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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 29-32
 Header Item Industrial Disputes
 Header Item Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item Student Support Schemes Issues

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 29-32

Industrial Disputes

 29. 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 the contingency plans he has in place to deal with any industrial action by teachers in the autumn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32264/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The revised proposals put forward by the Labour Relations Commission for the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 arise from an intensive and difficult set of negotiations between the Public Services Committee of ICTU and the Government that took place against a backdrop of continuing significant difficulties in the finances of the State. The INTO has accepted the terms of the Agreement. The TUI has indicated its intention to ballot on the proposals in September. The ASTI is to put a similar proposal on balloting to its Central Executive Council. Union members now have an important decision to make. In my view, it is better for us all to allow them the time and space to reflect and come to that decision without any perceived pressure from any side. In light of that, I do not think it would be helpful to this ongoing process for me to comment at this time.

Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta

 30. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn céard é an beartas faoi neamhspleáchas na Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [26106/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Tá mo chinneadh polasaí déanta agam COGG agus an CNCM a chomhshuí. Chuir mé an Chomh-aireacht ar an eolas faoi seo agus phléigh mé go hiomlán leo é an tSamhain seo caite. Táim cinnte gur fearr a n-éascófar le feidhmiú mholtaí na straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-30, de bharr iad a bheith comhshuite, agus ina theannta sin le feidhmiú Acht na Gaeltachta, 2012, agus leis an leasú curaclach atá ar siúl faoi láthair ar an mbunoideachas agus ar an iar-bhunoideachas. Beidh tuilleadh deiseanna ann chun sineirgí a chur ar siúl idir obair COGG de réir mar a ghineann sé acmhainní agus obair na CNCM de réir mar a fhorbraíonn sé curaclaim. Tá a bord, a buiséad agus a lucht foirne féin ag COGG.

School Staffing

 31. 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 the reason his Department wrote to the National Council for Special Education on 30 May regarding the 75% resource teaching allocations it was asked to delay communicating this information to schools for three weeks; and if he will respond to criticism that this resulted in considerable uncertainty for school authorities who would have found it difficult to put in place staff for September at such short notice.  [32210/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department wrote to the NCSE on 30 May 2013 to confirm that the NCSE should allocate resource teaching hours at an allocation rate 10% below the allocation made for the 2012-13 school year. This was because the demand for low incidence resource teaching had again risen, to remain within the Employment Control Framework agreement and to ensure there would be sufficient resource teaching posts to make equivalent allocations for all qualifying children. While this letter did not request the NCSE to delay communicating this decision to schools, in a follow up discussion between my officials and the NCSE, my officials requested that the announcement of the Resource Teacher and Special Needs Assistant allocations would be made at the same time, as had happened the previous year. The NCSE initially published details of the allocations for SNAs and resource teaching hours for the 2013-14 school year on Wednesday, 19 June last. I have subsequently authorised the NCSE to restore the level of resource teaching allocations which can be provided for students with special educational needs to the 2012-13 levels. There will not now be any reduction to resource teaching time for children on the level which applied last year.

Student Support Schemes Issues

 32. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason the Student Universal Support Ireland application system was not available online earlier than its launch in May when many sixth year students had broken up for the school year; and if he will respond to the view that having the system available earlier would have allowed counsellors additional time to help students with their college applications. [32221/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn This year the online application system, which included a new online renewal system, opened on 20 May 2013, three weeks earlier than last year. This earlier opening date provided first-time applicants and renewal students with the opportunity to apply earlier than in previous years. Student Universal Support Ireland aims to build on this progress and move towards opening the system significantly earlier in future years. I am informed by SUSI that the contribution made by Guidance Councillors in the student grant application process, particularly in the Leaving Certificate year, is invaluable. A senior representative of the Institute of Guidance Councillors sits on the SUSI stakeholders' Advisory Group. Their presence on this group provides an opportunity for the views and experience of guidance councillors to feed into the strategic planning for the continued development of the grants process.


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