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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 90 - 94
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme Eligibility

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

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Written Answers Nos. 90 - 94

Schools Building Projects Status

 90. 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 if he will confirm the reason a school (details supplied) in County Cavan, has not progressed to building stage in view of the fact that its Band 1 listing is dating back to 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19335/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning. 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 increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme. 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 through the design stages of architectural planning in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in future years. However, in light of current competing demands on the Department's capital budget, it is not possible to indicate at this time, the timeframe for the progression of this project to construction stage.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 91. Deputy Olivia Mitchell Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if a decision has been taken to continue to increase the pupil teacher ratio in fee paying schools until it reaches 28:1 being the option included in the McCarthy report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19346/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I published a report entitled "Fee Charging Schools - Analysis of Fee Income" in respect of the discretionary income available to the 55 fee charging schools in the country.I commissioned the report in question in order to inform future budgetary decisions in relation to the allocation of teachers to schools in particular. I do not propose at this stage to anticipate any specific decisions the Government might take in respect of the next budget. It is important to look at the context in which exchequer funding to fee charging schools must be approached. Ireland faces further budgets where a reduction in public expenditure across all areas of public provision, including education, will be necessary. Teacher allocation to all primary and second level schools will remain in focus throughout the period of fiscal adjustment because it represents a significant proportion of my Department's overall budget. The extent to which teaching posts can continue to be allocated to fee charging schools must remain under consideration in that context.

Schools Building Projects Status

 92. Deputy Olivia Mitchell Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update on the permanent school building in respect of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19347/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school, referred to by the Deputy, has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for a new school. The current status of all projects on the school building programme, including the school in question, may be viewed on my Department's website at www.education.ie. and this is being updated regularly throughout the year. As the Deputy will be aware, the school is currently in temporary accommodation on lands controlled by South Dublin County Council. At a recent meeting with the Council, my Department raised the issue of the land holding. The Council advised that they are endeavouring to rectify title issues in regard to a portion of the site on which the school resides. Once the Council is in a position to dispose of the land, it is my Department's intention to acquire same.

In light of the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of additional school accommodation, the delivery of major school projects required to meet future demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. The 5 Year Construction Plan that I announced in March 2012 outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the Plan. It is not possible therefore at this point to indicate when a project for the school in question will be progressed.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 93. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn with regard to the pupil-teacher ratio, if he will outline the way that this figure is calculated for primary schools; if he will list the posts that are used for this calculation and the posts that are not used for this calculation;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19356/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Pupil-Teacher ratio at first level is calculated by dividing total enrolment in all aided First Level Schools (including Special Schools) as of 30th September in a given year by the number of teaching posts in June of the following year. Total number of teachings posts include a whole-time equivalent of part-time teachers as well as all types of teachers from walking principals to resourse teachers for special needs to language support teachers as well as ordinary classroom teachers. Pupil teacher ratio is not available at individual school level. For 2011/2012 the PTR at primary level was 16.2. The PTR for 2012/2013 will be available during the summer months.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme Eligibility

 94. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will review the denial of a place on a VTOS course, on grounds of progression, to a person (details supplied) in County Cork who has been out of education since 2005;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19379/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon There are a limited number of VTOS places available annually with City of Cork Vocational Education Committee (VEC) having sanction for 420 places in the current academic year. The VEC has advised officials in my Department that the number of applications received was greater than the number of available VTOS places. In order to allocate VTOS places, the VEC has prioritised applicants with lower educational qualifications. As the person referred to by the Deputy was awarded a FETAC Level 6 qualification in 2005 they were not allocated a VTOS place. It is open to this person to apply to the Department of Social Protection for the Back to Education Allowance.


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