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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 326-353
 Header Item Third Level Staff Data
 Header Item Multidenominational Schools
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item Departmental Meetings
 Header Item School Accommodation
 Header Item Education Policy
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item State Examinations
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Home Tuition Scheme Administration
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item Clár Tógála Scoileanna
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Applications
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 326-353

Third Level Staff Data

 326. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of administrative staff that are currently employed by University College Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13129/14]

 327. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of lecturers that are currently employed by University College Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13130/14]

 328. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the average number of lecture contact hours first year arts students receive in University College Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13131/14]

 329. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the average number of lecture contact hours first year business students receive in University College Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13132/14]

 330. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the average number of lecture contact hours first year engineering students receive in University College Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13133/14]

 331. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the average number of lecture contact hours first year pre-med students receive in University College Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13134/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 326 to 331, inclusive, together.

Data on staffing numbers in higher education institutions is collated by the Higher Education Authority at the end of every quarter. The most recent data available is therefore in respect of the last quarter in 2013. Staff numbers are reported in two categories: academic and non-academic.    

At the end of Q4 2013, UCD reported that there were 1,128 whole time equivalent (WTE) non-academic staff and 952 academic staff provided for from Exchequer funding. This figure includes 513 (WTE) Lecturer and 195 (WTE) Senior Lecturer posts.

It should be noted the 1,128 non-academic staff includes a range of categories of support staff in an institution including administrative staff. Non-academic staff are involved in student focused functions such as student admissions and registration, campus service centres, assessment and library as well as the more traditional back office functions such as ICT support, finance and payroll. The non-academic category of staff may also include support staff involved in activities related to research such as administrative support and laboratory technicians.

The number of students enrolled in institutions is reported on an academic year basis. In 2012/13 (most recent data available), UCD had 23,931 students enrolled and this includes full and part-time students studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

  Number of Lecture Contact Hours with 1st Year Students (UCD) in Arts, Engineering , Business and Pre-Med.

Student ClassNo. of hours
Arts14.1 hours per week
Engineering23.95 hours per week
Business16.25 hours per week
Pre-Med16 hours per week


(i)   Student class contact hours will vary from week to week according to the particular modules taken. The figures represent the average weekly student class contact hours.

(ii) Students undertake a range of activities involving contact with staff. These include lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals and small group work which will vary by subject and by module.

(iii) A typical UCD 5 credit module will expect a total effort of between 100 and 125 hours from a student with variations in the balance between class contact and other forms of learning.

(iv) Students taking programmes in UCD typically have the opportunity to take up to ten ECTS credits outside their main programme area – UCD Horizons electives – and so will not necessarily share the same contact hour load with their programme cohort.

(v) Students in UCD may have access to option modules (e.g. ‘choose two of the following four ...’) and so will not necessarily share the same contact hour load with their programme cohort.

(vi) These numbers do not include repeat or other partial registrations where individual circumstances rather than programme design determine a given student’s workload.

Multidenominational Schools

 332. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to locate a multidenominational or Educate Together school in the De la Salle campus in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13324/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department understands that the Patron of the school in question is in ongoing discussions with the relevant stakeholders in the Ballyfermot area as part of its assessment of future school accommodation needs in the area. While my Department is aware of the Patron's discussions locally, it has not received a proposal from the Patron in this regard.

Schools Building Projects Status

 333. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide funding for a new second level school in the Raheen-Dooradoyle area of Limerick; the stage this project is at; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13328/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn In June 2011 I announced that some 20 new post primary schools are to be established up to 2017 to cater for increasing demographics across a number of locations. That announcement did not include a proposal to establish a new school for the Raheen/Dooradoyle area of Limerick.

My Department is currently analysing the demographics for all areas, including those for Limerick city, to determine where any further new schools may be needed into the future.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 334. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of staff in his Department earning over €100,000; and if he will provide details of the roles under which these staff members are employed. [13331/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn There are currently thirteen staff earning salaries of over €100,000 in my Department. The following table sets out the roles of those staff as requested.

Role DescriptionRates of Pay over €100,000.00
SECRETARY GENERAL EDUCATION176,350.00
DEPUTY SECRETARY156,380.00
CHIEF INSPECTOR EDUCATION149,175.00
ASST SECRETARY136,496.00
ASST SECRETARY136,496.00
ASST SECRETARY136,496.00
ASST SECRETARY136,496.00
ASST SECRETARY136,496.00
ASST SECRETARY136,496.00
ASST SECRETARY130,706.00
DIRECTOR104,316.88
DIRECTOR NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE (NEPS) 103,358.00
DEPUTY CHIEF INSPECTOR100,280.00


The table includes the following:

Staff directly employed in the Department including Inspectorate & NEPS staff and staff on secondment.

Staff rates of pay inclusive of allowances and job pattern.

School Enrolments

 335. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide details on the catchment area for a school (details supplied) County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13349/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. In this regard a Board of Management may find it necessary to restrict enrolment to children from a particular area or a particular age group or on the basis of some other criterion. The criteria to be applied by schools in such circumstances are a matter for the schools themselves. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. Under section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to publish its enrolment policy.

Departmental Meetings

 336. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of times his Department received requests by Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 and 2013; the number of times his Department met with Philanthropy Ireland in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13386/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The information requested by the Deputy is being collated at present within my Department and will be made available to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

School Accommodation

 337. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding an application for additional permanent accommodation at a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13415/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school to which the Deputy refers made an application to my Department in November 2013 for the provision of ancillary accommodation. Given the current financial constraints within which my Department is operating, the position is that priority is being given to school applications for essential mainstream classroom and special education accommodation.

In that context, the appliciation was assessed and the school were advised that the application was not sucessful.

The school has recently appealed the decison. The matter is being reviewed and the outcome of that review will be conveyed to the school authorities shortly.

Education Policy

 338. 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 his views on correspondence regarding the raising of and giving an innovative approach to student engagement (details supplied).  [13431/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I met with the RAG CEO and Co-Founder Daithí De Buitléir on 4th July last. At this meeting I received a briefing on RAG's approach to student engagement. This is a very worthwhile initiative and should be encouraged.

I understand that last December Mr de Buitléir had a further meeting with Mr.Tom Boland CEO of the Higher Education Authority who was also provided with a briefing on the work of RAG. While the HEA is not in a position to provide funding for the initiative, I am informed that the HEA is exploring other ways that this worthy endeavour could fruitfully be supported in the third level sector.

School Enrolments

 339. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Questions Nos.113 and 179 of 11 March 2014, in the context of the overall analysis of demographic data, where he says that his Department is addressing the short-term needs with the relative patrons, the steps that are open to parents where all the patron schools in the area refuse to take their child.  [13433/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Deputy may be aware that on 12 March 2013, I announced that a new Educate Together primary school for the Malahide/Portmarnock area is expected to commence operation this coming September. The commencement of this school will alleviate pressure for school places in the area. This development is part of the process of primary school divestment and follows surveys of parents on patronage choice in some 43 areas including in Malahide/Portmarnock.

The school will be temporarily located in Holywell Educate Together National School. My Department is continuing to work on permanent accommodation for the school.

With regard to the Swords area, my Department has agreed additional junior infant intakes in three of the schools in the area. This will provide some 84 extra junior infant places for this coming September to relieve pressure for places in that area.

To answer the Deputy's question directly, Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, provides parents with an appeal process where a board of management of a school or a person acting on behalf of the Board refuses enrolment to a student. Where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to either the relevant Educational Training Board or to the Secretary General of my Department.

State Examinations

 340. 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 intervene in the case of a pupil (details supplied) in County Kildare, if he will ensure that a reader is provided to this student for their leaving certificate examination; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this student had such a provision for their junior certificate examination and that this support resulted in the student performing well in that set of exams; if his Department will not provide a reader, if he will allow the pupil's parents pay for such a support; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13441/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations. The State Examinations Commission operates a scheme of Reasonable Accommodations in the Certificate examinations. Applications for such accommodations are submitted by schools on behalf of their students. Full details of the scheme are available for downloading from their website: www.examinations.ie/candidates/reasonableaccommodations.

In view of this I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply to you

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 341. 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 respect of the Student Universal Support Ireland application for a person (details supplied) in County Cork, the reason the person has been assessed as being eligible for only 50% grant support as opposed to 100%; if the person's fees in the UK college are covered; if, in view of the psychological report that has been provided, any additional funding is available for extra classes. [13447/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter in the first instance for the awarding authority.

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy was originally refused a grant as the reckonable household income was in excess of the income thresholds allowed.

The student appealed the decision due to a change in circumstances and following provision of documents to support same, her application was reassessed and she was awarded a 50% Non-Adjacent Maintenance Grant.   

The student was not awarded a fee grant as, under the Student Grant Scheme 2013, the only financial support available to Irish undergraduate students studying outside the island of Ireland is the maintenance grant. The Student Grant Scheme does not provide for any additional funding for extra classes.

The Deputy will appreciate that the terms of the Student Grant Scheme are general in nature and exceptions cannot be made regardless of individual circumstances.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 342. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will confirm that based on his previous statement that it is a matter for schools to determine the approach or mix of approaches they will use when educating children with autism, if a school team were to decide to use a range of techniques from applied behaviour analysis literature, including a mix of discrete trial training, natural environment teaching, functional communication training, environmental accommodations and visual schedules, this would be regarded as consistent with his Department's policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13452/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As I previously advised the Deputy my Department's policy favours a child centred approach to the education of children with special educational needs. As each child with autism is unique, they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs, with access facilitated to individualised education programmes and fully qualified professional teachers who may draw from a range of autism specific interventions.

Such interventions include Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Treatment and Education of Autistic Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).

The exclusive use by a school of any one intervention would not be consistent with my Department's policy.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 343. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will confirm that the only person involved in Irish Task Force on Autism report who had professional qualifications in ABA is a person (details supplied); if this is the person he was referring to in his reply of 26 of February 2014; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this person has criticised his Department's interpretation of the task force's report with regard to the provision of ABA services to children with autism. [13453/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As I previously advised in the PQ response to which the Deputy refers, my Department's child centred policy is based on advice received from NEPS, the Inspectorate and the report of the Irish Task Force on Autism and takes full account of advice from a range of international experts on autism. I did not refer to any particular individual but noted that the various contributors who have informed this policy are numerous.

The Task Force which was set up in 2000 comprised a combination of parents, education and health professionals, advocates and researchers. I am aware that the member to whom the Deputy refers has a professional qualification in ABA, however I do not have sufficient information available to me to state definitively the she is the only member with such a qualification. I am also aware that the member in question subsequently engaged publically on the development of the policy.

The Deputy will be aware that I have asked the NCSE to provide policy advice on the educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders. The NCSE has advised that the policy advice will be delivered in the spring of 2015 and will draw upon findings gathered from an extensive consultation process which has already commenced.

The advice will also draw upon new research commissioned by the NCSE for this purpose as well as any other research which may be available and which the NCSE considers merits consideration. It will be open to all interested parties to contribute to the consultation process for the policy advice and I expect that the NCSE final report will reflect the broadest possible range of views and provide recommendations which will assist the development of policy for future years.

Home Tuition Scheme Administration

 344. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Question No. 197 of 4 February 2014, if he will clarify his statement that officials at his Department have been in correspondence with the directors of the facility referred to in this question, due to the fact that the Irish Centre of Behavioural Support and Research stated that the only contact made by his Department was a letter indicating him declining an offer for a meeting to address the queries in person; if he will meet with the Irish Centre of Behavioural Support and Research as they have major concerns that need to be addressed by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13455/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the statement by the centre in question on the level of correspondence between their directors and my officials is not correct. The position is that my officials contacted the centre by email of 25th October 2013. My officials then met with the directors on 26th November 2013 and subsequently corresponded with them on 4th December 2013. A further letter was issued on 10 January 2014 and again on 26th February 2014.

The subject of the engagement was twofold. Firstly the directors wished to engage with my Department on the possibilities of providing home tuition services through their centre. The second element was the desire of the Directors of the Centre to engage my officials on my Department's current policies around the education of Children with Autism.

On the first issue, my officials offered full assistance to the Directors. On the second issue, my officials advised the Directors that I have asked the NCSE to provide policy advice on the educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders. My officials advised the Directors that the NCSE process would provide for a full opportunity to engage in the consultation around the development of the policy advice.

My officials have indicated that it is open to all interested parties equally including the centre referred to by the Deputy to contribute to the consultation process for the policy advice and I expect that the NCSE final report will reflect the broadest possible range of views and provide recommendations which will assist the development of policy for future years.

While my officials are happy to provide factual information on the current policy in response to any query raised, it is clear that, while the NCSE consultation process is underway, no parties should be facilitated in seeking to influence current policies by means other than engaging in the process that has been set out for all.

The NCSE has advised that the policy advice will be delivered in the spring of 2015.

My unavailability to meet with the directors of the centre remains unchanged.     

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 345. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Question No. 243 of 4 February 2014, in which he stated that his Department's inspectorate previously reviewed the education being provided by one of the private pre-school providers in question which involved engagement with the primary teachers they employed; if he will specify the engagement, if any, that occurred with the teachers as to the way they feel regarding their capacity, ability, skills and training to work with children with special needs and children with challenging behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13457/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As outlined in my previous reply to the Deputy, my Department's inspectorate reviewed the education being provided by one of the private pre-school providers in a number of locations which involved engagement with the primary teachers they employed.

In terms of the engagement with the teachers, parts of the report on the review were based on the Inspector's observations of the staff in the classroom situation, in particular, the methodologies employed in implementing the pupils' programmes and the way they engaged with pupils. This allowed the reviewer to conclude that staff members including teachers demonstrated a clear understanding of their roles. The report also referenced how on-site training had been availed of by some of the staff and others had completed courses on ABA, PECS, TEACCH and Verbal/Challenging Behaviour.   

School Enrolments

 346. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 153 and 154 of 11 March 2014, if his Department applies or ensures any fairness measurement to the clear procedures regarding the way places are allocated to students for transition year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13476/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As the Deputy will be aware, the Transition Year (TY) is a one-year programme that forms the first year of a three-year senior cycle. It is designed to act as a bridge between the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate programmes. The TY programme is available to all second level schools.

Each school designs its own Transition Year programme to suit the needs and interests of its students. A Transition Year Programmes document published by my Department provides overarching guidelines on the Transition Year.

The management authority of each school carries responsibility for making decisions regarding the Transition Year Programme in that school. In some schools, the programme is compulsory for all students. In those that offer it as an option, circumstances may arise where it is necessary to limit the number of students who can avail of it.

It is the board of management of each individual school that decides the number of places available to students on programmes such as Transition Year. In cases where restrictions apply, the procedures regarding how places are allocated to students are a matter for the school itself.

Departmental Properties

 347. 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 details of any schools where the property ceased to be used as a school; if he has received a request to release his interest under the charging lease in the building from the relevant school patron during the past five years including details of the school or property concerned as well as the patron; the number and details of the requests accepted by him; and the details of any moneys concerned. [13486/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Information in relation to requests to release the Minister's interest under charging leases in respect of properties which cease to be used as schools is held on individual school files. Therefore the information sought by the Deputy is not available in a format that provides readily accessible cumulative information on the overall situation.

The scope of the Deputy's request requires substantial administrative time to identify and extract the full range of details sought. However, I will forward the information to the Deputy at as early a date as possible.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

 348. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if the special rate of maintenance grant will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13492/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy was awarded 100% non-adjacent rate of grant for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 academic years.

The applicant appealed the decision to refuse the special rate of grant for the 2013/14 academic year, firstly to SUSI and subsequently to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board and the original decision was upheld.

Information provided by the Department of Social Protection confirmed that the applicant's mother's application for Invalidity Pension in 2011 was disallowed. Accordingly, as the reckonable income in this case did not include a specified eligible social welfare payment, the applicant was not eligible for the special rate of grant.

However, if the applicant is now in a position to provide documentary evidence from the Department of Social Protection confirming that her mother is in receipt of an Invalidity Pension (or any other eligible payment), she is advised to submit same to SUSI, the grant awarding authority, in order for her eligibility for the special rate of grant to be reviewed.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 349. 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 the position regarding the allocation of special needs assistants to children in a pre-school environment; if the allocation of SNAs to children in pre-schools by the National Council for Special Education is permitted; the changes planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13498/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the vast majority of supports for childcare, including pre-school education, is provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The principle vehicle for the delivery of pre-school education is the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme which was introduced in January 2010 and provides for early learning in a formal setting to children in the year before they commence primary school.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) currently provides for care support for pupils with special needs attending a range of pre-schools.

Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are allocated to Special Schools and to mainstream Primary and Post Primary schools to assist children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs. Such support is provided in order to facilitate the attendance of those pupils at school and also to minimise disruption to class or teaching time for the pupils concerned, or for their peers, and with a view to developing their independent living skills.

This may, in some instances, include provision for children who are enrolled to early intervention classes in recognised primary schools, or special schools, where support is provided for as part of the schools total quantum of SNA support. However, SNA support is not provided to pre-school services which operate outside of the primary or special school provision.

School Enrolments

 350. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of children he would like to see pre-enrolled to confirm parental demand in the proposed Steiner School in Knocknacarra, Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13508/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school to which the Deputy refers is intended to be a single-stream school. Under the current pupil/teacher ratio of 28:1, a single stream school would be expected to cater for some 224 pupils when fully developed.

Clár Tógála Scoileanna

 351. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn cad é an staid reatha maidir le hathchóiriú scoile agus tógáil síneadh (sonraí leis seo); cad é an banda ar a bhfuil an scoil; cén chéim ag a bhfuil an scoil sa bpróiseas; cad é an costas measta don togra; cén tosaíocht atá ag an scoil i bhfianaise chomh mífheiliúnach agus atá an foirgneamh agus an plódú atá í gceist agus na foirgintí réamhdhéanta atá ag an scoil á dtógáil san áireamh ; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [13548/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Is féidir liom a dheimhniú go bhfuair an Roinn iarratas mór caipitil ón scoil dá dtagraíonn an Teachta.

Mar is eol gan dabht don Teachta tugtar cuntas sa Phlean Tógála Chúig Bliana, a d'fhógair mé ar 9 Márta 2012, na tionscadail mhóra tógála a ndéanfar tosú ar iad a thógáil i gcaitheamh an phlean chun freastal ar fhás suntasach déimeagrafach. Sa chomhthéacs seo, níorbh fhéidir an tionscadal don scoil seo a chur san áireamh.

Le deireanaí, áfach, chuir údaráis na scoile togra athbhreithnithe malartach faoi bhráid i dtaca le síneadh ar an scoil chun freastal ar na riachtanais fhadtéarmacha cóiríochta a bheidh aici. Tá costas measta curtha ag an Roinn ar an togra seo, atá íogair ó thaobh na tráchtála de mar a thuigfidh tú.

Tá an Roinn gafa le pléanna mionsonraithe leis an scoil i dtaca leis an togra seo agus sa chomhthéacs sin tá mo Roinnse tar éis bheith i dteagmháil le déanaí le húdaráis na scoile faoin ngnó. A luaithe a bheidh freagra faighte beifear in ann an tionscadal a chur ar aghaidh a thuilleadh.

Schools Building Projects Applications

 352. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Question No. 121 of 21 March 2012, if he will review the decision not to progress this project to tender and construction in view of the fact that the community served by the school grew by 38% in the last census; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13588/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Deputy will be aware that the overriding objective of Education capital expenditure is to meet the demographic challenge facing the education system whereby total pupil enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by around 107,000 additional pupils between 2012 and 2019 - over 70,000 at primary level and over 35,000 at post primary - and will continue to rise at post-primary level to the year 2026 at least. The 5 Year Construction Plan prioritises major school projects in areas where future significant demographic changes have been identified. In that regard, it was not possible to progress all school building projects concurrently.

This school project in addition to other school projects that are currently within the Department's architectural planning process, but which were not included in the Five Year Plan, are being progressed to the final planning stages in anticipation of further funding becoming available to my Department in future years. However, I am not in position to provide an indicative timeline for the progression of those projects to construction stage at this time.

Schools Building Projects Status

 353. 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 further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 80 and 124 of 4 March 2014, if he will clarify what he means by phase one of the process to meeting the long-term accommodation needs of a school in County Mayo; if he will clarify what phase two and any subsequent phases will entail.  [13599/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn An all-in-devolved grant has been approved for the school referred to by the Deputy to provide 3 permanent replacement en-suite mainstream classrooms with some additional ancillary accommodation. These replacement classrooms will greatly enhance the schools accommodation and represents phase I of the process to meet the school's long term needs.

Phase II would include the provision of replacement ancillary accommodation including, for example, a staff room, and multi-purpose room. Given the current financial constraints within which my Department is operating, the position is that priority is being given to school applications for essential mainstream classroom and special education accommodation. In this regard, the provision of ancillary accommodation cannot be prioritised at this time.


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