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Written Answers. - Schools Amalgamation.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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[898]

 260. Mr. Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods  the consultation which took place prior to the announcement of the amalgamation of Ballyfin College and Laois VEC with parent representatives and the board of management of Ballyfin College; if all consultation that would be in accordance with good practice took place; the efforts which were made to ensure such consultation took place in view of the local difficulties that were known at the time; if he has satisfied himself that all proper procedures were adhered to in relation to this amalgamation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10639/02]

 261. Mr. Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods  if all legal and contractual documents have been signed in relation to the amalgamation of the Patrician College, Ballyfin and County Laois Vocational Education Committee for a community college to be located on a site in Portlaoise owned by the VEC; the date such documents were signed; if the Bishop has signed this legal agreement; the date of such signing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10640/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods I propose to take Questions 260 and 261 together.

I am not aware of what local consultations may have preceded the decision by the Patrician Brothers and County Laois Vocational Education Committee to amalgamate their existing schools to form a new community college in Portlaoise. I am informed that, since the decision was announced by the trustees on 31 August last, there have been at least five meetings with representatives of parents and-or teaching staff, specifically to listen to their concerns.

To my knowledge, the trustees of the Patrician College met both parent and staff representatives and Dr. Tom McCarthy, facilitator, also met both parties. I met a deputation of Patrician College parents and officials of my Department met with both parent and teacher representatives on three occasions, the last such meeting lasting more than three hours. In the circumstances, there has been full engagement with the school community in Ballyfin and they have been given many opportunities to express their views regarding the trustees' decision. In that regard, the parents' and teachers' representatives have made a formal submission to my Department which is under active consideration at present.

Community colleges which arise from greenfield developments or amalgamations are given formal effect in articles of agreement between the parties to the new school. In this case, I understand that the articles have been signed by County Laois VEC only. I am unaware of the date of signature.

 262. Mr. Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods  the number of teachers in the Patrician College Ballyfin who have agreed and signed such an agreement to transfer to the new community college to be located in Portlaoise on a site owned by County Laois VEC, arising from the amalgamation of Ballyfin College and Laois VEC; if such agreement is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10641/02]

[899]Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods All teachers appointed in a permanent capacity to the staff of Patrician College, Ballyfin, at least two years in advance of the scheduled date of amalgamation with the Vocational School in Portlaoise have a right to assimilation to the [900] staff of the new community college, if they so wish. Teachers in the school who do not wish to be assimilated may seek to be redeployed to another voluntary secondary school. Details of the number of teachers who have formally opted for assimilation are not yet available.


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