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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 166-75
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Delays
 Header Item FÁS Training Programmes
 Header Item Internationalisation Register
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Physical Education
 Header Item International Education Strategy
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Services Provision
 Header Item Summer Works Scheme Expenditure

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 166-75

School Staffing

 166. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn in relation circular 38/2012 from his Department, the reason teachers already in the system and who were entitled to panel rights prior to the circular were not provided for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21163/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The core function of the redeployment arrangements is to facilitate the redeployment of all surplus permanent teachers to other schools that have vacancies. The redeployment of all surplus permanent teachers is key to the Department's ability to manage within its payroll budget and ceiling on teacher numbers.Thereafter, schools are required under the panel arrangements to fill permanent vacancies from supplementary panels comprised of eligible fixed-term (temporary/substitute) and part-time teachers.

Following a review of the operation of the subsidiary and supplementary panel arrangements in the 2012/13 school year and in order to enable the redeployment process to operate in a more efficient manner a number of changes are being introduced with effect from the 2013/14 school year.

All eligible applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be placed on the relevant supplementary panels. There will no longer be separate subsidiary panels.

The Subsidiary and Supplementary Special National Panels are being phased out and no new applications are being accepted. This decision by the Department reflects the wider availability of primary teachers who are qualified to work in all settings which was not the case when this panel was originally set up. Access to the Supplementary Special National Panel for the 2013/14 school year will be confined to those teachers who were on the Subsidiary or Supplementary Special National Panels in the 2012/13 school year and who did not secure a permanent teaching post. My Department has contacted these teachers directly. A further change is that the Supplementary Special National Panel for the 2013/14 school year will be used only for filling permanent teaching posts in special schools that are not otherwise required for the redeployment of surplus permanent teachers.

The arrangements for panel access for fixed term (temporary), substitute and part-time teachers for the 2013/14 school year are set out in Circular 0038/2012 which is available on the Department website.

Schools Building Projects Status

 167. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide, in tabular form, all new places being made available in both primary and secondary schools in an area (details supplied) in County Wicklow in the coming months and years; if he will outline all the upgrades and emergency works in the area since his appointment; if he will outline new school places and new schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21198/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Deputy will be aware that the Five Year Construction Plan, that I announced on 9 March 2012, outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the Plan. The primary aim at the core of the Five Year Plan is focused on meeting demographic demands to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place and that our school system is in a position to cope with increasing pupil numbers.

The 5 Year Plan provides for the following level of additional primary school accommodation in the areas referred to by the Deputy:

Greystones: 15 additional classrooms will be in place following the completion of the building project for Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath and Greystones Educate Together National School. It is envisaged that this accommodation will be ready for occupation for the 2013/2014 school year.

Kilcoole: An 8 classroom extension project at Kilcoole National School is contained on the 2015/2016 construction list. This will facilitate the growth of the school to a 24 classroom facility. Pending the delivery of the extension project, my Department has approved the rental of 3 mainstream classrooms to cater for the school's interim accommodation requirements.

Newcastle: My Department provided funding to St. Francis National School in 2012 to facilitate the replacement of two prefabs with a permanent structure and I understand that the project is currently on site. A project for a replacement school for St. Catherine's Special School, Newcastle is contained on the Five Year Plan and is currently at Stage 2 (b) of the architectural planning process.

Newtownmountkennedy - A 5 classroom extension at Newtownmountkennedy National School is contained on the 2015/2016 construction list. This will facilitate the growth of the school to a 16 classroom facility.

Devolved funding for the provision of an additional 5 mainstream classrooms to cater for the 2013 and 2014 accommodation needs of the Greystones/Delgany area has also been approved by my Department for the following schools:

- St. Laurences N.S., Greystones - 2 classrooms

- St. Patrick's N.S. Greystones - 2 classrooms

- St. Kevin's N.S. Greystones - 1 classroom

The Deputy will also be aware that I have sanctioned a new school at post-primary level for the Greystones area and I expect this to commence operation in September 2014. Details of all works funded under my Department's Additional Accommodation and Emergency Works Schemes, including works in schools in Co. Wicklow, are available on my Department Website and this is updated on a weekly basis.

Student Grant Scheme Delays

 168. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if students whose Student Universal Support Ireland grants were delayed through no fault of their own will be compensated, consistent with extra revenue secured by the State via delayed payments of the household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21211/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Regrettably, there have always been some delays in grants being awarded. While it has to be acknowledged that Student Universal Support Ireland, (SUSI) the new single awarding authority has had problems its first year of administration, the establishment of a single grant awarding body will serve our students better in the longer term.

FÁS Training Programmes

 169. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Question No. 588 of 16 April 2013, the avenue available to a person who is unemployed or disabled and not in receipt of a social welfare payment to engage in a training course when they have been advised by their local FÁS office that they are not entitled to participate in any course because they are not in receipt of a social welfare payment; if FÁS must provide training courses to those who are disabled and not in receipt of a payment due to a spouse's income and where this training course would be beneficial to their rehabilitation and well-being; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21212/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon People with disabilities are eligible to access FÁS mainstream services.

  Persons who are unemployed but not in receipt of a social protection payment are generally eligible to take part in FÁS training courses. However, only those who were receiving a social protection payment prior to commencing training may be eligible to receive a FÁS training allowance while undertaking a course.

  In addition FÁS continues to provide 2,110 specialist vocational training places for people with disabilities who do not avail of the mainstream options through Specialist Training Providers (STPs).

Internationalisation Register

 170. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the way a course provider (details supplied) may be listed and qualify on the internationalisation register; the actions that are required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21220/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Internationalisation Register is administered by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) on behalf of the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Education and Skills. Revised arrangements for the operation of the Register were implemented as of August 2012 and information on those arrangements, including the types of programmes eligible for inclusion and the process for making applications, can be found on a dedicated website, www.intregister.ie.

Departmental Properties

 171. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his Department and agencies under its aegis, who own or rent property in commercial developments are in compliance with their responsibilities under the Multi Unit Development Act 2011; if he will outline those agencies who have representation on the boards of owners' management companies; if he will provide a list of the agency, the relevant management company and its associated property but not the name of the individual representing the said agency; and his views on the implementation process of the Multi Unit Development Act within his Department.  [21243/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Office of Public Works (OPW) acts as an agent for all Government Departments, and is responsible for the provision of Government offices from the State portfolio or by lease agreement. The terms of the leases are a matter for the OPW. Accordingly, my Department is not in an ownership position as defined in the Multi-Unit Development Act 2011.

In addition none of the bodies under the aegis of my Department are owners of office properties and accordingly, the issue of their role with regard to representation on the board of management companies does not arise.

Physical Education

 172. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he has any plans to make physical education an examinable subject on the second level curriculum similar to the recognition given to this subject in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21266/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The NCCA is currently working on curriculum and assessment specifications for Physical Education at Senior Cycle.

  The new Framework for Junior Cycle, which I published last October, will enable schools not only to offer Physical Education but also to have it certified.

International Education Strategy

 173. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the steps being taken in the US to attract third level students to come here to study. [21358/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The United States is a priority market for the promotion of Ireland under the Government's International Education Strategy 2010-2015.

Enterprise Ireland indicates that over 8,000 American students study in Ireland each year. Around 60% study in Irish higher education institutions, with the rest on US faculty-led programmes. Ireland remains the ninth largest destination for US students choosing to study abroad.

Enterprise Ireland has a US market strategy in place, focusing on increasing both undergraduate and postgraduate recruitment. The promotional programme includes the Education in Ireland Student Ambassador initiative, on-line and print marketing, recruitment fairs and other engagement activities, and working with US high schools and universities. These efforts are underpinned by market research, and the national effort is undertaken in close collaboration with individual higher education institutions.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

 174. 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 his plans to provide additional resources and resource hours to schools who have pupils with Down syndrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21377/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Deputy will be aware of this Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring that all children with special educational needs, including children with Down's syndrome, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs. The policy of my Department is to secure the maximum possible level of inclusion of students with special educational needs in mainstream primary and post-primary schools, or where a special school or special class placement may be required to ensure such placements are provided for.

Pupils with Down's syndrome attending mainstream schools may receive additional teaching support in primary schools, either under the terms of the General Allocation Model (GAM) of teaching supports, if the pupil's educational psychological assessment places the pupil in the mild general learning disability/high incidence disability category, or through an allocation of individual additional resource teaching hours which are allocated by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), if the child is assessed as being within the low incidence category of special need, as defined by my Department's Circular Sp Ed 02/05.

Pupils with Down's syndrome may be allocated resources under the category of mild general learning disability, or under the categories of moderate general learning difficulty or Assessed Syndrome, in conjunction with another Low Incidence disability. There is not presently a distinct disability category of Down's syndrome for resource allocation purposes.

I have asked the National Council for Special Education to provide me with policy advice on the issue of whether Down's syndrome should be reclassified as a low incidence disability in all instances, regardless of assessed cognitive ability. This advice will be included in the NCSE's comprehensive policy advice on how the education system can best support children with special educational needs which is currently in preparation and which is expected in the coming weeks.

Summer Works Scheme Expenditure

 175. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will consider making the Summer work scheme available for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21383/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn In view of the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of essential school accommodation, it is not possible for me to advance with a summer works programme in 2013.

My Department's over-riding objective is to ensure that every child has access to a physical school place. To ensure that this is achieved, the delivery of major school projects to meet significant demographic demands nationally will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years. The Five Year school building programme is focused on meeting those demographic needs.


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