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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 102-111
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item School Patronage
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Schools Site Acquisitions
 Header Item Irish Language

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 830 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 102-111

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 102. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason married persons under 23 years of age who reside with their spouses in a separate home from their parents are still assessed on their parents' means for the purposes of Student Universal Support Ireland grant applications.  [7210/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn For student grants purposes, a student may be assessed as an independent student if he/she has attained the age of 23 on the 1st of January of the year of first entry to an approved post leaving certificate course or an approved higher education course, or of re-entry to an approved course following a break in studies of at least three years, and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from the previous 1 October. Otherwise he/she would continue to be assessed on the basis of his/her parents' income.

When assessing the means of students other than independent mature students, the scheme specifies that parental income must be taken into account.

I have no plans at present to change the current arrangements.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 103. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason persons aged over 23 years who have a gap of a number of years in their education are still assessed on their parents' income for the purposes of a Student Universal Support Ireland grant if they began their third level education when they were under 23 years.  [7211/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn For student grants purposes, a student may be assessed as an independent student if he/she has attained the age of 23 on the 1st of January of the year of first entry to an approved post leaving certificate course or an approved higher education course or of re-entry to an approved course following a break in studies of at least three years, and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from the previous 1 October. Otherwise he/she would continue to be assessed on the basis of his/her parents' income.

  If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to the appeals officer in SUSI.

  Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down in writing by SUSI and remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his/her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board.   The relevant appeal form is available to download from http://www.studentfinance.ie/downloads/1375344221/2013_SGAB_appeal_form.pdf.

  I have no plans at present to change the current arrangements.

  Questions Nos. 104 and 105 answered with Question No. 100.

School Patronage

 106. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his views on the progress made by the Catholic management in the 23 primary schools where parents voted in 2013 to change the patronage of the school and to divest control from the Catholic Church; when his Department expects this change to happen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7248/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn No Catholic primary school has voted to change its patronage or divest control of its building from the Catholic Church.

What has happened is that, following on from the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary School sector, 43 towns with stable populations were surveyed to determine if parents in those towns want a greater choice of primary school. In 28 of these areas, parental demand for more choice was identified.

  I wrote to the Catholic patrons in each of these areas and requested that they identify re-configuration options which would allow a suitable school premises to be made available for an alternative patron provider.

  My Department is working with the patron bodies to try to advance progress in a number of areas where potential options have been identified. While this is a slow and sensitive process, it is hoped to have progress in a small number of areas soon, in order for sufficient time to be given to new patrons to open from as early as this coming September.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 107. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if a course (details supplied) entitles an applicant to any financial assistance for enrolment and course fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7255/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Under my Department's student grant scheme, eligible candidates may receive funding provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution.

  An approved course is defined as a full-time undergraduate course of at least two years duration, or a full-time postgraduate course of not less than one year duration pursued in an approved institution.

  I understand the course referred to by the Deputy does not meet the prescribed requirements of an approved course as it is provided on a part-time over one year.

  Question No. 108 answered with Question No. 100.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 109. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will approve additional resource hours for a child (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7273/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to inform the Deputy that all schools were advised to apply to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March, 2013.

The NCSE published details of all of their allocations for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2013/2014 school year in June 2013.

In order to meet any late demand for resource teaching and SNA support arising between 15th March, 2013 and the start of the school year, the NCSE requested all schools to submit outstanding applications for resource teaching and SNA support to the NCSE by 20th September, 2013.

The NCSE has now published details of the additional Resource Teaching and SNA allocations which have been made to schools since the initial allocations were made to schools in June. The NCSE published details of these revised allocations on 21st October, 2013. These details are now available on the NCSE website, www.ncse.ie, and detail the allocations made for each school on a per county basis.

The NCSE also retained a small number of resource teaching posts for allocation to schools, subsequent to these allocations having been made, for new entrants or emergency cases, and has made a number of allocations to schools on this basis.

As the Deputy's question refers to an application for resource teaching hours to the NCSE for an individual child I have referred this question to the NCSE for their consideration and direct reply to the Deputy.

Schools Site Acquisitions

 110. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will make a request to the Office of Public Works regarding the purchase of a site (details supplied). [7308/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I can confirm that officials from my Department have made initial enquiries with the OPW in relation to the feasibility of securing long term use of the site in question to meet future potential school needs in the catchment area.

Irish Language

 111. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to protect funding for the Irish language in future budgets. [7315/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As you are aware I am committed to the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030, as its recommendations relate to the remit of my Department. This is being done on a phased basis over the twenty year time span.

For example, there is a lot of activity underway in reforming the Irish language curricula at primary and post-primary. At primary there is the new Integrated language curriculum which is being developed for the infant classes through to first and second classes. At Junior Cycle, a consultation process has just been completed on a background paper relating to the development of a new specification for Irish at Junior Cycle. At senior cycle there is a revised assessment arrangement in place which allocates 40% of the Leaving Certificate marks to the oral component of the examination. This additional allocation to oral Irish is currently being reviewed.

Work has also commenced on a review of education in the Gaeltacht areas.


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