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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 147-162
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Teacher Recruitment
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Redundancy Payments
 Header Item School Funding
 Header Item Institutes of Technology Issues
 Header Item Bullying in Schools
 Header Item Student Support Schemes Issues
 Header Item School Accommodation
 Header Item Teacher Redeployment
 Header Item State Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Land Swaps

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 775 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 147-162

Schools Building Projects Status

 147. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline the position of a school (details supplied) currently on his Department's school building programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40376/12]

 148. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the fact that his Department is the owner of a property bounded by properties (details supplied); if he will outline his Department's plans for this site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40377/12]

 149. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the current planning permission for a school (details supplied) has now expired; the plans he has to address this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40378/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 to 149, inclusive, together.

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. My Department is actively engaged with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) in relation to the transfer of ownership of the property referred to by the Deputy. When the transfer of the site is complete, the building project for the school will be progressed to final stages of architectural planning which includes the completion of tender Documents.

Planning Permission was granted in June 2008 and remains valid. However, if it proves necessary, the design team may seek an extension to the planning permission. Due to competing demands on the Departments capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements it was not possible to include the project referred to by the Deputy in the 5 year construction programme announced in March. School building projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, which have not been included in the five year construction programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in future years.

Schools Building Projects Status

 150. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if there is a definite timescale for commencement and completion of a new secondary school of Ballinamore, County Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40508/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school referred to by the Deputy is among eight schools constituting the third bundle of school projects that are earmarked for delivery as part of the Department's overall Schools Public Private Partnership programme of works.

Unfortunately, unanticipated difficulties associated with the current fiscal situation have led to delays in achieving financial close. As a consequence, it has not been possible to conclude the contract with the preferred tenderer as had been originally planned. However, the expectation is that these difficulties will now be overcome later this year with the likelihood that the contract will be in place and the builder on site before the end of the calendar year. I look forward to this situation coming to pass.

Schools Building Projects Status

 151. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the status of a school (details supplied) and its application for an extension; if the status has changed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40509/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning.

My Department recently authorised the project to proceed to Stage 2(b) which includes planning permission, Fire Cert, Disability Access Cert (DAC) and the preparation of tender documents.

To ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of projects to meet the increasing demographic demands will be the main focus for capital investment over the next 5 years, particularly in those areas where it has been identified that most future demographic growth will be concentrated.

Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet those increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include the project referred to by the Deputy in the 5 year construction programme. Schools, including the one referred to by the Deputy, which have not been included in the five year construction programme, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years.

Teacher Recruitment

 152. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the initiatives and opportunities that will be coming on stream to give hope to newly qualified teachers as they leave college and seek employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40575/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Circular 31/2011 details a cascade of measures for recruitment of teachers, prioritising unemployed registered teachers over retired registered teachers and registered teachers over unregistered persons.

Each principal must report to his or her board of management on a regular basis on the fact that a list of unemployed registered teachers is being maintained, and the circumstances in which he or she has had to engage a registered teacher in receipt of a pension under a public service pension scheme or an unregistered person.

Also in October last year my Department issued circular 46/2011 which permits schools to participate in JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme. This programme provides work experience placements for interns for a 6 or 9 month period. Interns receive an allowance of €50 per week on top of their existing social welfare entitlement. In the event that a primary teacher, who is conditionally registered with the Teaching council and who obtains a placement in an internship, can meet the conditions associated with the operation of the primary probationary process as outlined in circular 47/2011, there will be nothing to preclude him or her from applying to be probated. Limerick Education Centre administers the probationary process on behalf of the Inspectorate and applications for the evaluation of professional competence aspect of the probationary process should be addressed to Limerick Education Centre.

Departmental Staff Data

 153. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his Department still grants leave of absence; and if not, the reason this is not considered as a neutral cost saving exercise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40594/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand the Deputy has clarified that her question is exclusively in relation to career breaks of one year duration or more.

It is open to an official of my Department to submit an application for a career break in order to rear a child, other domestic purposes (eg care of a sick relative), educational courses, travel abroad or to establish their own business in accordance with the terms of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) circular reference number 18/98 which can be viewed on its website.

In assessing each case my Department will take account of the business needs of the officer's line section in facilitating or rejecting an application. There are 33 officials currently on a career break.

Redundancy Payments

 154. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a person (details supplied) whose special needs assistant contract was discontinued has been told they will not be issued with a P45 or redundancy payment until next year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40604/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn P45s are currently being processed for all Special Needs Assistants whose posts ceased on 31st August 2012. The person referred to by the Deputy will receive her P45 this week (i.e. the week commencing Monday 24th September).

A redundancy application in respect of the person referred to by the Deputy has been received by my Department and is currently being processed. It is expected that payment will issue on 25th October 2012.

School Funding

 155. Deputy Anne Ferris Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide in tabular form the breakdown per private school of the State subsidy for the past 10 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40614/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The information sought is being compiled and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy.

Institutes of Technology Issues

 156. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his views on the strategic partnership recently formed by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Sligo as an attempt to achieve technological university status. [40626/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn In the document, Towards a Future Higher Education Landscape, published by the HEA in February last, a clear four stage process and criteria was laid out for institutes of technology who wish to apply for designation as a technological university. Having regard to the process that has been put in place to assess proposals for designation as technological universities I do not propose to comment on any potential applications for designation by any group of Institutes of Technology.

Bullying in Schools

 157. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if consideration will be given to the offer from the anti bullying campaign to provide training in combatting and preventing bullying to teachers and school staff free of charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40627/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Deputy may be aware that an Anti-Bullying Forum was held on Thursday 17th May bringing together a range of experts, support groups and representatives of the schools sector including parents and students.

I was very pleased to open this important Forum and to provide an opportunity to explore with all the relevant stakeholders how best to tackle bullying in schools and to consider what changes or updating of existing practices and procedures are required to achieve this having regard to what is feasible to implement in the current financial climate.

The range of speakers on the day of the Forum included contributions from my Department, Professor Mona O'Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College, a representative from the Anti-Bullying Campaign and contributors from the school sector from the various perspectives of school principal, parent and pupil. The Forum also gave other stakeholders an opportunity to give their views.

The proceedings of the Forum were broadcast live over the internet and recordings of the day's events can be now viewed by accessing the Anti-Bullying Forum webpage of my Department's website www.education.ie. The presentations of the various speakers can also be viewed and downloaded from this page.

As a follow on to holding the Forum itself, I invited the stakeholders and any other interested parties, including those unable to attend the event on the day, to submit their views on this important topic to my Department by 29th June 2012. I understand that the Anti-Bullying Campaign has made a submission as have many other interested parties.

The Deputy will also be aware that I recently established a working group to address the issue of tackling bullying in schools. During the course of its work, the working group will be considering the outcomes from the Forum together with the submissions from stakeholders and other interested parties. This includes the submission received from the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

It is intended that the working group will draw upon the expertise of a range of organisations and individuals during the course of its work. I understand that Mr. Sean Fallon of the Anti-Bullying Campaign has already been invited to meet with and make a presentation to the working group.

Student Support Schemes Issues

 158. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if the budgetary amount allocated to the student assistance fund which provides emergency financial support to students in order that they can continue their studies will be maintained this year. [40628/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The allocation of the Student Assistance Fund to approved third level institutions is made by the Higher Education Authority, generally in two instalments. Allocations are based on a combination of Equal Access data and total full-time enrolments in the previous academic year (rather than inclusively on full-time enrolment data as in previous years). All registered full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students who are attending approved third level courses in the relevant third level institutions are eligible to apply for assistance from the Fund.

The management of the Third Level Access Measure rests with the Higher Education Authority and the allocation of funding for the various access measures, one of which is the Student Assistance Fund, is a matter for the authority. Some €13.2m is available for the TLAM overall. I understand that the HEA is currently finalising the allocation for the Student Assistance Fund and that institutions will be advised shortly of their individual allocations.

School Accommodation

 159. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if there are any plans to build or relocate a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40696/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is currently considering the position relating to the accommodation needs of the school to which he refers and my officials will be in further contact with the school authority as soon as this process has been completed.

Teacher Redeployment

 160. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding the special national subsidiary panel in respect of a person (details supplied) [40732/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Each main redeployment panel is created for permanent and CID holding teachers in order to ensure that vacancies in permanent and fixed-term posts are offered in the first instance to these teachers. A secondary and discrete subsidiary of each main redeployment panel, the subsidiary main panel, is created for eligible teachers in fixed term, substitute and part-time posts who meet the relevant eligibility criteria outlined in Circular 0012/2012 which is available on my Department's website.

The arrangements for the subsidiary special national panel allow for the inclusion of eligible post primary trained teachers on the panel to be appointed to certain posts, i.e., in special schools where a proportion of the pupils are of post-primary age and where second level programmes are being provided by the school. The teacher referred to by the Deputy was eligible for the subsidiary special national panel in this context. She is not qualified to teach in a mainstream primary school setting. The teacher has therefore been reinstated on the subsidiary special national panel and retains the right to be offered vacancies for which she is eligible, in special national schools.

State Bodies Expenditure

 161. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will outline if it is still the intention of his Department to merge the Forensic Science Laboratory into the State Laboratory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40197/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The proposed measure is one of 46 critical reviews of State bodies which are being undertaken as part of the Public Service Reform plan, published in November last year. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently considering the reviews received by Departments.

  In relation to critical review No.19 of the Agency Rationalisation Programme, i.e. the review of the merger of the Forensic Science Laboratory into the State Laboratory has been completed. The recommendation of the review will be considered in due course.

Land Swaps

 162. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will make available from the Office of Public Works all details, including maps, of a land swap between the OPW and Wexford Borough Council; and if he will confirm that this land swap was the same as had been originally arranged in 1992/1993 (details supplied). [40315/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes In 1994 Wexford Borough Council agreed to transfer land at Crescent Quay/Anne Street, Wexford Town to the Commissioners of Public Works in return for a site at King Street, Wexford Town, owned by the Commissioners.

  New Government Offices accommodating a number of Government Departments were constructed on the Crescent Quay/Anne Street site by the Commissioners of Public Works

  The legal formalities were finalised and a copy of the Deed of Exchange along with the relevant maps and documentation will be forwarded to the Deputy.


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