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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 318-325
 Header Item Further Education and Training Programmes Provision
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item State Examinations Statistics
 Header Item Student Grants Data
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Expenditure
 Header Item Education Expenditure

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 318-325

Further Education and Training Programmes Provision

 318. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding the implementation of the further education and training plan, as per Action 170 of the Action Plan for Jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13172/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand that the Further Education and Training Services Plan, the first such combined plan for the FET sector, is in the final stages of preparation by SOLAS.

It is due to be considered by the Board of SOLAS at its meeting today, and subsequently forwarded to my Department for consideration.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 319. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason the legitimate costs of running a business, that is, capital allowances on expenditure for business equipment, equipment leasing, bank interest on loans, depreciation and rental losses, are not taken into account by Student Universal Support Ireland when considering student grant applications; and in cases where serious illness has resulted in significant personal expenditure, the reason SUSI does not recognise the resulting impact on income when considering student grant applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13115/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Article 23 of the Student Grant Scheme 2013 deals with the determination of reckonable income. In calculating reckonable income no account is taken of capital assets. Therefore no deduction is given for capital expenditure, regardless of how it is treated for income tax purposes.

The assessment of means under my Department's student grant scheme is based on gross income from all sources. Therefore, all income is assessed from the same starting point, eliminating any distortion which might arise from different spending decisions.

The means test arrangements of the student grant scheme are applied nationally. In the case of both employed and self-employed applicants, gross income is assessed with certain specified social welfare and health service executive payments excluded.

I have no plans at present to depart from the above practice in respect of the determination of income.

Schools Building Projects Status

 320. 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 the position regarding the building of a school premises (details supplied); if contracts have been signed in regard to the rebuild; if there any difficulties or hold-ups in regard to the rebuild; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13225/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that following discussions between officials of my Department and representatives of the owners of the property to which he refers, my Department reached an agreement which provides that the owners of the property will restore the property to the satisfaction and requirements of the relevant planning authority.

State Examinations Statistics

 321. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the percentage of grade As awarded in the subject of art in the Leaving Certificate in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13248/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The percentage of students awarded a grade A at Higher Level in Leaving Certificate Art in 2013 was 4.8%. It was 5.1% in 2012 and 5% in 2011. I am aware that the percentage of candidates achieving an A in Higher Level Leaving Certificate Art is low when compared to other Leaving Certificate subjects.

Currently the NCCA is working with the State Examinations Commission on possible revisions to the assessment arrangements for Leaving Certificate Art. I await the results of their deliberations.

Student Grants Data

 322. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No.124 of 11 March 2014, of the remaining 118 students refused the Student Universal Support Ireland grants during 2012-2013 the number of same who were Irish citizens.  [13268/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) has confirmed that the number of Irish citizen applicants who did not meet the habitual residence condition in the 2012/13 academic year and had their applications refused, was 118.

School Staffing

 323. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will intervene to prevent the loss of a vital teacher in a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that current and projected enrolment figures show sufficient pupil numbers to retain the current teacher numbers; if his attention has been drawn to the negative impact the loss of a teacher would have on the school, on pupils, on pupil-teacher ratios, and on one on one teaching time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13270/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts for the 2014/2015 school year is set out in the Staffing Schedule (Circular 0007/2014) which is available on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the 30 September 2013. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. The appeal criteria are published in Circular 0007/2014. The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an appeal under Criterion B - Additional Enrolments in October 2013 to the February 2014 meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. The appeal was refused by the board on the basis that the grounds of the appeal did not meet the published criteria. The school was notified accordingly.

The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Minister and the Department and its decision is final.

Student Grant Scheme Expenditure

 324. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an annual breakdown, in tabular form, of the amount of money invested on student support services in County Donegal yearly since 2008. [13293/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The following table details the amounts paid to Donegal grant awarding authorities in respect of student grants from the 2008/09 academic year to the 2012/13 academic year inclusive and are provided on an academic year basis. The figures include amounts paid to or in respect of students from Donegal county in receipt of a student grant from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) for the 2012/13 academic year.

It is important to note that these amounts reflect the system in operation prior to the 2012/13 academic year where students were awarded a grant to attend a post leaving certificate course from the VEC where a student's normal residence was located but were paid their grant by the VEC in the area where the PLC centre being attended was located.

In addition, the amounts do not include payments to students undertaking Level 6 and 7 courses in the Institutes of Technology as payments to students on such courses were made by the Institute of Technology being attended.

The Deputy will appreciate that the final figures in respect of the 2013/14 academic year will not be available until the end of the academic year.   

Payments to Awarding Authorities in respect of Student Grants 2008/09 - 2012/13 (Donegal)*

Academic yearAmounts
2008/09€10,378,906.43
2009/10€9,499,456.92
2010/11€15,228,014.85
2011/12€11,962,361.46
2012/13€14,476,604.82


*Includes payments made by SUSI in 12/13 to/on behalf of students from Donegal, includes payments to Donegal VEC in respect of students attending PLC centres in Donegal who may or may not be from Donegal and does not include payments made to or in respect of students in Level 6 or 7 courses in Institutes of Technology.

Education Expenditure

 325. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an annual breakdown, in tabular form, of the amount of money invested in education services in County Donegal yearly since 2008. [13294/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Data relating to expenditure by my Department are not maintained on a county by county basis and it would require significant resources of staff and time to collate the information in the format sought by the Deputy.

However, I would be happy to provide information on specific projects in which the Deputy has a particular interest.


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