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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 250 - 262
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy Provision
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staff
 Header Item Summer Works Scheme Applications
 Header Item European Court of Justice Rulings
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Youth Work Projects Data

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 250 - 262

Speech and Language Therapy Provision

 250. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of classes that have been established to date and his plans to further expand a service in 2017 and 2018 in line with the commitment in the programme for Government to establish a new in-school speech and language service to support young children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17995/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Programme for a Partnership Government states that a new model of In-School Speech and Language Therapy will be established. It commits to investing an extra €500million in education by 2021, through measures including childcare subventions, HSE Speech and Language Therapists, to bring the number up to 1,102 (a 25% increase).

The Programme for a Partnership Government also contains a commitment to examine the adequacy of the present policies and provision, and their scope for improvement, particularly in relation to speech and language difficulties and early intervention.

As Speech and Language Therapists are currently employed by the Health Service Executive (HSE), officials at my Department are currently engaging with colleagues in the Department of Health and the HSE to develop a plan for the implementation of this commitment.

The Department of Health and the HSE are currently conducting a review and audit of the existing level of provision for Speech and Language Therapy nationwide. This will assist the development of the implementation plan which will then identify the actions to be taken and the specific timeframe for the delivery of this commitment.

In the interim my Department continues to provide an extensive range of supports for pupils with Specific Speech and Language Disorder (SSLD).

This includes provision for the establishment of special classes for pupils with SSLD in primary schools. 

For the 2016/17 school year 66 such special classes for pupils with SSLD were provided in primary schools. 

Applications to establish such classes are considered by the school's assigned Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) and those meeting the criteria for establishment are approved by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). The criteria for enrolment in a Special Class for pupils with SSLD is set out in my Department's Circular 0038/2007.

Pupils who are not enrolled in a special class for SSLD and who meet the criteria for Specific Speech and Language Disorder, as outlined in my Department's Circular, may qualify for additional teaching support where he/she is enrolled in mainstream school.

Pupils with mild speech and language difficulties may qualify for supplementary teaching support from within the school's general allocation of learning support/teaching support. 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.

Special Educational Needs Staff

 251. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton when he will allow the filling of the remainder of a school's (details supplied) allocation of special needs assistants in view of the fact that while the school has been allocated 18 special needs assistants only 14 are currently working at the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18010/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The school referred to by the Deputy is one of 13 new schools for ASD and Complex Needs that are currently being supported by my Department under a transitional agreement.

This includes regular engagement between the schools Patron Bodies and my officials through a Consultative Group forum. Officials in my Department are in contact with the school referred to by the Deputy and I understand the school has recently appointed 2 additional SNAs. A decision in respect of the appropriate levels of SNA supports in each of the 13 schools for the forthcoming school year will be taken following a review by the NCSE of existing staffing and of students needs in the schools.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocates SNA support to schools, in accordance with the criteria set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014, in order that students who have special educational needs and additional care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed. 

The purpose of the SNA scheme is to provide schools with additional adult support staff who can assist children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs.

The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme is designed to provide schools with additional adult support staff who can 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.  SNA support is allocated to schools to support pupils based on their assessed care needs, as opposed to being allocated on the basis of a particular disability diagnosis.

SNA allocations are accordingly not made to individual children, but are made to schools to support the care needs of children with assessed special educational needs in the school.

The consideration of professional reports is an integral part of determining the extent of supports to be provided for pupils with special educational needs.  In making allocations to schools, the NCSE takes into account the assessed individual needs of all children with identified needs in the school.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

 252. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will sanction funding for a school (details supplied) for upgrade works that were deferred in summer 2016 and are due to be completed in summer 2017. [18033/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The school to which the Deputy refers has been approved funding for electrical works under my Departments Summer Works Scheme 2016/2017.

  The school recently requested a funding uplift for the project on foot an increased scope of works.  Further information has been requested from the school on foot of this development.  When  this has been received and reviewed, a decision will issue to the school directly.

European Court of Justice Rulings

 253. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of providing all survivors of sex abuse in schools with compensation in line with the O'Keeffe ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18051/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Child protection has been a high priority for Government for many years and it is now current practice to review child protection measures regularly.  As part of this on-going process, it is a criminal offence where a person fails to disclose to the police information in relation to certain serious offences, including sexual offences against children and vulnerable persons.

  We have also introduced statutory vetting arrangements for people involved in working with children and vulnerable adults, including those working in schools.  The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 was commenced on 29 April 2016.    

  The measures that have been taken to protect and safeguard children should ensure that the risk of sex abuse by people who come into contact with children in our schools is absolutely minimal.   

  Sadly, this couldn't be said in the past.  I do not have data on the number of people who are survivors of sex abuse in our schools and am unable to provide the estimated cost of awarding each of these survivors with redress in line with that awarded as a result of the ECtHR judgement in the O'Keefe case.   

  The recent Comptroller and Auditor General's Special Report on the 'Cost of Child Abuse Inquiry and Redress' has shown there to be  major problems associated with attempting to predict numbers in this regard.  In the case of redress for residential abuse, the cost predicted by the then Fianna Fáil-led Government was €250 million but the final cost was, in fact, €1.5 billion.

  Question No. 254 answered with Question No. 249.

Schools Building Projects Status

 255. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the status of a school building project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18057/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton As the Deputy may be aware, officials from my Department have been working closely with officials from the relevant Local Authority to secure a suitable site to facilitate the delivery of permanent school accommodation for the school to which he refers.

Agreement in principle has been reached in relation to the acquisition by the Department of a site in the ownership of the Local Authority. The site in question is the current location of the school’s temporary accommodation and has been deemed to be technically suitable for the development of permanent accommodation.

Certain complex title issues associated with the site were identified as part of the standard conveyancing process. In order to overcome these the Local Authority initiated a Compulsory Purchase Order process. This process is subject to statutory timeframes but is now at an advanced stage. Once complete, my Department will work with the Local Authority to progress the transfer of ownership of the site into my name.

Once the site has been secured, it is my Department’s intention to initiate the architectural planning process for the provision of a new school building.

Youth Work Projects Data

 256. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a Youthreach programme in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18080/17]

 257. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a community training workshop programme in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18081/17]

 258. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a VTOS training workshop programme in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18082/17]

 259. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a specific skills training course in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18083/17]

 260. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a local training initiative programme in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18084/17]

 261. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a bridging training programme in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18085/17]

 262. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of young persons under 25 years of age who commenced a traineeship in 2015 and 2016, in tabular form. [18086/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan I propose to take Questions Nos. 256 to 262, inclusive, together.

  The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following tables:

Under 25 Participation 2015

-Starters
Bridging/Foundation*905
Community Training Centres*1,528
Justice Workshops*99
Local Training Initiatives*1,653
Specialist Training Providers*736
Specific Skills Long*1,965
Specific Skills Short*1,231
Traineeship*875
VTOS**827
Youthreach*3,266


Under 25 Participation 2016

-Starters
Bridging/Foundation*483
Community Training Centres*983
Justice Workshops*63
Local Training Initiatives*1,254
Specialist Training Providers*621
Specific Skills Long*2,073
Specific Skills Short*908
Traineeship*822
VTOS*****667
Youthreach****3,112
*Note

The starters will vary each year because the programme operates on a continuous intake over the full calendar year

**Note

This programme operates on an academic year basis

***Note

Provisional figures as 2   ETBs are not included at this point


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