Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

O'Sullivan, Jan

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


School Enrolments

Was asked: the discussions she has had in relation to the inclusion of provisions excluding denominational schools from using a child's religion in selection criteria for school admissions in the forthcoming ...More Button

Under the Equal Status Act, schools are not permitted to discriminate in admission on any of the grounds set out in the Act. However, the Act contains an exemption which permits schools in which t...More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the many positive elements of the admissions Bill, which will put an end to the charging of fees to parents who apply for a school place, tear down the soft barriers e...More Button

The issue of the need to amend the Equal Status Act was not a feature of the consultation paper published in advance of the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill. When the Oireachtas committee c...More Button

I have subsequently made clear my view that this is a matter that does need to be reviewed and addressed, and it will need to be a priority for the next Government so that it can be dealt with in...More Button

The Bill was published just before the summer, in April. I would like to have had time in the Dáil and Seanad to bring it through the Houses of the Oireachtas. I am not kicking the Bill to touch;...More Button

There will be an admissions Bill. There is no doubt about that. It will go through the Oireachtas after the election because it has to; it is something that will be addressed. My predecessor, De...More Button

Was asked: the discussions she has had on the inclusion of provisions excluding denominational schools from using a child's religion in selection criteria for schools admissions in the forthcoming schools adm...More Button

Under the Equal Status Act, schools are not permitted to discriminate in admission on any of the grounds set out in the Act. However the Act contains an exemption which permits schools in which the...More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the many positive elements of the Admissions Bill, which will put an end to parents being charged fees to apply for a school place, will tear down the soft barriers er...More Button

The issue of the need to amend the Equal Status Act was not a feature of the consultation paper published in advance of the Admission to Schools Bill. When the Oireachtas committee considered th...More Button

I have subsequently made clear my view that this is a matter that does need to be reviewed and addressed, and will need to be a priority for the next Government so that this matter can be dealt w...More Button

Was asked: if the new enrolment process will address difficulties that have emerged in recent years; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2015, which was published in April of this year and is on the Government's legislative programme for enactment in this session, introduces a number of impo...More Button

These changes include new powers for the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and the Child and Family Agency to designate a school place for children who have no school place. The Bill ...More Button

The Bill, while including provision for single sex schools and denominational schools to reflect in their admission policy the exemptions applicable to such schools under equality legislation, pr...More Button

The Bill seeks to strike an appropriate balance between school autonomy and the interests of parents in our education system. This can be achieved through regulations that foster greater transpar...More Button

School Enrolments (Continued)

There is still an issue with one of the unions but it is being implemented.More Button

The process of divestment has been slow. We are all disappointed about that but I have started a series of meetings in this respect. I met Education and Training Boards Ireland, ETBI, yesterday...More Button

School Patronage

Was asked: the status of the programme for divestment of patronage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The programme for Government gives a commitment to move towards a more pluralist system of patronage for our schools. In this context, the Government established a Forum on Patronage and Pluralism...More Button

The main purpose of the meetings is to find out the obstacles hindering divestment. There is a willingness in this respect at a macro level. Having listened to what Archbishop Martin said again t...More Button

There will be a focus on the areas where there has been a survey of parents and where there is a wish to have divestment, namely, the areas that have not so far been successful in terms of divest...More Button

I do not disagree that we need to address the Equal Status Act and that it needs to be amended. We are examining in what way it could be amended to protect, for example, minority religions in term...More Button

Was asked: the status of the transfer of school patronage and the numbers of schools that have requested a transfer; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government gives a commitment to move towards a more pluralist system of patronage for our schools. In this context, the Government established a Forum on Patronage and Pluralism ...More Button

Was asked: if issues relating to school patronage will be addressed in the short to medium term; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for Government gave a commitment to a more pluralist system of patronage for our schools. This commitment is being progressed on a number of fronts. Firstly, the government establis...More Button

The Department is continuing to work intensively with the main stakeholders to advance alternative choices for 2016 and beyond to achieve greater diversity of school provision.More Button

Teachers' Remuneration

Was asked: her plans to reverse the pay cuts imposed by her Government and the previous Administration on new entrant teachers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Since the beginning of the financial crisis, there has been a need to enact a number of measures to reduce public expenditure. These measures were implemented at a time of very difficult financial...More Button

The issue of equalised pay scales was not one which could be resolved in the talks. However, the Lansdowne Road agreement will, through salary increases and a reduction in the pension related de...More Button

Was asked: if she supports the principle of equal pay for all teachers.More Button

Since the beginning of the financial crisis, there has been a need to enact a number of measures to reduce public expenditure. These measures were implemented at a time of very difficult financial ...More Button

The issue of equalised pay scales was not one which could be resolved in the talks. However, the Lansdowne Road Agreement will, through salary increases and a reduction in the Pension-Related Ded...More Button

We look forward to seeing the further restoration of public service pay levels as our economy continues to recover strongly.More Button

Teachers' Remuneration (Continued)

The pay agreements are part of the way in which these things function in Ireland. The Haddington Road agreement was signed up to by all the teaching unions. The Lansdowne Road agreement was signe...More Button

It is not practical to imagine that no change to entry salaries for public servants would ever be envisaged. Entry salaries are a matter of consideration depending on where the economy is at a p...More Button

I have no doubt that the INTO and the other teaching unions will represent their members very effectively in these kinds of negotiations, as they always do. We do have negotiations that are agreed...More Button

The issues raised by Deputy McGrath are constantly subjects of negotiation and will, I am sure, remain so into the future.More Button

Childhood Obesity

Was asked: her views on the challenge by schools (details supplied) in County Wicklow to the locating of a fast-food restaurant close to their premises on public health grounds, and the progress in implementi...More Button

Special Educational Needs Staff

Was asked: the status of the pilot scheme for allocating special needs resources; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Council for Special Education, NCSE, published advice in 2013 which identified that the current model for allocating resource teachers to schools is potentially inequitable and recomme...More Button

I have established a pilot of the new model which is under way in 47 schools and will run for the duration of the current school year. The pilot will test the practical impacts of the new model ...More Button

There was no reduction in the resource hours given to the schools. There were extra supporting materials for the schools and the testing of the pupil planning process and the outcome of reporting....More Button

This is a pilot and the purpose is to learn from it. If the message the Deputy raises comes back from schools about the two-year review, it will be heeded. We want to learn as much as we can ab...More Button

There would have to be some limit on resources. We could not give an unlimited number of resource hours to a school, whether in a pilot or a new model. My understanding is that a school would not...More Button

School Accommodation Provision

Was asked: the measures she is taking to address the ongoing lack of secondary school places in Wexford town, which is forcing many parents to send their children 25 kilometres each way to schools in Enniscor...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, I announced in November last the need for the establishment of four new primary schools and nine post-primary schools to cater for increased demographics across a numbe...More Button

As part of the Department's school capital investment programme, a number of building projects in Wexford schools are being progressed, including Loreto secondary school and Wexford CBS, that wil...More Button

My Department is also monitoring the position in the area taking into account the latest pupil enrolment data and the impact of planned expansion of school capacity. My colleague, the Minister f...More Button

Was asked: her views on the construction of an additional secondary school in south Wexford, given the long waiting lists for schools in the region; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As I advised the Deputy earlier, on 17 November I announced that four primary schools and nine post-primary schools will open in 2017 and 2018 as a result of the outcome of the latest demographic e...More Button

The demographic exercise does not indicate a requirement at this point for a new post-primary school for the south Wexford region but my officials are monitoring the position and will keep the de...More Button

With regard to the Deputy's opening remarks, PPPs have been used in a relatively small number of cases and the outcome has been very satisfactory from the perspective of the schools involved. Th...More Button

In general, the percentage of schools built through PPPs is very low but we can get the Deputy the specific information for Wexford. These are generally done in bundles and the projects are put ou...More Button

We managed to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in the most recent budget. We have very large classes and that is something I wanted to address but we did not have the money to do it up to this yea...More Button

School Accommodation Provision (Continued)

As I stated at the outset, building projects have been approved for Loreto secondary school and Wexford CBS, which will provide increased capacity. As a result of the information that came to us l...More Button

There are five secondary schools in Wexford town. These include the Education and Training Board school of Selskar College, St. Peter's College, Loreto Presentation and the Christian Brothers. ...More Button

He gave us a full picture.More Button

Schools were being built in the past five years.More Button

That is not right.More Button

We did a lot. We had the marriage equality referendum, for example.More Button

Much work was done in the school building area over the past five years, despite the state of the economy. There should be fair credit given to my predecessor, Deputy Quinn, and the Government for...More Button

We will invest €2.8 billion by way of public funding In the school building capital programme for the next six years and a very small percentage by way of PPP after that. The Deputy is telling the...More Button

We are taking in a considerable amount more than we expected in terms of taxation of various kinds. The Government believes we should be investing in public infrastructure, particularly in school...More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Was asked: if she is aware of the multiple extra costs placed on the parents of children with dyslexia in seeking to ensure their children have access to the same standard of education as other children; that...More Button

All mainstream schools have been allocated additional teaching resources to cater for children with specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia, either under the general allocation model at ...More Button

The Deputy is talking about a situation she is very well aware of in a particular school. In general, schools should, where they can, provide facilities at a cost that is not too prohibitive and t...More Button

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland does excellent work in general, although I am not aware of its specific work in County Kildare. Our role in the Department of Education and Skills is to ensur...More Button

I would be happy to meet the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, although, to the best of my knowledge, I have not had a request for a meeting. I am not clear from what the Deputy has said whether th...More Button

In general, we would encourage schools to ensure school premises are used for different kinds of appropriate uses, and I certainly think this is appropriate. I would be happy to find out more abou...More Button

The primary focus from the Department's perspective is to ensure we provide in-school supports for children with learning needs, and that would be my main driving force in terms of working on the n...More Button

Was asked: if she will address concerns regarding the new system of allocation of resource and learning supports that is being piloted in 2015; and if she will address the long waiting times for special needs...More Button

The National Council for Special Education identified that the current model for allocating resource teachers to schools is potentially inequitable because access to professional assessments is not...More Button

Was asked: if she is satisfied regarding her ability to meet the full requirements of special needs teachers and special needs assistants at primary and secondary level; the steps she is taking to address eme...More Button

This year 11,940 SNAs are available for allocation to primary and secondary schools, which is an increase of 13% in the number of posts available since 2011.

  The NCSE has allo...More Button

Was asked: the status of the provision of resources hours for children with a disability in primary schools.More Button

The NCSE has allocated 6832 Resource Teaching posts to mainstream schools this year. This is an increase of 29% in the allocation since 2011.

  3965 of these posts have been allo...More Button

Was asked: the evaluations that have taken place on the effectiveness of teaching resources provided to assist children with dyslexia under the general allocation model; and if she will make a statement on th...More Button

All mainstream schools are allocated additional teaching resources to cater for children with High Incidence special educational needs, including Specific Learning Disabilities, of which Dyslexia i...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision for a special needs assistant; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating Special N...More Button

The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support, which is set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014.More Button

All schools were asked to apply for SNA support for the 2015/16 school year by 18th March 2015. The NCSE has also continued to accept applications after this date in recognition that enrolments m...More Button

The NCSE has now published details of SNA allocations for schools for September 2015 on its website at www.ncse.ie. More Button

Once allocated, the deployment of SNAs within schools is a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care sup...More Button

Details of the manner in which a school or parent may appeal the level of SNA or resource teaching allocation which has been made to support a child in school, to the NCSE, is set out on the NCSE...More Button

All schools have the contact details of their local SENO, while Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details av...More Button

As this question relates to an allocation for an individual child, I will arrange to have the matter referred to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply to the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: why a person (details supplied) in County Dublin is losing an entitlement to a special needs assistant; if she will reinstate the person's special needs assistance hours; and if she will make a sta...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are allocated to Special Schools and to mainstream Primary and Post Primary schools to assist children with special educational need...More Button

Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website www.education.ie, sets out my Department's policy in relation to the Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme. The Circular explains ...More Button

I can advise the Deputy however that the vast majority of supports for childcare, including pre-school education, is provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The principal vehic...More Button

The Health Service Executive (HSE) currently provides for care support for pupils with special needs attending a range of HSE funded pre-schools. As such, questions relating to provision of such ...More Button

Was asked: if adequate resources are in place to meet the teaching and accommodation requirements of children with Asperger's syndrome and autism at primary and secondary level, if she has identified the area...More Button

Was asked: if adequate resources are in place to meet the teaching and accommodation requirements of children with Asperger's syndrome and autism at primary and secondary level school throughout County Kildar...More Button

Was asked: if the number of autism classes throughout County Kildare will increase in line with demand in the coming year; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 to 180, inclusive, together.More Button

As the Deputy is aware my Department provides for a range of placement options and supports for schools which have enrolled pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including Asperger's Synd...More Button

Children with ASD may be enrolled in a mainstream school and can attend all mainstream classes. In such cases these children will receive additional teaching support through the learning support ...More Button

In respect of children with ASD who cannot be accommodated in mainstream education, they may be enrolled in special classes or special schools where more intensive and supportive interventions ar...More Button

Progress in developing this network has been significant and in addition to the special school placements there are over 1,000 special classes throughout the country at primary and post primary l...More Button

The NCSE have advised that there are 56 ASD classes in Co. Kildare. 5 of these are Early Intervention classes for children with ASD who are not yet school going age, 40 ASD classes are at primary...More Button

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has recently submitted their Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In developing this policy advice...More Button

My officials will consider and report to me on any recommendations in the report which relate to the issues raised by the Deputy.More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision (Continued)

The council also advised that the current model leads to unnecessary labelling of children from a young age. For the first time, NEPS support is now available to every primary and second-level sch...More Button

The new model was proposed because the system was perceived to be unfair in so far as people felt they had to pay for private diagnoses. The National Educational Psychological Service was not desi...More Button

I will ensure that information is provided to schools in time. I realise there is a time issue in this case but, as of now, I have not had an opportunity to engage with the pilot programme in any ...More Button

Third Level Funding

Was asked: if she will provide improved funding for third level education. More Button

I thank the Deputy. The Government recognises the importance of the higher education sector to Ireland's future economic and social development. It also acknowledges that the sector must be resou...More Button

The indications are that a range of options will be proposed by the Cassells group. We will consider all of them. I will not pre-empt that before I even see the report. Certainly, all options wi...More Button

Third Level Funding (Continued)

Regarding the Deputy's general points, I agree that we must broaden access, but a high percentage of our young people go on to higher education compared with other countries. However, that is no...More Button

We want to improve that level. Next week, I will publish a plan for access to higher education. It went through the Cabinet yesterday. It will include specific plans and targets for broadening t...More Button

Third level has faced difficult financial times. It has done well in some respects, for example, Horizon 2020, but the situation has been challenging and we are conscious that this issue must be...More Button

I assure the Deputy that we did not cut any budget because that was what we wanted. We faced extraordinarily difficult political decisions.More Button

We did not have choices-----More Button

-----in terms of the overall amount of money available to us. What one takes in in taxation and what one must borrow are issues that one must deal with when in government. We dealt with them and ...More Button

State Examinations Reviews

Was asked: if she will update Dáil Éireann on the roll-out of the junior certificate reforms in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In September 2014, implementation of the junior cycle commenced with a new specification in English and the availability of a number of short courses. Talks with the two main teacher unions contin...More Button

A comprehensive professional development programme to support junior cycle is being rolled out. This includes seminars for school leaders, whole-school continuing professional development, CPD, ...More Button

Implementation has commenced in respect of English. All of the other education partners have supported the changes. We held detailed negotiations with the unions. A relatively small percentage o...More Button

I am determined and reject the suggestion that we have not succeeded in making progress. We have done so. Implementation has commenced in the schools and will continue. It will change the way ...More Button

I intend to provide whatever clarification the ASTI needs and hope it will be able to participate in the programme in the near future.More Button

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Information and Communications Technology

Was asked: if the provision of electronic tablets to school children to reduce the excessive weight of their school bags is feasible; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The decision to use tablet devices is a matter for the Board of Management of a school. Where the introduction of new technology is planned, consultation with members of the school community inclu...More Button

An advice sheet on the adoption of tablets in schools is available on the PDST-Technology in Education website which covers areas such as what tablets can offer a school, educational consideratio...More Button

As part of the new Digital Strategy for Schools my Department will provide advice on ICT equipment and digital learning tools that are best-suited to support learning and teaching in schools. €21...More Button

Schools Health and Safety

Was asked: if she needs to be more assertive with local authorities in setting out the parking and road safety requirements of schools; if her remit, which includes administrative responsibility for over 3,00...More Button

In general, individual school authorities are responsible, in the first instance, for ensuring the safety and welfare of children and others in their care. More Button

The issue of road safety measures outside the vested site areas of schools on public roads, such as road signage, traffic calming measures etc., is a matter, for the relevant Local Authority. Loc...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's Technical Guidance Document – TGD-020 sets out the general principles of Universal Design in schools, which includes guidance on car parking, set-...More Button

Was asked: if she needs to interact more directly and more proactively with local authorities in respect of road safety at rural schools; her views on the experiences of parents, teachers and pupils at three ...More Button

In general, individual school authorities are responsible, in the first instance, for ensuring the safety and welfare of children and others in their care.More Button

The issue of road safety measures outside the vested site areas of schools on public roads, such as road signage, traffic calming measures etc., is a matter, for the relevant Local Authority. Lo...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's Technical Guidance Document – TGD-020 sets out the general principles of Universal Design in schools, which includes guidance on car parking, set-...More Button

Teacher Data

Was asked: the number of teachers employed in the primary and post-primary sector; the number of teachers on part-time contracts; and her plans to address the pay disparity for newly qualified teachers.More Button

There are currently 34,896 primary teachers employed in either a permanent, fixed term, Contract of Indefinite Duration or Regular -Part-Time capacity in recognised primary schools paid on my Depar...More Button

There are 6,357 teachers paid on my Department payrolls with Contracts of Indefinite Duration in post primary schools and 315 at Primary. More Button

There are 2,361 staff who have less than full contracted hours in post primary schools and 496 in primary with less than full time hours.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, I am currently implementing in full the recommendations of the Expert Group on Fixed-Term and Part-Time Employment in Teaching, which should see a significant improve...More Button

The Haddington Road Agreement took steps to partially address the salary imbalance between new and longer-serving teachers. This process has continued under the Lansdowne Road Agreement which ha...More Button

We look forward to seeing the further restoration of public service pay levels as our economy continues to recover strongly.More Button

  Question No. 14 answered orally.More Button

Was asked: the number of relief teaching days allocated to teachers on a departmental pension at primary and post-primary levels in 2013-14, in 2014-15, and in 2015-16; the value of these payments; the steps ...More Button

During the 2013-14 school year a total of 9,421 teaching days were worked by 537 retired teachers: 302 retired Primary school teachers worked 5,259 days and 235 retired Voluntary Secondary and Comm...More Button

During the 2014-15 school year a total of 10,391 teaching days were worked by 560 retired teachers: 320 retired Primary school teachers worked 5,996 days and 240 retired Voluntary Secondary and C...More Button

During the 2015-16 school year up to the end of November 2015 a total of 3,270 teaching days were worked by 368 retired teachers: 234 retired Primary school teachers worked 2,002 days and 134 ret...More Button

The policy of my Department is to ensure, as far as possible, that the Managerial Authorities of Primary and Post Primary schools give priority to unemployed registered teachers who are fully qua...More Button

Under these Circulars School Principals must maintain a list of unemployed registered teachers who are available for substitute work at short notice and report to the Board of Management on any e...More Button

A retired teacher who returns to teaching on or after 1 February 2012 will commence at the first point of the incremental salary scale (i.e. the lowest point or starting salary for teachers). Inc...More Button

Schools Designation

Was asked: if she will review the case of a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath that requires an upgrade to Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools band 1 status; and if she will make a stat...More Button

The school referred to by the Deputy participates in the Urban Band 2 category of DEIS. The school was selected for this category following an extensive identification process to select schools fo...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, a process for the review of the DEIS Programme which I announced earlier this year, is currently underway in my Department. This review is being undertaken over the ...More Button

Was asked: if she will award DEIS status to a school (details supplied) in County Mayo, so that its pupils will have parity with pupils in neighbouring schools and will not suffer any disadvantage through no ...More Button

I would like to point out that an extensive identification process to select schools for inclusion in DEIS was conducted in 2005. In spite of a number of reminders issued by my Department, a compl...More Button

As the Deputy will no doubt be aware, a process for the review of the DEIS Programme which I announced earlier this year, is currently underway in my Department. This review is being undertaken ...More Button

School Curriculum

Was asked: the status of the implementation of junior cycle reform; the level of participation of teachers in training for the new curriculum and assessment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In September 2014 implementation of the Junior Cycle commenced with a new specification in English and the availability of a number of short courses. The 2015 Junior Cycle Framework was published ...More Button

A comprehensive professional development programme to support Junior Cycle is currently being rolled out. This includes seminars for school leaders, whole-school CPD, subject-specific seminars, ...More Button

482 school leaders have to date been invited to CPD, of whom 261 attended. 900 teachers of English have to date been invited to CPD, of whom 682 attended.More Button

TUI members are participating in the CPD programme following the outcome of their union ballot. The ASTI has recently engaged in a consultative process with its members on the Junior Cycle propo...More Button

Was asked: her plans to remove rule 68 from the school guidelines.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector was published in April 2012. The Report recommended a review and updatin...More Button

I am currently engaged in a series of meetings with the different education bodies involved in implementing the recommendations of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism. I have already met with t...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide a practical application to the right of a child to opt out of religion classes instead of continuing the current situation of forcing a child to remain present in a classroom du...More Button

Under the Constitution and in accordance with the Education Act 1998, parents have a right to have their children opt out of religion classes and it is expected that this right will be upheld by sc...More Button

The practical arrangements by which schools ensure that the right to opt out of religion classes is accommodated is a matter for each individual school. On occasion there can be practical issues...More Button

In this regard, I believe that difficulties could be avoided if, from the outset, a school's arrangements for those students who do not wish to attend religious instruction are made clear to all ...More Button

Schools Building Projects Status

Was asked: the progress made in addressing infrastructure supports for a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning. The Design Team appointment was finalised in July 2015 and the project was autho...More Button

Upon successful completion of Stage 2(a) and subject to no issues arising, the project will be authorised to complete Stage 2(b) which includes securing the Fire cert and Disability access Cert, ...More Button

This project was included in the six year programme I announced on 17 November and is scheduled to proceed to construction in 2016.More Button

Was asked: the status of a building project at a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; the reason for the delay; when work will commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The school to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of the tender process. A letter of Intent issued to the preferred tenderer on 2nd December. Subject to no issues arising in the supplem...More Button

Was asked: if she will meet with the board of management of a school (details supplied) in County Donegal to discuss urgent accommodation matters; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the project for the school referred to, is included in the 6 Year Construction Programme that I announced on 17th November last, and is listed to proceed to tender and const...More Button

Was asked: the status of the new post-primary schools proposed for the Stepaside and Kilternan areas in Dublin 18, including their locations; if they will both be open from their scheduled date in September 2...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that a suitable permanent site for a new post primary school to serve the Ballinteer/Stepaside area has been identified and the acquisition process is underway. More Button

Given the commercial sensitivities associated with land acquisitions generally I am not in a position to provide further details at this time. I can, however, assure the Deputy that the acquisit...More Button

Officials from my Department have been in contact, and will continue to liaise, with Educate Together in relation to arrangements for temporary accommodation to facilitate the school opening in S...More Button

Was asked: her plans for the proposed secondary level school in Kingswood Heights in Tallaght in Dublin 24; if she will confirm the catchment area for the school; the priority that will be given to families i...More Button

The school to which the Deputy refers will open in September 2016 to meet the demographic needs of the Tallaght area, including the areas referred to by the Deputy. While school authorities are re...More Button

Was asked: the actions she is taking on the planning conditions for the proposed secondary level school in Kingswood Heights in Tallaght in Dublin 24 regarding the request for details of the enhanced drop-off...More Button

The School Building Project to which the Deputy refers has recently been granted planning permission by the Planning Authority.More Button

Following the grant of planning permission, revised design options have been explored to satisfy the requirements for enhanced drop off and a pedestrian crossing as requested by the Local Authori...More Button

The layout for both of these have been submitted to the relevant Council planning department for comment prior to final approval.More Button

Was asked: the status of a proposed school building (details supplied) in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The major building project for the school to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of architectural planning – Stage 2b. This stage includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire...More Button

Addiction Treatment Services

Was asked: the budget for school-based prevention and education programmes on addiction; the programmes available at primary and at second level; the time provision for such programmes; and if she will make a...More Button

There are a number of ways in which education on addiction prevention is addressed in schools.

  Schools have a role in supporting students to develop the key skills and knowled...More Button

Skills Development

Was asked: if she is focused on the need to ensure that the skills of those persons leaving the education system can be matched to the requirements of the workplace; the ongoing efforts to augment the process...More Button

The Further Education and Training Strategy and the Higher Education Strategy have a major focus on employer engagement being responsive to the skill needs of the economy. Both sectors are closely...More Button

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, which is funded by my Department, advises the Government on current and future skills needs of the economy. Its research informs the selection of targete...More Button

My Department is also leading the preparation of a new National Skills Strategy which will provide a framework for determining the volume, type and mix of skills required over the period to 2025.More Button

Was asked: if the education system, at all levels, will meet the skills demand in the workplace; if apprenticeships will impact on the situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has a number of strategies and initiatives in place to ensure that education and training meets the skills requirements of the workplace. SOLAS, with the assistance of relevant expert...More Button

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), which is funded by my Department, advises the Government on current and future skills needs of the economy. It has a central role in ensuring that...More Button

As part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2015, my Department has committed to review the National Skills Strategy. The review will provide an opportunity to determine the volume, type and mix of skill...More Button

Direct engagement between employers and education and training providers is also critical to ensuring that programmes are aligned to changing skills needs. As well as the actions that are being i...More Button

Apprenticeship has a major contribution to make to meeting the skills demands of the workplace. In apprenticeship, employers are engaged in the definition of occupational profiles, contribute to...More Button

Educational Disadvantage

Was asked: if she will provide the maximum support to all pupils in disadvantaged schools in 2015-16. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware DEIS – Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, is my Departments main policy instrument for tackling educational disadvantage. Every effort is made to prioritise...More Button

The Deputy may also be aware that a process for the review of the DEIS Programme is currently underway in my Department. This process is being undertaken over the course of the current school ye...More Button

School Funding

Was asked: her plans to fund primary schools to the same level as secondary schools.More Button

It is difficult to make precise comparisons between the levels of grants paid and the actual costs of running schools at primary and post primary levels. However it is self-evident that the mainten...More Button

In general, second level schools are larger than primary schools and have a lower pupil teacher ratio resulting in more classrooms and specialist rooms such as laboratories, workshops and kitchen...More Button

I do recognise however the need to improve capitation funding for primary schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years. In the last Budget, I secured additional f...More Button

Health Promotion

Was asked: her views on the challenge by schools (details supplied) in Greystones in County Wicklow to the location of a fast-food restaurant close to their premises on public health grounds; and the progress...More Button

The manner in which the challenge was taken in this case is a matter for the schools involved. I would like to commend the school for prioritising the health of their students in deciding their sch...More Button

Schools and the wider education sector have a vital role to play in contributing to the Government's 'Healthy Ireland' agenda set out in the Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025. More Button

Healthy Ireland was published by the Department of Health in 2013, and is one of the most ambitious programmes we have ever seen focused on improving the health of the nation. More Button

Healthy Ireland contains a number of goals for the education sector. The Department of Education and Skills is a key partner in the delivery of this agenda, and this work is a personal priority ...More Button

Through their primary and post primary education students are equipped with the key skills and knowledge to enable them to make healthier life choices. Schools' efforts should be complemented by ...More Button

My Department issued guidance to post primary schools, this September, on promoting healthy lifestyles which includes healthy eating policies. Similar guidance will be provided to primary schools...More Button

Departmental Policy Reviews

Was asked: the progress of consultation on the proposals contained in the review of education in the Gaeltacht policy published by her Department.More Button

Extensive consultation has taken place since I launched my Department's Policy Proposals on Gaeltacht education last May. The consultation has provided a valuable opportunity to hear the opinions ...More Button

The consultation included a survey, written submissions, public meetings in three Gaeltacht areas, and meetings with a range of stakeholder groups. My Department together with the Department of ...More Button

Work is currently underway to finalise the policy for Gaeltacht education in light of the outcomes of the consultation process.More Button

Special Educational Needs Data

Was asked: the number of children in primary and post-primary schools who have been diagnosed with dyslexia; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

All mainstream schools have been allocated additional teaching resources to cater for children with High Incidence special educational needs, including Specific Learning Disabilities, of which Dysl...More Button

My Department therefore does not hold details of the number of children attending primary and post-primary schools who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia, as schools are not required to apply dire...More Button

The Special Educational Support Service provides training courses for schools in the area of Dyslexia as well as support for in-school seminars and attendance at relevant conferences and seminars.More Button

State Examinations

Was asked: if she will introduce an assessment regime for allocating supports under the reasonable accommodations at the certificate examinations scheme for students sitting the leaving certificate, similar t...More Button

The State Examinations Commission (SEC), which has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations, has provided me with the following information. The SE...More Button

(b) ensure that, whilst giving candidates every opportunity to demonstrate their level of attainment, the special arrangements will not give the candidate an unfair advantage over other candidates ...More Button

Accommodations can only be provided in accordance with the principles and requirements of the scheme and in line with the eligibility criteria that apply. Even though examination candidates may h...More Button

There are differences in the operation of the scheme between the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations. At Junior Certificate, school authorities determine eligibility in line with guidelin...More Button

A centralised decision making process applies at Leaving Certificate which seeks to recognise the high stakes nature of this examination. Leaving Certificate applications on grounds of specific ...More Button

The guidelines provided to schools by the SEC outline the criteria to be used in determining eligibility for the Scheme for Junior Certificate candidates. These criteria are the same as used by ...More Button

School Transport Administration

Was asked: if she is aware that a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath is in breach of its planning guidelines due to excessive traffic at the school gates since the withdrawal of the school's bus se...More Button

Under the terms of my Department's Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest national s...More Button

Apprenticeship Programmes

Was asked: the status of the apprenticeships approved by the new Apprenticeship Council; if these courses will include day-release rather than block-release, which will accommodate small businesses; and if sh...More Button

The Apprenticeship Council devised and issued a call for proposals from enterprises and education and training providers for the development of new apprenticeships early in 2014. Following the rece...More Button

The Apprenticeship Council is now working with the 25 category one proposers on developing the new apprenticeships. Project plans have recently been submitted by consortia and the Council is enga...More Button

The consortia themselves will be developing the curriculum and delivery model for the new apprenticeships and will be taking account of the needs of employers in their sector. It is envisaged th...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons employed on lower rates of pay due to participation in an apprenticeship or training.More Button

I understand that currently there is a population of 8,106 employed apprentices at various stages of the Apprenticeship Programme. The on the job wages and off the job allowances paid to apprentic...More Button

Was asked: the progress of the Apprenticeship Council which has recently marked one year in operation.More Button

The Apprenticeship Council devised and issued a call for proposals from enterprises and education and training providers for the development of new apprenticeships early in 2014. Following the rec...More Button

The Apprenticeship Council is now working with the 25 category one proposers on developing the new apprenticeships. Project plans have recently been submitted by consortia and the Council is eng...More Button

Education Policy

Was asked: if she will introduce a national strategy for hunger prevention in schools; if her Department will retain responsibility for the development, implementation and monitoring of this strategy; and if ...More Button

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures is the Government's overarching National Policy Framework for children and young people (aged 0-24 years). This cross-government approach will run from 2014 until ...More Button

The current focus of my Department is on its participation in the implementation process and on working with relevant Government Departments and non-governmental organisations to progress the edu...More Button

Was asked: if she will continue her support smaller urban or rural schools with a denominational ethos; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am very aware of the importance of small schools to rural communities and particularly the most dispersed and remote communities. In this regard, I made two particular improvements to the staffi...More Button

School Services Staff

Was asked: if she will address the anomaly whereby school secretaries are on inferior contracts compared to departmental secretaries and initiate a system of parity with this grade, including a defined pay sc...More Button

A scheme was initiated in 1978 for the employment of Clerical Officers in primary and secondary schools. While a small number of these staff remain in schools, the schemes are being phased out and...More Button

The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools in the Free Education Scheme now receive capitation grant assistance to provide for secretarial (and/or caretaking) services. Within the c...More Button

Notwithstanding the above, my Department recently engaged in an arbitration process regarding the pay of School Secretaries and Caretakers. The Arbitrator recommended increases in the hourly rat...More Button

The Arbitrator's recommendations have now been accepted by both sides. My Department will shortly issue a Circular giving effect to the measures to apply from 1 January 2016 i.e. an increase of ...More Button

Teacher Recruitment

Was asked: if she will address the continued use of the JobBridge scheme to employ teachers within schools.More Button

JobBridge is a national internship scheme administered by the Department of Social Protection. The scheme was introduced to provide a pathway to appropriate employment, training and education oppo...More Button

Recognised Schools and Education and Training Boards may participate in the scheme if they wish under Department of Education and Skills Circular 46/2011. An internship must not cause an existin...More Button

In this regard it should be noted that Budget 2016 allows for an improvement in the staffing schedule in primary schools by one point, from 1 teacher for every 28 pupils to 1 teacher for every 27...More Button

School Management

Was asked: her plans to rebuild a middle management structure in our primary and secondary schools.More Button

Economic constraints and the moratorium on recruitment, albeit alleviated to some extent for schools, have presented challenges within the education sector. They also provide an opportunity to rev...More Button

The Department, in consultation with the representative management bodies, has commenced an exploration of the opportunities to support and thereby advance our understanding of the needs of schoo...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I have made provision in Budget 2016 for some 2,260 additional teaching posts for our primary and post primary schools next year. These posts will provide for an imp...More Button

Third Level Courses Availability

Was asked: if she is aware of the practice whereby third level institutes do not fill all their places, but maintain points at an inflated level in order to make the course more attractive; if she has investi...More Button

While the number of places offered on courses within Higher Education Authority (HEA) funded institutions is a matter for the institutions themselves to decide upon, the issue raised by the Deputy ...More Button

Student Support Schemes

Was asked: how she is responding to foreign students who, in some cases, experience language difficulties when dealing with the educational system.More Button

The level of extra teaching support provided in respect of language support to schools is determined by the numbers of eligible pupils enrolled and the associated levels of those pupils' language p...More Button

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 allocat...More Button

These arrangements also provided for additional permanent teaching posts to be given to schools with high concentration of pupils that require language support. More Button

Further additional temporary support is also provided, as necessary, to schools that have high concentrations of pupils that require language (EAL) support. At primary level, these allocations a...More Button

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...More Button

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 b...More Button

School Staff

Was asked: why, under the current staffing schedule, mainstream schools with 15 to 27 teachers require 37 extra pupils to gain or retain a teacher, while schools with more than 27 or fewer than 15 teachers on...More Button

The staffing schedule at primary level operates on the basis of 1 classroom teacher for an average of every 28 pupils. More favourable ratios operate in DEIS Band 1 schools. More Button

Under an agreement reached with the Education Partners for the 2010/11 school year my Department provided 50 additional posts to the primary sector and 100 additional posts to the post-primary se...More Button

The application of these additional posts to the primary staffing schedule resulted in the schedule operating on the basis of 1 classroom teacher for an average of every 27 pupils between the ban...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I have announced a 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule in the context of Budget 2016. The improved staffing schedule which is available on the Depa...More Button

The application of this 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule will result in the schedule operating on the basis of 1 classroom teacher for an average of every 26 pupils between th...More Button

The staffing arrangements for all schools for the 2016/17 school year will be published early in 2016.More Button

Schools Amalgamation

Was asked: if she considered the Pobal Haase-Pratschke deprivation index of an area when eligibility for delivering equality of opportunity in schools was considered for an amalgamated school (details supplie...More Button

Was asked: the number of primary schools and post-primary schools that have lost DEIS status following amalgamation, by location and number of pupils involved, since the status was first introduced; and if sh...More Button

Was asked: why DEIS status was removed from a school (details supplied) of 450 pupils in County Mayo when it amalgamated with another school of 28 pupils which did not have this status; if the loss of this st...More Button

Was asked: what exactly was advised in 2011 at the time of amalgamation of schools (details supplied) in County Mayo regarding DEIS status; if it was made known to the boards of management and principals that...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 159 to 162, inclusive, together.More Button

The school in question was established on 1st September 2011 following the amalgamation of a DEIS post-primary school and non-DEIS post-primary school. In accordance with the approach adopted in...More Button

Proposals for school amalgamations are a matter for the Patron/Trustees of the schools in question, and are subject to approval by the Minister for Education and Skills. Schools proposing to ama...More Button

As the Minister of State will be aware, a review of the DEIS Programme which will inform future policy in relation to educational disadvantage is currently being undertaken by my Department. Whi...More Button

Superannuation Schemes

Was asked: if a special needs assistant employed since 2001 must retire on age grounds at 65 years of age; if there are exemptions to this regulation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In accordance with the Superannuation scheme a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) who is not "a new entrant" under the terms of the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act...More Button

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Was asked: the steps she will take to have an application for a higher education grant by a person (details supplied) in County Cork dealt with given the time delay to attach supporting documentation to the g...More Button

As part of a comprehensive customer service and communications strategy provided by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), to ensure that all necessary avenues are open to applicants to receive ...More Button

Was asked: if she will expedite an appeal under the Student Universal Support Ireland grant scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry, as all relevant information has been submitted; and if she wi...More Button

As part of a comprehensive customer service and communications strategy provided by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), to ensure that all necessary avenues are open to applicants to receive ...More Button

State Examinations Data

Was asked: the latest data from the State Examinations Commission and her Department on the percentage of school leavers from all 192 secondary level schools with DEIS status who sat the leaving certificate, ...More Button

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations.

  However, SEC does not identify candidates by c...More Button

Schools Data

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 500 of 1 December 2015, the number of primary schools, by county, by ethos and denomination, in tabular form.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is available in the following table.

Number of primary schools in each county and a breakdown by their ethos/denomination

More Button

National Educational Psychological Service Data

Was asked: the number of children waiting to be assessed by the National Educational Psychological Service by geographical area and by time waiting.More Button

I can inform the Deputy that my Department's National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychology service to all primary and post primary schools through an assigned NE...More Button

NEPS does not keep waiting lists for assessments of children but in common with many other psychological services and best international practice, NEPS has adopted a consultative model of service...More Button

Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in...More Button

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Was asked: if she will improve pupil-teacher ratios at primary and second level schools over the next twelve months; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Teacher allocations to all schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. The criteria for the allocation of posts are comm...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I have made provision in Budget 2016 for some 2,260 additional teaching posts for our primary and post primary schools next year. These posts will provide for an imp...More Button

At primary level there will be a one point improvement to the primary staffing schedule to be implemented for the 2016/17 school year. This will see the primary staffing schedule operate on the ...More Button

At post-primary level the schedule will improve by .3 points, from 19:1 to 18.7:1 for the 2016/17 school year. More Button

When the allocation for guidance was brought within quota under Budget 2012 measures, DEIS schools were protected from the change by providing for a 18.25:1 allocation compared to the general 19:...More Button

Schools Building Projects Administration

Was asked: if she is satisfied with the adequacy of the school building programme and, in particular, with the completion of the replacement of temporary or prefabricated classrooms; if she will meet the requ...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, I announced details on 17th November last, of the major school building projects that are scheduled to proceed to construction over the next six years, as part of the Govern...More Button

Information in respect of all schools included in the Six Year Programme is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie.More Button

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for the provision of a range of educational services a...More Button

This responsibility includes planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs including the allocation of Resource Teaching an...More Button

The NCSE has allocated 6,832 Resource teaching posts to mainstream schools this year, which is an increase of 29% since 2011, which means there are over 11,500 Resource and Learning Support Teach...More Button

11,940 SNAs are available for allocation to primary and secondary schools, which is an increase of 13% in the number of posts available since 2011. More Button

In addition, over 150 new Special Classes have been opened for the 2015/16 school year, which means there are now over 1,000 special classes in place.More Button

I welcome the fact, that even in the constrained economic circumstances we have faced in recent years, we have been able to continue to meet the needs of children with special educational needs a...More Button

Student Accommodation

Was asked: if and how she will address issues relating to student accommodation in the short to medium term; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government fully appreciates the concerns regarding the availability of accommodation for students and the report, Student Accommodation: Demand & Supply, which I published recently sets ou...More Button

Bullying in Schools

Was asked: if the issue of school bullying will be monitored to ascertain the best methodology to deal with it; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that my Department published new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and post primary schools at the beginning of the 2013/14 school year. More Button

The procedures are designed to give direction and guidance to school authorities and school personnel in preventing and tackling school-based bullying behaviour amongst its pupils. They include ...More Button

There is no requirement that schools report incidents of bullying behaviour to my Department.More Button

However, the procedures for schools include important new oversight arrangements that involve the school Principal reporting regularly to the Board of Management and a requirement for the Board t...More Button

Gaelscoil Issues

Was asked: if she continues to evaluate progress on the provision of a Gaelcholáiste in north Kildare, having particular regard to the case being articulated by the local support group; and if she will make a...More Button

On 17 November last I announced the details of the new schools to be provided nationwide in 2017 and 2018. I also announced, in view of the anticipated enrolment numbers in the Irish-medium Aonad ...More Button

Student Grants Data

Was asked: the number of applications for higher education grants for the current school year that have been approved, refused, are pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

SUSI has received almost 108,000 student grant applications for the 2015/16 academic year. This figure includes 16,500 applicants which were received after the Priority Processing deadline.
More Button

Residential Institutions

Was asked: further to the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 533 of 17 November 2015 in respect of the 2002 indemnity agreement in which she stated that properties to the value of €30.93 million are still ou...More Button

As I explained to the Deputy in my response to her previous question of 17 November, under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement the 18 participating congregations are contributing €128m in cash, counsellin...More Button

In relation to property transfers, to date 46 properties have been fully transferred and there are no outstanding issues. These properties have been valued at €42.65m for the purposes of the Agre...More Button

Every effort is being made to complete the remaining transfers. In this regard my Department is continuing to actively engage with the Chief State Solicitor's Office who liaise with the solicitor...More Button

Child Abuse

Was asked: the status of claims against the State by persons who were abused in day schools; the number of cases which have been settled and which are pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In cases where the Department was in possession of relevant information which, if acted upon, could have prevented abuse occurring, the State will admit that it has some liability and will enter in...More Button

Separate to the above cases, in its response to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgment, the Government agreed in December 2014 that out of court settlements be offered in those extan...More Button

Subsequently, in July of this year, the Government approved proposals to offer ex-gratia payments up to a maximum of €84,000 to those who initiated legal proceedings in cases of school child sexu...More Button

To be eligible for the above settlement or payment arrangements, cases must involve sexual abuse of a school child by a primary or second level school employee in respect of whom there was a prio...More Button

To date over 140 new claims of school child sexual abuse have been notified to the SCA.More Button


 

 

www.Oireachtas.ie

Houses of the Oireachtas Service, Leinster House, Dublin 2. Ph: +353 1 618 3000

- Government Website - Privacy Policy - Accessibility - Copyright and Re-Use