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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 391-402
 Header Item School Completion Programme
 Header Item School Completion Programme
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item School Enrolments Data
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Third Level Staff Data
 Header Item English Language Training Organisations

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 391-402

School Completion Programme

 391. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan the funding allocated to the school completion programme during each year while it was the responsibility of her Department. [46966/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan In 2011, under the National Education Welfare Board (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order, 2011 responsibility for the School Completion Programme (SCP) transferred to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The full budget allocation for SCP, in 2011, was €30.3m. This funding transferred to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2011.

Prior to the transfer of functions SCP was administered by my Department from 2002 to 2010 and the expenditure for this programme during that time is detailed below:



Year
Expenditure on School Completion Programme
2002€1,850,051.69
2003€9,896,791.44
2004€23,460,862.02
2005€22,061,091.99
2006€21,703,205.25
2007€30,241,999.17
2008€28,951,990.65
2009€30,404,353.22
2010€30,007,485.95

School Completion Programme

 392. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan if she has met officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to discuss the school completion programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46967/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan In 2011, under the National Education Welfare Board (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order, 2011 responsibility for the School Completion Programme (SCP) transferred to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Since January 2014 the School Completion Programme has been administered by TUSLA on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).

  My Department liaises with DCYA and TUSLA on an ongoing basis in relation to Educational Welfare Services including the School Completion Programme and is currently participating in a review of the School Completion Programme which is being undertaken by the ESRI.

The School Completion Programme is a key support for DEIS schools under the DEIS School Support Programme and plays an important role in the positive learning outcomes being achieved in those schools.   In that context I have recently written to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs with regard to future funding for the Programme.

Services for People with Disabilities

 393. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan the options available in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare to assist with the education of a child; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46969/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I wish to advise the Deputy that all schools have been allocated additional teaching resources to cater for children with high incidence special educational needs, including Specific Learning Disability (SLD), of which dyslexia is one such Specific Learning Disability.

  All mainstream Primary schools have been allocated additional teaching resources under the General Allocation Model (GAM) to cater for children with high incidence special educational needs, including SLDs. It is a matter for individual schools to use their professional judgement to identify pupils who will receive this support and to use the resources available to the school to intervene at the appropriate level with such pupils. Schools are supported in this regard by the National Educational Psychological Services.

  My Department has provided guidelines for schools in relation to the utilisation of additional teaching resources which have been allocated to them for pupils with high incidence special educational needs. These include Circular SpEd 02/05 and the National Edcuational Psychological Services (NEPS) Continuum of Support Guidelines.

  It is a matter for schools to then monitor and utilise their allocation of additional teaching support to best support the needs of identified pupils, in accordance with my Department's guidance. The teaching time afforded to each individual pupil is decided and managed by schools, taking into account each child's individual learning needs.

  A parent who feels that their child requires additional learning support in school should raise this matter directly with their school Principal in the first instance, or with the Board of Management of the school.

  Finally, I wish to explain that further resources provided to schools to support pupils with SLDs include funding for the purchase of specialised equipment such as computers and/or software to assist children with special educational needs, including children with SLDs, once relevant professionals recommend the equipment as being essential for the provision of education. Schools can apply to the local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) directly for this support.

An information resource pack on dyslexia in CD-Rom, DVD and video format, has been developed by my Department in association with the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. This product has been made available to all primary and post-primary schools. The DVD and video provides support for parents of pupils with dyslexia while the CD-Rom assists teachers who are teaching children with dyslexia in the mainstream classroom.

Schools Building Projects Status

 394. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan if she will prioritise a school building for a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the current school building is in a deplorable condition, is overcrowded and totally unfit for use; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46978/14]

 401. Deputy Seamus Healy Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan if she will approve the redevelopment of a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary which is operating for the past 20 years in substandard conditions and is a major health and safety concern; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47074/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I propose to take Questions Nos. 394 and 401 together.

The next step in the architectural planning process for the school building project referred to by the Deputy is to appoint a full design team to complete the design of the extension and refurbishment works required. The tender process to appoint the design team will commence early in the new year.

The project will provide for refurbishment of the listed buildings on site and an extension to provide overall accommodation for a 16 classroom school. My Department has already secured planning permission for the project using in-house architectural resources. Once appointed, the design team will work on the basis established under that planning permission to bring this project through the remaining stages of the architectural planning process.

School Staffing

 395. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan her views on estimates that 10% to 12% of children attending Irish schools both primary and secondary schools are from an immigrant background and in many cases English is not the first language; if it is therefore a cause for concern that positions such as English language support posts have been reduced and also pre-service English additional language is only available to teachers on a very limited scale; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46986/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Teacher allocations are approved annually in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment.

Reforms introduced in the 2012/13 school year created a single simplified allocation process for both learning and language support. At primary level, learning/language support hours are allocated on the basis of mainstream classroom teaching posts in the school. At post-primary level, learning/language support is allocated on the basis of pupil numbers. Schools have autonomy to deploy this resource between learning support and language support depending on the specific needs of the school.

The new arrangements also provided for additional permanent teaching posts to be given to schools with high concentration of pupils that require language support. Further additional temporary support is also provided, as necessary, to schools that have high concentrations of pupils (at least 20% of total enrolment) that require language (EAL) support. These allocations are made on the basis of appeals by any of these schools to the Staffing Appeals Board. The appeal criteria are set out in the published staffing arrangements.

The Teaching Council's criteria for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) sets out the mandatory elements to be contained in all Initial Teacher Education Programmes. These include Inclusive Education, (Special Education, Multiculturalism, Disadvantage, etc) Literacy, Numeracy and Differentiation. The Council's criteria does not overly prescribe what should be covered in programmes, rather, the approach is that ITE is about the development of critical core skills, which can then be applied to any range of issues in the classroom, possibly with the benefit of further up-skilling post-qualification.

The Professional Development Service for Teachers offer workshops and school support in the area of EAL to primary schools. The purpose of the workshops is to provide key information on EAL to both language support teachers and teachers supporting children with EAL under the general allocation model. At post-primary level, support is made available to schools on request in the area of EAL and work on literacy incorporates aspects of EAL in many cases.

School Enrolments Data

 396. Deputy Joe Costello Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan the number of pupils in each of the primary schools in the parish of St. Lawrence O’Toole, North Wall, Dublin 1, in each of the past five years; her plans for the future of the schools and schooling in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46991/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The Statistic's Section of my Department's website i.e. www.education/statistics.ie contains extensive data at individual school level in County order. The most recent published information relates to the 2013/2014 school year.

The National School Annual Census is generally returned by schools to the Department by end October. Data relating to the 2014/15 school year will be published later in the current school year.

Due to additional funding made available for the schools' building programme as part of the Government's "Investing in Infrastructure and Jobs" package, 28 school projects that were not contained in the Five Year Plan but had completed extensive architectural planning are now being progressed to tender and construction. One school in the area to which the Deputy refers benefitted from this initiative.

My Department is also considering applications for capital works from two schools in the area and my Department expects to be in a position to liaise further with the schools in question shortly.

School Staffing

 397. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan the discussions that have taken place regarding 2015 staffing arrangements in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Mayo. [47030/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The criteria used for the allocation of teachers to primary schools is published annually. 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 previous 30 September. The staffing arrangements also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. The school referred to by the Deputy is currently a three teacher school, on the basis of an enrolment of 59 pupils on 30th September 2013.

The staffing arrangements for the 2015/16 school year will be published early in 2015 and this will enable schools to determine their staffing levels for that school year.

Departmental Expenditure

 398. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan the payroll savings to her Department as a result of the one day of industrial action by secondary school teachers on 2 December 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47041/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The total estimated savings arising from the one day of industrial action by teachers in voluntary secondary, community/comprehensive and ETB schools is 4.8 million euros. This includes employers PRSI and substitution costs.

Departmental Staff Data

 399. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan if she will provide in details the consequences there will be to personnel numbers for the State examination section of her Department if the reforms of the junior certificate as outlined will proceed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47047/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan There are no plans to change staff numbers in the State Examinations Commission.

I have put a revised proposal on the table which is different from that originally proposed. This has not been accepted by the teacher unions. What is clear is that reform will be introduced gradually over a period of time and will only be fully implemented in September 2019 (for terminal examination in June 2022) and that there will be no reduction in staffing requirements for the State Examinations Commission.

Third Level Staff Data

 400. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan her plans to address the under-representation of women in senior academic positions in third level institutions. [47071/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I understand from data released by the HEA that women represent 43% of academic staff in the universities and institutes of technology. 21% of professors and associate professors in Irish universities are female, with the national average at 19%. This is not a problem that is unique to Ireland. The European Commission's 2012 report, Gender in Research and Innovation, showed that, across the EU Member States, women represented only 20% of professorial staff.

The HEA has a specific legislative role in relation to 'promoting the attainment of equality of opportunity in higher education'. The Universities Act 1997 and the Institutes of Technology Act 2006 require our higher education institutions to promote gender-balance and equality of opportunity among students and staff, and to prepare and implement statements of policy in respect of equality, including gender equality, across all of their activities. The HEA has a role in reviewing these policies.

The HEA also publishes profiles of individual higher education institutions and these provide the framework for the enhancement of data-collection by the HEA across all areas of the mission of higher education, and they will be complemented by the development of a database of staff employed in the sector, empowering us to ensure that gender-equality at all levels within the academic profession in Ireland becomes a reality.

  Question No. 401 answered with Question No. 394.

English Language Training Organisations

 402. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the €60 per week charge to students transferring in to Marketing English in Ireland-facilitated courses following the closure of language schools they were registered at is unaffordable for many students. [47161/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Marketing English in Ireland (MEI) is an association of 54 recognised English-language schools in Ireland. All MEI schools have ACELS (Accreditation and Co-ordination of English Language Services) recognition. On the basis of MEI's involvement with the Task Force on Students Affected by the Closure of Private Colleges, MEI schools have been assisting genuine displaced students in completing their studies following the closure of a number of private colleges this year. MEI schools have agreed to provide course places to genuine displaced students at a fee of €60 per week. This fee, which was calculated on a cost provision basis, represents a significant discount of 70% on the standard fees for an MEI school in acknowledgement that a fee has already been paid to the closed college.

MEI schools provide an additional support to displaced students in that they have arrangements in place for the protection of learners. The private colleges which have closed did not have such learner protection arrangements in place.

The normal practice is for MEI schools to require total course fees on enrolment. However individual MEI schools have facilitated displaced students by allowing them to make weekly payments instead to provide further support in managing the payment.

As of Friday 5 December 2014, MEI had received 720 enquiries from students in relation to their discounted course offer. A total of 565 students have now taken up the MEI offer.


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