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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 209-223
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item School Staff
 Header Item Oideachas trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Curaclam Scoile
 Header Item Curaclam Scoile
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts
 Header Item Early School Leavers
 Header Item School Staff
 Header Item National Council for Special Education
 Header Item School Funding
 Header Item Departmental Correspondence
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Departmental Staff

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 6
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 209-223

Schools Building Projects

 209. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the target date for opening of the new secondary school under construction at Moore Abbey, Monasterevin; the plans for the current site of a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17751/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The project for the school referred to by the Deputy commenced on site in October 2020 it is progressing satisfactorily with a contract duration of approximately 20 months.

  The current property referred to by the Deputy is not in my ownership. Any queries in relation to the property should be directed to the property owner in the first instance.

School Staff

 210. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if she will sanction the retention of a second teacher in a school (details supplied) in County Clare given that this school is just one pupil short of the required quota and assuming common sense would prevail here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17759/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley 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 schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

For the 2021/22 school year, an improvement of one point in the appointment threshold in primary schools has been introduced and schools will be provided with class teachers on the basis of 1 teacher for every 25 pupils. A three point reduction in the retention scale has also been introduced for September 2021. These measures will help to ensure that less pupils are required to recruit or retain a teacher.

The staffing process contains an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, including a specific appeal measure for small schools, to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department.

The staffing schedule for the 2021/22 school year, including the appeals process, is available on the Department website.

Oideachas trí Ghaeilge

 211. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Oideachais Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley cathain a fhoilseofar an polasaí cuimsitheach don Ghaeilge ón oideachas réamhscolaíochta go dtí oiliúint na múinteoirí do gach scoil, mar atá geallta sa Chlár Rialtais; cén dul chun cinn atá déanta ar an bpolasaí seo; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [17761/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Tá obair leanúnach ar siúl ag mo Roinn le réamhphleanáil ar na céimeanna atá ag teastáil chun polasaí don oideachas lán-Ghaeilge a fhorbairt. Táim ag súil leis an obair thábhachtach seo a thabhairt chun cinn chun tógáil ar na torthaí dearfacha atá bainte amach cheana féin i gcur i bhfeidhm an Pholasaí don Oideachas Gaeltachta chun an t-oideachas lán-Ghaeilge a láidriú. Táim ag súil le bheith ag obair leis na páirtithe leasmhara ábhartha éagsúla chun an obair thábhachtach seo a chur chun cinn.

Curaclam Scoile

 212. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Oideachais Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley an mbeadh sí sásta an tréimhse ama don phróiseas comhairliúcháin faoin gcuraclam nua a mholtar do Ghaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta a leathnú ionas go mbeidh múinteoirí, scoileanna agus príomhoidí in ann páirt a ghlacadh i gceart sa phróiseas gan cur leis an mbrú faoina bhfuil siad ag obair faoi láthair agus srianta Covid-19, buairt sláinte agus coinníollacha nua múinteoireachta ag cur ualach breise ar a gcuid oibre; agus an aontaíonn sí nach féidir an chomhairle chuí a fháil ó mhúinteoirí, scoileanna agus príomhoidí agus iad faoin mbrú ollmhór seo. [17762/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley D'oscail an Chomhairle Náisiúnta Curaclaim agus Measúnachta (NCCA) an comhairliúchán ar dhréacht-shonraíochtaí do Ghaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta ar an 23 Feabhra 2021. Agus an próiseas comhairliúcháin á phleanáil agus á dhearadh, chuimhnigh an NCCA ar na cúinsí an-dúshlánacha a chur san áireamh atá roimh mhúinteoirí, scoláirí, cheannairí scoile agus a bpobail mar gheall ar Covid-19. D’fhonn an oiread deiseanna agus is féidir a chur ar fáil dóibh siúd go léir ar spéis leo dul i mbun an phróisis, tá sé beartaithe an comhairliúchán seo a choinneáil ar oscailt ar feadh tréimhse sé mhí. De ghnáth, déantar comhairliúcháin ar dhréacht-shonraíochtaí ábhair thar tréimhse idir sé agus ocht seachtaine.

Tá an NCCA ag úsáid réimse teicnící comhairliúcháin lena n-áirítear suirbhé ar líne, grúpa fócais agus cruinnithe déthaobhacha, chomh maith le haighneachtaí i scríbhinn chun eispéiris agus peirspictíochtaí na rannpháirtithe ar gach gné de na dréacht-shonraíochtaí a bhailiú agus a thaifeadadh. Áirítear orthu seo na cineálacha eispéiris foghlama, teagaisc agus measúnaithe atá leagtha amach do scoláirí.

Chun feasacht a mhúscailt níos mó faoin deis seo chun cur leis na forbairtí curaclaim seo agus chun rannpháirtíocht chomh leathan agus is féidir a chumasú, tá an NCCA ag obair as láimh a chéile le comhghleacaithe i roinnt eagraíochtaí laistigh den earnáil oideachais lán-Ghaeilge chomh maith. Mar shampla, d'óstáil an NCCA, i gcomhar le Gaeloideachas, seisiún faisnéise agus ansin reáchtáladh grúpaí fócais comhairliúcháin do mhúinteoirí i suíomhanna T1/L1 go luath i mí an Mhárta.

Tá tuilleadh cruinnithe grúpa fócais le múinteoirí i gcomhthéacsanna T1 agus T2 beartaithe i gcomhar le COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta).

Tá a fhios agam gur chuir roinnt eagraíochtaí Gaeilge in iúl go bhfuil imní orthu maidir leis an tréimhse chun an próiseas comhairliúcháin atá ar siúl a chríochnú. Tuigim go mbeidh an NCCA ag bualadh le cuid de na heagraíochtaí seo an mhí seo chugainn. Beidh deis ann ansin na saincheisteanna sin a phlé.

Is maith a thuigeann an NCCA an tábhacht agus an luach a bhaineann le haiseolas láidir ó gheallsealbhóirí ar dhréacht-shonraíochtaí curaclaim chun bonn eolais a chur faoi dhoiciméad dá leithéid agus iad á gcur i gcrích. I bhfianaise na paindéime atá ann faoi láthair tá athbhreithniú leanúnach á dhéanamh ag an NCCA ar an bpróiseas comhairliúcháin atá ar siúl.

Curaclam Scoile

 213. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Oideachais Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley cén fáth a ndéanfadh dalta scoile nó scoil cúrsa T1 a roghnú in ionad T2 mar atá molta don Ghaeilge san Ardteist nuair nach bhfuil buntáiste ar bith ag gabháil leis, agus go mbeadh sé níos deacra marcanna arda a bhaint amach toisc an scrúdú a bheith níos deacra agus an caighdeán iomaíochta a bheith níos airde. [17763/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Sna dréacht-sonraíochtaí T1 agus T2 le haghaidh na hArdteistiméireachta don Ghaeilge a d’fhoilsigh an Chomhairle Náisiúnta Curaclaim agus Measúnaithe tá roinnt seachtainí ó shin i gcomhair comhairliúcháin, tógtar ar na forbairtí suntasacha i soláthar curaclaim na Gaeilge ar leibhéil na bunscolaíochta agus na Sraithe Sóisearaí. Mar fhreagra d’aiseolas ó na páirtithe leasmhara, tugadh isteach sonraíochtaí idirdhealaithe T1 agus T2 don tSraith Shóisearach den chéaduair in 2017. Ina dhiaidh sin tugadh isteach Curaclam Theanga na Bunscoile nua (don Ghaeilge agus don Bhéarla) i leith na gcéimeanna uile ar leibhéal na bunscolaíochta in 2019, atá idirdhealaithe freisin do chomhthéacsanna T1 agus T2.

Is é cuspóir mo Roinne feabhas a chur ar chaighdeáin oideachais agus ar cháilíocht na n-eispéireas foghlama do na daltaí go léir, lena n-áirítear a ndeiseanna chun dul i ngleic le staidéar na Gaeilge de réir a gcumas sa Ghaeilge thar an gcontanam. I soláthar na sonraíochtaí T1 agus T2 faoi choinne na Gaeilge le haghaidh na hArdteistiméireachta, tógtar ar an soláthar idirdhealaithe atá ann don Ghaeilge ar leibhéil na bunscolaíochta agus na sraithe sóisearaí, trína gceadaítear do dhaltaí a gcuid scileanna agus a n-inniúlachtaí sa Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, a dhaingniú agus a fheabhsú. Faoi mar a dúradh i sonraíocht na Sraithe Sóisearaí, tá tábhacht ar leith ag baint le soláthar na sonraíochta T1 i leith na Gaeilge sna scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge chun tacú le rochtain na ndaltaí ar an bhfoghlaim agus ar choincheapa in ábhair eile agus ar éispéiris foghlama thar an gcuraclam ar fad, agus chun forbairt a dhéanamh ar a n-inniúlacht maidir le láimhsiú na gcoincheap sin agus lena bhfoghlaim a léiriú agus le go mbeidís mar chumarsáidithe as Gaeilge trí leas a bhaint as réimse scileanna teanga ar mhaithe leis an oideachas agus mar shaoránaigh ghníomhacha ina bpobail teanga.

Tuigtear dom go bhfuil na páirtithe leasmhara tar éis tuairimí a chur in iúl maidir leis an tslí chun sonraíocht T1 na hArdteistiméireachta a ghríosú. Tá sé tábhachtach a thabhairt faoi deara go bhfuil na sonraíochtaí T1 agus T2 ar chéim an chomhairliúcháin san am i láthair agus dá réir sin d’fhéadfaidís athrú, ag brath ar aiseolas na bpáirtithe leasmhara. Féadaim a dheimhniú, áfach, go bhfuil oifigigh mo Roinne ag déanamh bearta iomchuí a mheas a d’fhéadfaí iad a chur i bhfeidhm le go spreagfaí roghnú na sonraíochta T1. Déanfar a leithéid de bhearta a mheas i gcomhchomhairle leis an Roinn Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán (RTCEGSM), ós í ár gcomhpháirtí Roinne í le go mbainfear amach réimse beart a bhaineann leis an oideachas faoi mar atá leagtha amach sa Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030. Sa dóigh sin, tá ról tábhachtach ag baint le soláthar curaclaim na Gaeilge inár scoileanna chun cur le cuspóir soiléir an Rialtais maidir le líon na n-úsáideoirí laethúla Gaeilge a ardú taobh amuigh den chóras oideachais agus maidir leis an aidhm foriomlán a bhaint amach lena mbeidh Gaeilge ag 20% d’earcaigh nua sa tseirbhís phoiblí faoin mbliain 2030 i gcomhréir le Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla.

Public Procurement Contracts

 214. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if she will address a proposal raised in correspondence (details supplied); if she will forward same to the relevant procurement officials if appropriate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17783/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley I would like to thank the Deputy for bringing this information to my attention and my officials will contact the company in question directly.

  As the Deputy is aware all funding allocated by my Department to allow school management authorities carry out building or improvement works to their schools, must be offered to the market in accordance with EU and National procurement guidelines.

Early School Leavers

 215. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if her attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied); the way in which she plans to address the anticipated increase in early school leavers in the area; if there are plans to provide more NEET supports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17787/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley DEIS – Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools is the main policy initiative of my Department of Education to address educational disadvantage at school level.

  In the 2020/21 academic year there are 887 schools in the DEIS Programme serving over 185,000 pupils - 689 Primary and 198 Post Primary.

  My Department’s spend on DEIS in 2021 is over €150million, which includes over €26 million for the School Completion Programme (SCP). The desired impact of the SCP is the retention of a young person to Leaving Certificate, equivalent qualification or suitable level of educational attainment which enables them to transition into further education, training or employment.

   My Department’s investment in 2021 includes providing for;

  - 419 Home School Community Liaison Coordinators serving 539 schools, catering for approximately 156,000 pupils.

  - Additional posts for DEIS Band 1 primary schools to allow for a reduced pupil teacher ratio.

  - Curriculum supports

  - Priority access to continuing professional development

  - School Excellence Fund - DEIS

  - DEIS grants and enhanced book grants.

  As part of the Budget 2021 I announced the following additional measures to tackle educational disadvantage;

  - An extension of the School Completion Programme to include 14 urban primary and 14 post-primary schools newly included in DEIS in 2017, costing €,600,000 in 2021 and €1 million over a full year

  - A 5% increase in funding for the School Completion Programme to support the attendance and participation of vulnerable learners and those at risk of education disadvantage, costing €780,000 in 2021 and €1.3 million over a full year

  - A reduction of the enrolment threshold for the allocation of an additional Deputy Principal in DEIS post-primary schools, from 700 to 600 pupils allowing for an additional Deputy Principal allocation to 13 DEIS post-primary schools.

  In addition, work is underway in detailing proposals for the provision of a summer programme in 2021 to include DEIS schools.

  Tusla Education Support Service (TESS), which includes Home School Community Liaison Coordinators, Educational Welfare Officers and School Completion Programme staff play a key role in supporting pupils at risk of educational disadvantage and on supporting the return to school of all students. TESS staff will continue to engage with students and families identified by schools as needing additional support, and will remain in ongoing contact with school principals to identify students who may need support.

  The Deputy will be aware that responsibility for further and higher education falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. I am advised that student supports are in place across further and higher education to make the transition back into education as easy as possible for the individual. Further education and training currently offers opportunities to many young people, through bespoke provision such as Youthreach which is aimed at early school leavers. Most learners on these courses meet the Youth Guarantee criteria. In addition, a young person from the age of 16 can apply to begin an apprenticeship.

  There has been a significant increase in the numbers of people who now find themselves not in employment, education or training as a result of Covid-19, and who are in need of upskilling. A range of measures were introduced as a response to upskilling and reskilling needs of individuals and businesses through the July Jobs Stimulus and Budget 2021. These measures are providing 35,000 education and training places at a cost of €100 million to help those who were displaced by the effects of Covid-19. A further 15,000 places were announced as part of the skills package in Budget 2021. Combined these measures include places on the Skills to Complete initiative, Springboard+, the Human Capital Initiative, additional places through Skillnet supported programmes, funding of the Apprenticeship Incentivisation scheme, the roll-out of retrofit training across the country and the expansion of the range of short-duration, part-time and online upskilling and reskilling offerings available for recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

  Further information can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/f205a-the-right-course/. The Right Course is a one stop shop for businesses, employees or unemployed persons and outlines the further and higher education options and supports available to them. The Right Course website draws together information on the wide range of services available from a variety of state- sponsored agencies and service providers into one central resource. The pages provide signposting to providers and contact details for those seeking further information.’

School Staff

 216. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if her attention has been drawn to a DEIS band 1 school (details supplied) which is set to lose a teacher despite increased enrolment for the 2021-2022 academic year; the way in which she plans to address this matter in view of the educational, social and economic disadvantage in the area; if she will review the threshold; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17790/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley 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 schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

Budget 2021 provided for a one point improvement to the staffing schedule and introduced new retention levels for all schools. On the 1st March 2021, I announced a further package of measures to tackle educational disadvantage, which extended the one point improvement to all DEIS schools.

The staffing process contains an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department.

The staffing schedule for the 2021/22 school year, including the appeals process, is available on the Department website.

National Council for Special Education

 217. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if the National Council for Special Education has completed and submitted its policy advice on education provision in special classes and special schools first commissioned in September 2018; the advice provided on the provision of reading schools for children with dyslexia; and when she will publish the policy advice. [17793/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Education (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs in special schools, in accordance with the policies of my Department.

Special school staffing allocations are reviewed and updated each year by the NCSE and special schools are staffed on the basis of each year’s current school enrolments.

Staffing arrangements for special schools are in line with policy advice provided by the NCSE in 2013, which did not recommend alteration to staffing ratios established under the Special Education Review Committee (SERC) Report in 1993.

Enhanced pupil teacher and SNA ratios are provided to special schools to support them in dealing with pupils' educational and care needs. These schools are staffed on the basis of individual pupil profile and the disability categorisations of those pupils, as opposed to being based primarily on school designation, in accordance with my Department's Circular 0032/2019 - Appointment of Administrative Deputy Principal and Staffing in Special Schools.

My Department also provides 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. A total of 63 SSLD special classes in mainstream primary schools have been provided for the 2020/2021 school year.

NCSE, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including applications to establish special classes for SSLD. Applications meeting the criteria for establishment are approved by the NCSE.

The opening and retention of SSLD special classes is, however, contingent on the Health Service Executive (HSE) being in a position to provide speech and language therapy to the students in the class. The availability and provision of speech and language therapy is the responsibility of the HSE.

The enrolment of pupils in SSLD special classes is managed locally by an Admissions & Discharges Committee, comprising the Speech and Language Therapy Manager, Speech and Language Therapist, Class Teacher and Principal.

As outlined in Circular 0038/2007, eligible pupils may spend up to two years in SSLD classes.

Students who are not enrolled in a special class for SSLD and who meet the SSLD criteria, as outlined in Circular 0038/2007, may qualify for additional Special Education Teaching (SET) support; as may students with mild speech and language difficulties. The school referred to by the Deputy has an allocation of 136 SET hours per week. 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 students. My Department is not directly involved in these decisions.

The NCSE is currently developing Policy Advice on Special Classes and Special Schools. My Department, in conjunction with the NCSE is also considering the existing definition of Specific Speech and Language Disorder (SSLD).

There will be no change to the criteria for enrolment in special classes for pupils with speech and language difficulties, pending the outcome of these considerations and the finalisation of the Policy Advice.

School Funding

 218. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley when a school (details supplied) will receive feedback and approval from her Department in respect of its pre-state 1 report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17807/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley In June 2019 the school in question was approved grant funding for three General Classrooms, two Standard WCs, a WC for assisted users, four SET rooms and a Science Lab with Prep area under the Additional Accommodation scheme for 2019. The delivery of this project is devolved to the school authority.

The school originally submitted a Stage 1 (preliminary design) report to my Department for review in April 2020, but a number of issues were identified with the report, and Department officials requested a revised design. The school submitted this in December 2020, and this report is currently being reviewed by Department officials. Feedback will issue to the school following completion of this review.

Departmental Correspondence

 219. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if the case of a company (details supplied) will be reviewed; the status of payment from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17816/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Education (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan Summer Provision 2020 – Reconnecting with Education, was a significantly expanded programme for children with complex special educational needs which aimed to re-establish the child’s relationships and connection with school and their peers as a basis for learning and participation and to help the child to re-engage in learning and social activities and help them adapt to new routines and changes.

  The programme aimed to ensure, in so far as possible, that the child would reintegrate/transition into their planned education setting for the next school year with their peers. In-school or home-based supports by teachers and SNAs helped to prevent regression among children with special needs.

  All completed payment claims were processed and paid within the agreed timeframe.

  The case referred to by the Deputy involved ongoing delays in submitting completed payment claim forms. I understand the applicant recently submitted completed forms and my Department has issued payment.   

Public Procurement Contracts

 220. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley when the available spaces on the panel for the provision of hand sanitiser to her Department for schools will go out to tender; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17825/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The Department’s multi supplier agreement for the provision of PPE including hand sanitiser has a term of one year, with four possible six month extension. The Department is considering the most appropriate procurement approach to meet the sectors’ future needs including the possible solutions that may be available from the Office of Government Procurement for the whole of the Public Sector.

Schools Building Projects

 221. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill Information on Jennifer Carroll MacNeill Zoom on Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the status of a school (details supplied); the status of the planning application by the school; the projected timeline for the tendering and construction process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17869/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The school building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is being delivered under my Department's Design and Build programme.

  The planning application for the project was submitted on 26th March 2021.

  Until such time as planning permission has been secured, it will not be possible to provide a timeline for the progression of the project to tender and construction stages.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 222. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the advice that has been given to all schools ahead of their return on 12 April 2021 and in particular secondary schools in relation to the wearing of masks by students outdoors while on break and outdoors during physical education (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17888/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley My Department received advice from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) on the use of face coverings in educational settings. Face coverings do not have to be worn outdoors.

Further information for parents and students on the wearing of face coverings including the proper use, removal and washing of cloth face coverings is available via the link: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/a04fc-advice-for-students-and-their-families/ . Information is also set out in the Covid-19 response plans for primary, special and post-primary schools available at www.gov.ie/backtoschool.   

Departmental Staff

 223. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if she will provide a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administration officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in her Department by gender in tabular form. [17906/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The attached tabular statement sets out a breakdown of the administrative grades of higher executive officer, administrative officer, assistant principal officer, principal officer and assistant secretary in my Department by gender.

Grade Male Female Headcount   Total (FTE)
Assistant Secretary
3
4
7
 
7
Principal Officer
22
18
40
 
39.8
Assistant Principal Officer
36
52
88
 
84.83
Higher Executive Officer
65
99
164
 
157.68
Administrative Officer
4
9
13
 
13


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