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McHugh, Joe

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Departmental Funding

Was asked: the amount of funding and-or grant aid his Department has made to an association (details supplied) from 1 January 2008 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the purpose for which the funding and-or grant a...More Button

There are no payments recorded on my Department's Financial Management System in respect of the body identified by the Deputy.More Button

Departmental Contracts Data

Was asked: the external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication dat...More Button

Details of consultancy payments made by my Department for the years 2011 to 2017 inclusive are available on the Department's website: More Button

Was asked: the number of contracts and-or tenders that have been awarded to a company (details supplied); the value of these contracts, that is, the amount the company has been paid; the services the contract...More Button

The Department does has not have any current contract or awarded tender with the company listed. The contracted in-house catering facilities in our main offices in Dublin, Athlone and Tullamore are...More Button

Schools Building Projects Status

Was asked: the timeline for planned school building works at a school (details supplied); and if this project will be prioritised throughout each development stage due to the urgent need for the additional bu...More Button

The project referred to by the Deputy is being devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). My Department is currently making the necessary arrangements to enter into a ...More Button

Once the Service Level Agreement is in place, the NDFA will set up the required procedures to commence the design and construction processes. More Button

As part of the Service Level Agreement, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress once all of the essential arrangements are in place to enable ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the progress being made on the planning and development of a new site for a school (details supplied) following his visit to Edenderry on 4 May 2018 in which he gave a commitment to p...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, a building project to provide a new replacement school building on a new site for the school in question is included in my Department Capital Programme.

  ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the stage 2 submission by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, the project to which he refers has been devolved for delivery to the local Education and Training Board (ETB).

  The Deputy will also be aware that th...More Button

Was asked: the status of a new school (details supplied); the stage the development is at; the remaining procedures still to be followed; when construction work will commence; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

The major building project referred to by the Deputy is currently at Stage 2b – Detailed Design.

  This project was authorised to commence the Pre-Qualification of Contractors i...More Button

Was asked: the timeframe for the completion of construction of a school (details supplied); when it will be ready for occupation in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware of the school building project to which the Deputy refers. More Button

The project had been scheduled for completion for September 2018. However, the contractor experienced a number of issues such as unforeseen ground conditions and the severe weather events which ...More Button

I know how disappointing this is for the school and I understand how difficult it is for it to manage out a growing enrolment until its new building is in place. It is, however, in the nature of...More Button

The project is being delivered by the local County Council which is continuing to pursue the contractor for as speedy a delivery of the project as possible. The Council has the full support of m...More Button

To ensure that the school is kept fully up to date with progress on the project, the County Council has been updating the Board of Management on a monthly basis. This approach will provide accur...More Button

School Accommodation Provision

Was asked: the status of proposed developments at a school (details supplied); when works will commence in view of the circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I can confirm to the Deputy that the school in question recently submitted an application for additional accommodation to cater for increasing enrolment.

  I wish to advise the D...More Button

Schools Facilities

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the need for astro pitches on the grounds of a school (details supplied); if provision will be made in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As part of a building project at the school referred to by the Deputy the following outdoor sports facilities are being provided:More Button

Was asked: if he has made contact with a club (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if not, if the club has made contact with his Department with respect to providing sports facilities for a new school; if the ava...More Button

My Department has not had engagement with the club to which the Deputy refers in relation to the provision of sports facilities for a new school. New school buildings are provided with a high stan...More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Was asked: when an assessment of needs for a special needs assistant will be carried out on a person (details supplied).More Button

I can inform the Deputy that my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves dire...More Button

In common with many other psychological services and best international practice, NEPS has adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively wi...More Button

This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not ref...More Button

I have made enquiries in relation to the pupil referred to by the Deputy in his question and am informed that an educational psychological assessment was not requested nor warranted in this inst...More Button

Was asked: when funding will be approved for an ASD unit in Clonmel (details supplied).More Button

Funding for special education provision in 2018 will amount to some €1.75 billion, up 43% since 2011 and equivalent to 18.7% of the gross overall current allocation for education and training. ...More Button

Was asked: the changes that have occurred with respect to the delivery of individual education plans at second level since the Croke Park agreement; if schools are permitted to opt out of delivering on such p...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that there is currently not a statutory requirement for schools to provide a mandatory Individual Education Plan for children with special needs. This position has not c...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the lack of suitable educational placements at primary level for children with special educational needs; his plans to rectify same; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the lack of suitable educational placements at secondary level for children with special educational needs; his plans to rectify same; and if he will make a state...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 and 214 together.

  Funding for special education provision in 2018 will amount to some €1.75 billion, up 43% since 2011 and equivalent to 18...More Button

School Transport Eligibility

Was asked: the reason a school transport option has not been put in place for a person (details supplied); and if he will address the matter without delay.More Button

School Services Staff

Was asked: the estimated cost in 2019 if the ancillary grant rate increased by €5.50 per pupil; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The estimated full year cost of increasing the rate of ancillary grant by €5.50 per pupil in primary schools is circa €3.1m.

  Improvements have been made in recent years for the...More Button

Was asked: his views on the perceived unsatisfactory pay and employment conditions of school secretaries in the context of a review of such conditions; if these employees will be given more secure and sustain...More Button

Though schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of Clerical Officers and Caretakers in primary and secondary schools, where staff employed on these schemes are paid directly by th...More Button

Under these schemes, the majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools in the Free Education Scheme now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services. With...More Button

My Department has recently made significant efforts to improve the pay of School Secretaries and Caretakers who are employed using capitation grant assistance. In 2015 my Department engaged with ...More Button

I am personally very much aware of this as an issue and the important role that School Secretaries and Caretakers play in the running of schools. More Button

Direct Provision System

Was asked: if he has had discussions with the Minister for Justice and Equality or the Reception and Integration Agency regarding the need for additional spaces, teachers and educational resources in respect ...More Button

My Department engages on an ongoing basis with officials in the Department of Justice & Equality in relation to education issues arising from the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers and r...More Button

Arising from the enrolment of pupils in local schools from the proposed direct provision centre, additional resources can be provided where the need is identified in accordance with the relevant ...More Button

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on my Department’s website. The staffing arrangements as set out in Department of Education Circular 0010/2018 availa...More Button

Teachers' Remuneration

Was asked: if inequity with regard to a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 2012 a public service-wide review of pay and allowances was carried out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As a result of the review, qualification allowances and certain other ...More Button

With the publication of the circular specific allowances payable to teachers were withdrawn for new beneficiaries from 1 February 2012. Where a teacher held such an allowance on 31 January 2012 t...More Button

Appendix 4 of Circular 0008/2013 titled “Job Role Allowances at Primary and Post Primary level”, sets out scenarios for different situations. In regard to teachers who change school/ employer/job...More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. The starting salary for a new entrant teacher in 2011 was €27,814. As a result of the progra...More Button

Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that “the Minister [for Public Expenditure and Reform] shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare and lay b...More Button

The report laid before the Oireachtas on foot of this provision by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform assesses the cost of a further change which would provide a two scale point adjus...More Button

The matter of new entrant pay is a cross sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector alone. The Government supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having ...More Button

On Monday 24th September, the Government welcomed the outcome of discussions between public service employers and the public services committee of ICTU in respect of new entrant pay. More Button

This agreement will benefit 16,000 teachers and nearly 5,000 SNAs within the education sector. The deal provides for a series of incremental jumps for new entrants at points 4 and 8 of their scal...More Button

These restorations for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and shows the benefits that such...More Button

In Budget 2019, school leadership is again supported with an additional release day for teaching principals in primary schools and a further four additional release days for teaching principals i...More Button

This builds on measures in previous budgets, including €0.4 million made available in Budget 2018 to fund almost 4600 additional release days for teaching principals in primary schools. This fund...More Button

The Department also introduced an extension to the arrangements for schools with teaching principals to cluster their release days into full-time posts, with one teacher covering the release days...More Button

On 26 November, 2018 the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D., announced that the Minor Works Grant of €29m will be paid to all primary schools throughout the country over the next ...More Button

All primary schools receive a flat rate Minor Works Grant of €5,500 plus €18.50 per mainstream pupil and €74 per special needs pupil attending a special school or special class. The grant is wort...More Button

While schools have discretion under the Minor Works Grant Scheme in relation to the nature of small scale works and improvements to be carried out to their school buildings, the Department advise...More Button

While Budget 2012 increased the appointment and retention ratios for small schools (i.e., schools with up to four classroom teachers), the staffing ratios of these schools have been improved sinc...More Button

In September 2015, improved retention thresholds for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th classroom teacher were introduced, along with the improved appointment and retention thresholds for one-teacher schools s...More Button

Budget 2016 announced a 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule with this improvement implemented in the 2016/17 school year. More Button

Budget 2017 announced two adjustments in relation to one teacher schools. Where the school is the sole primary school on an island the school will be able to appoint a second teacher. In relatio...More Button

Improvements to the staffing schedule announced in Budget 2018 brings the teacher allocation ratio in all primary schools to the most favourable level ever seen at primary level and these improve...More Button

The staffing process includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, including small schools that were affected by the Budget 2012 changes, to the Pr...More Button

My Department is aware that some primary schools are experiencing difficulties in recruiting substitute teachers. More Button

I recently published the teacher supply action plan, which contains actions under a number of headings: data collection and analysis; promotion of the teaching profession; initial teacher educati...More Button

Home Tuition Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: when home tuition will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The purpose of my Department’s Home Tuition Grant Scheme is to provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for students who, for a number of reasons such as chronic ...More Button

School Funding

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Funding for all primary schools in the free education scheme is dealt with on a per capita basis.

  The two main grants are the capitation grant to cater for day to day running ...More Button

Ministerial Meetings

Was asked: the public events he attended by county since 1 May 2018 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Minister's diary is published online at and includes all the events the Minister attended. More Button

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Was asked: if he consulted the civil court records when he was establishing the redress scheme for victims of historical child sexual abuse; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In the establishment of redress schemes, the Minister has been cognisant of the right of individuals to take proceedings in Civil Courts. Under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement, the State had agreed t...More Button

Third Level Staff Remuneration

Was asked: the reason for the decision to intervene in a Workplace Relations Committee ruling regarding staff at Waterford Institute of Technology who were not moved onto a higher lecturer’s scale despite the...More Button

The Public Service Stability Agreement precludes cost increasing claims. A long-standing Industrial Relations Forum exists in respect of academic staff in Institutes of Technology. The Department, ...More Button

Scrúduithe Stáit

Cé nach mbeidh an scrúdú béil roghnach sa Ghaeilge ar fáil a thuilleadh agus nach bhfuil sé i gceist an cinneadh seo a athrú. Tá sé den tábhacht a rá gur cuid dhílis den eispéireas foghlama teanga ...More Button

School Curriculum

Was asked: the status of history at junior cycle (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since my arrival in the Department I have been considering the issue of History in the curriculum. I have spoken publicly of how vital it is that our young people can learn from the past so that th...More Button

Prior to the implementation of the new Framework for Junior Cycle, only 52% of schools - the voluntary secondary schools - provided History as a core subject. Yet 90% of students present for His...More Button

It is against this backdrop, of the importance of learning from our past, that I have asked the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to review the optional nature of history unde...More Button

As part of their review I have also asked the NCCA to identify how we can best promote the study of history in our schools. More Button

I met with officials of the NCCA and had an initial discussion on this matter. I expect to receive a report from the Council by the end of the first quarter of next year. More Button

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: his plans to increase the income levels for eligibility for the SUSI grant in line with tax band and tax credit increases announced in budget 2019; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that ...More Button

Under the terms of the student grant scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved c...More Button

The Student Grant Scheme provides for higher income thresholds for larger families. In addition to this, further increases in the income thresholds are provided for where additional family member...More Button

The lowest income threshold of €23,500 is set for the special rate of maintenance grant. This income threshold has increased in line with increases in the Old Age Pension for the 2017 & 2018 sche...More Button

Changes to the income thresholds are announced as part of the budget process. No further changes to the thresholds were included in Budget 2019.More Button

School Admissions

Was asked: his views on using county boundaries to distinguish between pupils in a feeder school in a school admissions policy (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In relation to enrolment generally, it is my Department's responsibility to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in an area. Parents can choo...More Button

State Examinations Commission

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 144 of 3 October 2018, when a reply will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

  Officials in my department have forwarded your...More Button

Special Educational Needs Staff

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to cuts to the number of special needs assistant, SNA, positions at a school (details supplied); and his plans to reinstate the positions in view of the level of sup...More Button

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care nee...More Button

DEIS Review

Was asked: the extent of the review of DEIS under way as mentioned by him in Dáil Éireann on 28 November 2018.More Button

DEIS is the main policy initiative of my Department to tackle educational disadvantage. DEIS provides additional supports, through the DEIS School Support Programme, to schools identified as having...More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education

Was asked: the criteria for over age exemption for the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme; and the reason a child with an autism diagnosis who cannot start school until 2019 due to a lack of sui...More Button

My Department does not provide funding to pre-school services other than to early intervention classes in recognised primary schools or special schools. Supports for childcare, including pre-schoo...More Button

DEIS Status

Was asked: if a school (details supplied) can upgrade its DEIS status; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware DEIS Plan 2017 was the culmination of more than 18 months of consultation and discourse with education partners and other stakeholders to ensure that identification of s...More Button

Apprenticeship Programmes

Was asked: his plans to increase funding and capacity for apprenticeships in view of their importance in the workforce; the type of promotion his Department utilises to inform persons of apprenticeship opport...More Button

Special Educational Needs

Was asked: when funding will be provided for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On approval of a special class in a school, my Department provides a once-off lump sum grant (€6,500 per class) towards the purchase of educational aids and equipment for special needs pupils enrol...More Button

In respect of the school to which the Deputy refers, my Department has already sanctioned start-up grants, furniture and ICT grants totalling €27,500 to facilitate the establishment of the 2 ASD ...More Button

Under the Additional Accommodation Scheme 2015, the Department approved an all-in-grant for the provision of a 2 classroom ASD Unit at the school in question. As the start-up grants paid previou...More Button

School Accommodation

Was asked: if he has considered a report from a school (details supplied) in respect of the school building inspection report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has made contact with the school authority in question to advise that any immediate deficit in classroom accommodation may be addressed under my Depa...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's current focus is to prioritise funding for essential classroom accommodation to meet demographic need. The Deputy will be aware that the National...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application by a school (details supplied) for grant aid for additional school accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to confirm that an appliation from the school in question has been received within my Department.

  The application is currently under consideration and once a decision ha...More Button

Was asked: if he will address matters raised about a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I can confirm that my Department received correspondence from the school referred to by the Deputy seeking a review of their application for additional accommodation. The matter is currently being ...More Button

School Management

Was asked: if the governance manual for primary schools 2015 to 2019 and the Education Act 1998 are the only measures in place governing the removal of persons by a patron from a primary school's board of man...More Button

In accordance with the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the appointment of a Board of Management of a school is a matter for the relevant school patron.

  The mechanisms u...More Button