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Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 255. Mr. J. Bruton Information on John Bruton Zoom on John Bruton  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods  if he will appoint a learning support teacher to St. Nicholas Primary School, Longwood, County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10588/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods St. Nicholas Primary School is currently in receipt of the services of a learning support teacher on a shared basis. The case made on behalf of the school for a full time learning support teacher post has been noted. The needs of the school will be taken fully into account in the event of additional learning support teacher posts becoming available.

 256. Mr. G. Mitchell Information on Gay Mitchell Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods  if he has committed to funding half the cost of a child care worker on an ongoing basis at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if he will now provide the funding. [10590/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods I am aware of the circumstances of the school referred to by the Deputy. This school is already benefiting under a number of schemes aimed at addressing educational disadvantage. However, there is no scheme providing child care workers in schools generally and accordingly, it is not possible at this stage to give any commitment in that regard.

The Deputy is aware of the major new disadvantage programme, “Giving Children An Even Break” which I launched last year, to deal with educational disadvantage in primary schools. “Giving Children An Even Break” is being run over a three-year period and will cost some €33 million with the allocation of over 200 teaching posts. The schools targeted under “Giving Children An Even Break” were identified through a comprehensive and objective survey of all primary schools carried out in March-April 2000 by the Educational Research Centre, Drumcondra, on my Department's behalf.

Schools already in receipt of additional resources under the disadvantaged areas scheme, including the school in question, retain their entitlements under that scheme, and also receive [896] extra funding. Under the disadvantaged areas scheme, the school in question is benefiting from the services of a disadvantaged concessionary teacher and a shared home-school-community liaison teacher. The school also qualifies for special supplementary capitation funding at the rate of €38.09 per pupil and a refund of the television licence fee.

There are separate urban and rural dimensions to “Giving Children An Even Break”. The school in question has been included in the urban dimension and is eligible to receive supplementary capitation funding of €1,658 in respect of the current school year, towards providing additional educational supports for the children concerned. This funding is in addition to the €3,885 that the school received under the disadvantaged areas scheme. Schools categorised as urban in “Giving Children An Even Break” with the highest concentrations of at risk pupils, including the school in question, are being supported, where necessary, through staff allocations to implement a pupil teacher ratio of 20:1 in the junior classes, infants through second class and a pupil teacher ratio of 29:1 in senior classes, third through sixth classes.

The school referred to by the Deputy is also included in the support teacher project since 1999 and shares the services of a support teacher with another school who works with pupils with disruptive, disturbed or withdrawn behaviour. The position of this school will fall for consideration again in the context of the further development of measures to address educational disadvantage generally.


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