have not appealed their results, but who through an appeal by another student or o...More Button

In keeping with that principle, and mindful of the fact that the mistake was not the students’ mistake, students who received higher grades as a result of the errors in the Calculated Grades syst...More Button

The CAO system operates on behalf of the higher education institutions solely on the basis of the Leaving Certificate results that candidates have been awarded. More Button

Therefore, the CAO cannot differentiate within the group of candidates with the 2020 Leaving Certificate, just as the CAO cannot treat a 2019 Leaving Certificate candidate differently from a 2020...More Button

There has been an increase in the numbers of available places in colleges this year so that improved CAO offers can be made to all candidates who benefitted from upgraded Leaving Certificate resu...More Button

Of the 485 candidates who received improved CAO offers last week, some of them will move from one course to another and this will create the potential for further offers to other candidates in su...More Button

School Staff

Was asked: if she will examine the case of a school (details supplied).More Button

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school ...More Button

There is no change to the mainstream staffing of the school referred to by the Deputy in the current school year. More Button

The staffing schedule for 2021/22 will be published early next year and at that stage, schools will be able to establish their staffing for that school year.More Button

Was asked: if she will address a matter regarding a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30th Se...More Button

However, the staffing arrangements for primary schools also includes the provision whereby schools experiencing rapid increases in enrolment can apply for additional permanent mainstream posts on...More Button

The school referred to by the Deputy was allocated a teaching post on developing grounds, but has not achieved the required enrolment on 30th September.More Button

The staffing process includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, including a specific one for developing schools, to an independent Appeals Board...More Button

Was asked: the progress being made in regard to the issue of school secretaries pay inequality; the date on which an acceptable proposal will be put forward; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am keenly aware of the vital role contributed by school secretaries within school communities and I recognise the very important work done by these staff, and the other support staff in the runni...More Button

In recognition of their role, I have put special arrangements in place for the coming school year whereby schools will be funded to employ a replacement secretary or caretaker in the event that s...More Button

On foot of a Chairman’s Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department implemented the 2015 recommendations of an independent arbitrator. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase...More Button

Fórsa trade union has tabled a follow-on claim from the 2015 agreement. Officials from my Department,the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and School Management Bodies met with Fórsa on...More Button

I am very keen that all parties resume meaningful discussion in the WRC with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution. In that respect, I have asked my officials to examine closely pay i...More Button

The WRC process remains ongoing and I support the continued engagement between all parties in an effort to reach a mutually acceptable solution. More Button

Was asked: if she will examine the case of a provisional teacher allocation to a school (details supplied).More Button

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30th Se...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application by a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school ...More Button

Schools Building Projects

Was asked: the status of a building for a school (details supplied).More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has acquired a greenfield site for the construction of permanent accommodation for the school in question. More Button

My Department's architectural staff have recently undertaken a technical visit to the site in the context of the scoping exercise associated with the development of the new school. The outcome of...More Button

Was asked: the status of the progression of the building of a secondary school in Ballincollig, County Cork.More Button

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the Department will be devolving the delivery of the project for the school to which he refers to Cork Educational Training Board (CETB).More Button

The next step in that respect is for CETB to enter into a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Department. Once this is in place, CETB will then proceed with the appointment of a design team...More Button

Was asked: her plans regarding a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

 &nb...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 674 of 30 July 2020, the status of the new school on the Mercy Convent site in Naas, County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Board of Management of Mercy Convent School has been through the formal dispute resolution process resulting in April of this year of the termination of the obligation of the Main Contractor to...More Button

Was asked: the amount due in respect of subcontractors who are due outstanding payment for works carried out at a school project (details supplied) in County Kildare; the number of subcontracts affected by th...More Button

A building project is a complex arrangement of contractual relationships between the client, the main contractor, specialist sub-contractors, domestic sub-contractors, suppliers of materials, suppl...More Button

In general all sub-contractors employed on education sector building projects are employed directly by the Main Contractor or indirectly by the Main Contractor through other sub-contractors. It i...More Button

The Board of Management of Mercy Convent School, with the support and advice of my Department, has been through the formal dispute resolution process under the Public Works Contract resulting in...More Button

The specific issue of payments to subcontractors raised by the Deputy are contractual matters between those sub-contractors and the main contractor. More Button

The Construction Contracts Act 2013 provides statutory arrangements for payments under construction contracts. The 2013 Act provides certain protections for companies and individuals, including s...More Button

The amount paid in site security to date is €296,176. This and other costs associated with the completion of the school will be set against the Bond when project is completed.More Button

Was asked: the status of a new building for a school (details supplied); to appraise recent developments; her plans to bring this project to fruition; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The major building project for the new school referred to by the Deputy has recently been authorised to issue Letter of Acceptance to the preferred bidder.

  Subject to no issues...More Button

Was asked: the status of a new building for a school (details supplied); her plans to appraise recent developments; her plans to bring this project to fruition; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan. The project i...More Button

School Libraries

Was asked: if she will reinstate the school library fund; the amount of funding allocated to the fund in its final full year; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An arrangement was made through An Chomhairle Leabharlanna in 1971, whereby the local authority librarians would provide services for schools. At that time my Department made a grant available for...More Button

The amount of the grant payable to each local authority was based on the number of pupils in the relevant area and amounted to €4.52 per pupil. This is a relatively small amount in terms of the c...More Button

The expenditure in 2008, which was the final year that funding was allocated, was €2.2mMore Button

The decision in the October 2008 budget to discontinue the funding that the Department made available to local authorities to support school library services was made against the backdrop of a ve...More Button

As the Deputy is aware there are many competing demands for the available funding across the entire Education Sector including the need to increase capitation funding for schools and to continue ...More Button

Autism Support Services

Was asked: if she will increase the number of autism spectrum disorder places in primary schools, with particular emphasis on south County Dublin which is suffering a shortage; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: her plans to publish an autism strategy for Limerick city; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the list of schools in Limerick city with ASD units with students in them; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the list of schools in Newport, County Tipperary with ASD units with students in them in Limerick city; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her plans to support children with autism that are suffering due to the lack of ASD units in primary schools in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her plans to support children with autism that are suffering due to the lack of ASD units in secondary schools in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: her plans to provide ASD units to secondary schools and feeder schools in Limerick city.More Button

Was asked: her plans to provide ASD units to secondary schools and feeder schools in Newport, County Tipperary.More Button

School Management

Was asked: the status of members of boards of management members for both primary and secondary schools in view of the escalation of restrictions to level 3; if boards can meet during the current level 3 rest...More Button

Was asked: if school boards will be allowed to meet in person in line with social distancing guidelines in appropriately sized venues in order to discuss sensitive matters.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 230 and 277 together.More Button

Boards of Management should continue to meet remotely. Alternative solutions are required to meet and operate and make important decisions in relation to the functioning of the schools. The Governa...More Button

This is not necessarily restricted to the use of phones. Other on-line media platforms can be considered once the board is satisfied that appropriate security measures are in place to protect con...More Button

Departmental Data

Was asked: the location the servers that hosted data relating to leaving certificate calculated grades is or are based; the company that hosts same; and if the site portal had an up-to-date SSL certificate at...More Button

On registration for the Calculated Grades Student Portal, students were linked to a Privacy Notice for Students - Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 in light of the postponement of t...More Button

Special Educational Needs

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 203 and 204 of 20 May 2020, her plans to address the shortage of special class places in areas of County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School Textbooks

Was asked: if she will issue best practice guidelines to teachers on the best way to approach textbooks that contain racist language or racial slurs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The role of the school is to provide an appropriate education for all its pupils. A stable, secure learning environment is an essential requirement to achieve this goal. Schools have autonomy in ...More Button

While respecting schools' autonomy, my Department has introduced a number of measures to assist schools as they become more inclusive of all cultures and ethnicities, celebrate diversity and chal...More Button

My Department continues to address the areas of anti-racism, identity-based bullying and cultural awareness through a suite of supports including the recently revised ‘Stay Safe Programme’ and wi...More Button

In addition to the supports already available to teachers through current CPD programmes, the Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) History team are planning a number of continuous professional develop...More Button

My Department's ‘Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice (2019)' acknowledges that schools provide opportunities to develop friendships and to respectfully encounter diversity and a...More Button

The Action Plan on Bullying, published in January 2013, sets out my Department's approach to tackling bullying and promoting an anti-bullying culture in schools. It recommended 12 actions that fo...More Button

In addition, curriculum at both primary and post-primary aims to foster inclusivity where equality and diversity are promoted. The Primary Curriculum acknowledges the importance of a balanced an...More Button

The Junior Cycle curriculum is designed in terms of learning outcomes, so it allows the flexibility and room for innovative approaches to content to suit the context of a given classroom. Learnin...More Button

As a result of the learning outcomes approach, teachers can facilitate discussion around diversity, prejudice, discrimination and racism, as well as the many other topical issues which might aris...More Button

The two Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) in the junior cycle specification allows students to explore topics that are interesting and relevant to their own lives. There are often opportunities ...More Button

As part of the Department’s ongoing curricular reform consideration of issues in relation to inclusivity/diversity etc. will be considered as part of the ongoing reviews in relation to the primar...More Button

In terms of textbooks used within a classroom setting, the Department has no role in promoting any particular text or resource used in the delivery of the curriculum, apart from a list of prescri...More Button

A variety of factors influence the selection of prescribed texts, including the aspiration to achieve social and cultural diversity and inclusivity, the age appropriateness of texts, the merit of...More Button

As prescribed lists are developed from year to year, additional factors come to the fore and influence the choices made. In addition, newly published authors are considered for inclusion. Contemp...More Button

It is the intention that prescribed texts for are diverse and inclusive, and meet the needs of teachers and students.More Button

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Was asked: her plans to reduce class sizes each year until the average is comparable to that of EU and OECD countries (details supplied).More Button

I am acutely aware of the issues faced by many schools in respect of teacher allocations and class sizes. Under the Programme for Government there is a commitment to seek to make further progress i...More Button

Previous budgets of 2016 and 2018 improved the staffing schedule by one point on both occasions to its historically lowest level ever of 1 teacher to 26 pupils. Primary schools are currently prov...More Button

I am delighted to build further on this progress by announcing a further 1 point reduction in Budget 2021. More Button

The staffing schedule for the 2021/22 academic year now stands at 1 teacher for every 25 pupils. This measure will help ensure better teacher retention in primary schools while also ensuring that...More Button

Teacher numbers at primary level have increased by almost 3,500 when comparing the 2015/16 school year with the 2019/20 school year and this has led to a steady improvement in the pupil teacher r...More Button

The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratio show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 16:1 to 15:1 at primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the 2019/20 schoo...More Button

The DEIS programme allows for a reduced class size in Urban Band 1 primary schools with the application of a preferential staffing schedule to these schools of 20:1 at junior classes and 24:1 at ...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, DEIS Plan acknowledges the allocation of teaching resources to DEIS primary schools with the highest concentrations of children at risk of educational disadvantage has...More Button

In order to facilitate this a Class Size Working Group was established comprising representatives from the Education Partners, the Educational Research Centre and the relevant Business Units in m...More Button

A report on the work of this group is currently being finalised, and will take into consideration the feedback and observations of the working group members. It is intended its findings will inf...More Button

Was asked: the steps she will take to ensure that the pupils of a school (details supplied) do not end up in overcrowded classes of over 30 children to a single teacher due to her officials refusing to allow ...More Button

Was asked: if she will request her officials to provide for the temporary retention of a fourth first class teacher at a school (details supplied) for the duration of the 2020/2021 school year.More Button

Was asked: her plans to reverse the decision to remove a teacher from a school (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the school is asking for the temporary retention of the teac...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262, 266 and 271 together.

  The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing s...More Button

Equality Issues

Was asked: her plans to end pay inequality (details supplied).More Button

The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. The starting salary for a new entrant teacher in 2012 was €30,702. As a result of the program...More Button

Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that “the Minister [for Public Expenditure and Reform] shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare and lay b...More Button

The report laid before the Oireachtas on foot of this provision by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform assesses the cost of a further change which would provide a two scale point adjus...More Button

The matter of new entrant pay is a cross sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector alone. The Government supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having ...More Button

The total year one cost of equalising the pay of new entrant teachers to the pre-2011 arrangements is estimated to be in the region of €59 million per annum in year one (€45 million for full reso...More Button

On 24 September 2018, an agreement was reached between the Government and the public services committee of ICTU in respect of new entrant pay.More Button

This agreement is benefitting 16,000 teachers and nearly 5,000 SNAs within the education sector. The deal provides for a series of incremental jumps for new entrants.More Button

I am fully aware that the teacher unions have outstanding issues of concern following the September 2018 agreement. These outstanding matters will be given full consideration. This will happen in...More Button

The current series of restorative measures for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and show...More Button

Emergency Works Scheme

Was asked: the status of a review of an application by a school (details supplied) under the emergency works grant.More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that approval in principle has issued to the school in question regarding funding under the Emergency Works Scheme for roof works. This approval is subject to the ...More Button

School Equipment

Was asked: if an IT upgrade will be expedited for a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Through the Schools Broadband Access Programme the Department provides for the supply of internet connectivity for all recognised primary and post primary schools, and some 98% of schools are inclu...More Button

The school referred to by the Deputy has a high speed broadband connection of 100 Mbit/s which is uncontended and symmetrical, meaning this is a dedicated service to the school. Given that this i...More Button

This upgrade programme is based on demonstrated requirements, and in the current circumstances the system is being closely monitored to prioritise those most in need of the higher speed connectiv...More Button

The delivery of high quality internet connectivity for all schools is a key objective of my Department, to support the embedding of digital technologies in teaching and learning. The Schools Broa...More Button

Teaching Council of Ireland

Was asked: the reason for the long delay by the Teaching Council of Ireland in registering an application for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015 the Teaching Council is the body with statutory authority and responsibility for the regulation of the teaching profession in Ireland including the registr...More Button

The Teaching Council have registered approximately 3,400 Newly Qualified Teachers this year, and a further 1,240 teachers across all 4 registration routes since May. Applicants for registration a...More Button

The person referred to by the Deputy should continue to liaise directly with the Teaching Council and follow their guidance regarding their registration. More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic

Was asked: if enforced absences of teachers due to children going into isolation has been factored into allowed absences under the sickness absences circular; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that ...More Button

The current COVID-19 arrangements in place for teachers are outlined in my Department’s Circular Letter 0049/2020. More Button

Based on the current HSE advice, a person who must care for a child who is required to self-isolate due to COVID-19, must restrict their movements during the 10 day period of the child’s self-is...More Button

State Examinations Commission

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to a backlog in applications for certificates of results to the State Examinations Commission; and if receipt of a certificate in the case of a person (details suppl...More Button

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...More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education

Was asked: her views on increasing the school transport remote area grant to reflect the cost for children that live on an island and attend school on the mainland; and if she will make a statement on the mat...More Button

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

  In the 2019/2020 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 child...More Button