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Dempsey, Noel

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 Nbr. 4


Written Answers. - Sign Language Interpreters.

Was asked: if he will consider proposals to increase the number of persons qualified as sign language interpreters; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department announced the establishment of the Irish Centre for Deaf Studies in University of Dublin, Trinity College, in June 2000. The centre was established to offer courses to improve communi...More Button

The number of Irish Sign Language (ISL/English) interpreters in Ireland will more than treble from 20 to 65 interpreters over the first five years from the establishment of this centre. For the fir...More Button

The proposal submitted by Trinity College to the Higher Education Authority in 1998 envisaged that the Centre for Deaf Studies would introduce three two-year full-time undergraduate diploma courses...More Button

I am not aware of any proposals to increase the number of places available on these courses.More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if approval will be given for resource hours to a school (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has received an application from the school in question for the allocation of additional teaching resources to cater for the special needs of a number of pupils. My Department will a...More Button

Was asked: if it is fair, correct and sensible to send children with a visual disability to the North for services; and the further number of children with disabilities being sent outside the State for servic...More Button

I can assure the Deputy that I would be most anxious that all children with disabilities, including children with visual impairment, should have their needs addressed within this jurisdiction.More Button

Decisions to place children in facilities outside the State are only taken in very exceptional circumstances and usually arise because of the very specialised educational or health care/medical nee...More Button

At present, seven children with special educational or health care needs are placed in facilities outside the State.More Button

Was asked: if he will urgently support the National Centre for the Visually Impaired, Grace Park Road, Dublin 9; if he will ensure that all parents are consulted regarding the project; and if he will give an ...More Button

Arising from the report of a planning group which was established to consider proposals for the development of a national centre for the visually impaired, my Department engaged a project team to c...More Button

The report of the project team has just recently been received in my Department. The report, which is lengthy and complex, is now being examined by my Department. Further decisions on the proposal ...More Button

It would be my intention that all relevant parties be kept informed of developments.More Button

Was asked: the number of children who are on the waiting list for diagnosis of dyslexia here; and if he will provide a breakdown of this figure by county.More Button

The National Educational Psychological Service Agency (NEPS) has been mandated by my Department to develop a psychological service that will eventually be available to all primary and post-primary ...More Button

Whilst NEPS keeps statistics on the reasons for referrals for psychological assessments, these are not available on a county by county basis. In relation to dyslexia, NEPS psychologists do not keep...More Button

The current situation is that practically all post-primary schools and roughly two thirds of primary schools have access to the NEPS service. Children in schools not yet served by NEPS may be asses...More Button

Pending the appointment of the full quota of psychologists to the NEPS Agency, I have also made funding available so that schools that do not yet have access to its service may commission psycholog...More Button

NEPS is currently examining the implications for its policy and procedures of the Report of the Task Force on Dyslexia.More Button

Was asked: the number of second level schools which have applied for extra resource hours for children with special needs; the number of hours applied for; when a decision will be made; and if he will make a ...More Button

My Department allocates resource teaching posts, special needs assistant posts and additional teaching hours to second level schools to cater for special needs pupils. The relevant school authority...More Button

At present there are approximately 300 applications from post-primary schools for additional resources to cater for special needs students at various stages of completion. As soon as reports are re...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to reports that it is increasingly difficult for schools and providers of special education to retain speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and edu...More Button

The national educational psychological service came into existence on 1 September 1999 with the 43 psychologists already employed in my Department. The recruitment of additional psychologists invol...More Button

Notwithstanding the time consuming nature of such competitions, there are now 119 psychologists in NEPS in addition to a number of psychologists deployed elsewhere in the educational system, bringi...More Button

The Civil Service and Local Government Commissioners have established a panel of 69 psychologists who were successful in the most recent competition. Some 37 of these psychologists have entered the...More Button

Since 1999, two psychologists have, sadly, died. Six others have left NEPS, three on retirement and three to take up employment elsewhere in the public service. It seems therefore that NEPS's abili...More Button

The employment and retention of speech and language therapists and of occupational therapists is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children.More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the process to date in regard to the provision of new facilities to replace St. Patrick's post primary school, Naas, County Kildare; the original plan in respect of the project; the proposals and p...More Button

A proposal from County Kildare Vocational Education Committee to dispose of the existing St. Patrick's post primary school, Naas, County Kildare and to provide accommodation on a new site has been ...More Button

This proposal raised a number of concerns which necessitated clarification by reference to legal advice. Following this advice, my Department's post primary building unit informed the chief executi...More Button

In the circumstances, the now acting chief executive officer has been requested to put forward an alternative accommodation proposal for the school. A response is currently awaited.More Button

Was asked: the current requirements in respect of facilities sought by the school authorities at Maynooth post primary school, Maynooth, County Kildare; the precise position in regard to the provision of such...More Button

The proposed extension at Maynooth post primary school comprises six general classrooms and a number of specialist rooms together with the larger sized PE hall.More Button

The stage 3 (developed sketch scheme) has been examined within my Department's post primary building unit. It has been necessary to seek further clarification on a number of items from the chief ex...More Button

A response has been received and is being examined by my Department's technical staff.More Button

When this examination is completed, subject to all being satisfactory, the question of allowing the project to proceed to stage 4 (detail design) will be considered in the context of the capital al...More Button

Was asked: if work is approved and can proceed at St. Brigid's national school, Ardaghy, Omeath, County Louth; and when the work will commence.More Button

My Department has an extensive primary school building programme under way at present details of which are available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.More Button

In view of the extensive nature of the building programme, my Department has no plans at present to initiate architectural planning for any further major building projects for the foreseeable future.More Button

In the meantime, the school's board of management should use their devolved grant to deal with any urgent health and safety works.More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 323 of 18 June 2002, the position regarding the building project for Ballyduff national school; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Architectural planning for a major building project at Ballyduff national school is at an early stage.More Button

I intend to publish my Department's expenditure proposals for school buildings in January. In the meantime it is not possible to say when individual projects will progress to construction.More Button

Was asked: if he will approve funding for the development at Roxboro national school, County Roscommon, in view of the fact that tenders have been submitted to his Department for the project.More Button

Tender reports for Roxboro national school, Four Mile House, have been received by my Department.More Button

I will announce my Department's expenditure proposals for primary school buildings in the new year. It is not possible at this point to give any indication as to when construction will commence on ...More Button

Was asked: if revised plans have been received in his Department regarding plans to extend and refurbish Kyle national school; when he expects to approve these plans; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Architectural planning for a building project at Kyle national school is at an early stage. I will announce my Department's expenditure proposals for primary school buildings in the new year. It is...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the provision of a permanent extension for the CBS secondary school, Tramore, County Waterford; if each stage of the proposal will be progressed without undue delay; and if h...More Button

The proposed extension project at CBS secondary school, Tramore, County Waterford, is at stage two, outline sketch scheme, of architectural planning. The question of authorising the school authorit...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the conditions at Gaelscoil Bhaile Munna, Dublin 9, which has a shortage of two classrooms and therefore has severe accommodation problems for its pupils and staf...More Button

The board of management of the school in question has been authorised by my Department to apply for planning permission and seek tenders for the provision of two additional temporary classrooms. Wh...More Button

Was asked: the progress which has been made regarding a school project (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

The extension and refurbishment project at the school referred to by the Deputy is at stage four of architectural planning. Officials of the post-primary building unit of my Department are examinin...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a secondary school project (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

My Department's post-primary building unit has agreed a schedule of residual accommodation with the management of the school to which the Deputy refers. The question of the approval to authorise th...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the urgent need for the provision of an extension and PE hall at a college (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The school to which the Deputy refers is to receive additional accommodation to cater for a projected long-term enrolment of 550 pupils. The proposed extension includes for the provision of a PE ha...More Button

In May 2002 officials in the building unit of my Department wrote to County Wicklow Vocational Education Committee requesting it to address a number of issues concerning its revised stage two submi...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: if he will identify by location, acreage and other details, the State properties in his Department which are being considered for sale or are available for sale at present.More Button

Whereas all community and comprehensive schools are vested in the Minister for Education and Science there are no plans to dis pose of any these properties. In particular circumstances small portio...More Button

Since 1999 the Minister for Education and Science may acquire a site for new schools. Clearly, there is no intent to dispose of any sites acquired for the purpose of building schools since that date.More Button

The Thurles campus of the Tipperary Rural and Business Development Institute remains vested in the Minister for Education and Science. North Tipperary County Council required approximately 1.25 acr...More Button

There are no plans to dispose of any of the remainder of the Thurles campus.More Button

Written Answers. - Task Force Report on Dyslexia.

Was asked: the progress which has been made on implementing the recommendations of the Task Force Report on Dyslexia; the portions of the report which have not been implemented; the reasons for the failure of...More Button

The report of the Task Force on Dyslexia is comprehensive and far-reaching. It contains over 60 individual recommendations ranging across a wide variety of issues from identification and assessment...More Button

Since the task force reported, a number of initiatives have been taken in the area of dyslexia. These include:More Button

(1) the introduction of the first ever online training course for teachers catering for pupils with dyslexia,More Button

(2) the appointment of ten new learning support trainers to the primary curriculum support programme specifically to provide in-depth support for the implementation of learning support guidelines f...More Button

(3) a reduction from 11:1 to 9:1 in the pupil teacher ratio applicable to special classes catering for children with dyslexia.More Button

In addition to the above measures, significant progress has been made on developing the structural and legislative framework necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the task force's re...More Button

To date, a key focus of my Department has been on finalising arrangements for the establishment of the National Council for Special Education which will be of central importance in facilitating the...More Button

I will also be bringing forward legislation at the earliest possible date, based on the Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill, which will establish the rights and entitlements of children an...More Button

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: the number of higher education grants awarded by each local authority in the country for the years from 1997 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of higher education grants awarded by each local authority for the academic years 1997-98 to 2000-01 is set out in tabular form.More Button

The corresponding figures for the academic year 2001-02 are subject to confirmation, through statistical return, by the individual local authorities. When this data is finalised, I will arrange to ...More Button

Was asked: the occupations, professions and employments of the parents of students awarded higher education maintenance grants for each county council; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Each local authority is requested to forward data to my Department on the socio-economic background of higher education grant-holders who are new entrants to third level education.More Button

The most recent data available relates to the 2000-01 academic year and is in tabular form for the Deputy's information. It should be noted, however, that returns have not been received from seven ...More Button

When the data is received, I will arrange for my Department to forward this information to the Deputy.More Button

Written Answers. - Compensation Payments.

Was asked: the time frame within which the institutional redress board will make payments, in view of the fact that some of those waiting for redress for abuse suffered while in Irish institutions are termina...More Button

The Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002, provides for the establishment of the Residential Institutions Redress Board.More Button

The board has commenced an advertising campaign informing possible applicants that application forms and a guide to the application process are now available from their offices in Clonskeagh. Follo...More Button

The board has assured me that priority will be given to applications received from persons of advanced age or poor health. Section 9 of the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002, provides for ...More Button

Written Answers. - Educational Equipment.

Was asked: when his Department will release funding for the purchase of a laptop computer, scanner and printer for a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department is currently considering an application for funding towards the purchase of computer equipment for the person referred to by the Deputy. A decision will be conveyed to the school auth...More Button

Written Answers. - Academy for the Performing Arts.

Was asked: the position regarding the development of the Academy for the Performing Arts; the amount of money spent on the project to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, in December 1999, the Government approved the establishment of an academy for the performing arts incorporating a headquarters at Dublin City University, a Limerick cam...More Button

The interim governing authority was launched by my predecessor, Deputy Michael Woods, on 29 April to drive forward the establishment of an academy. The authority is chaired by Ms Carmel Naughton. I...More Button

The authority has met on three occasions since being appointed. It is actively engaged in progressing the work of the academy in both the recruitment process for its president and more generally it...More Button

Written Answers. - Therapy Training Places.

Was asked: the number of students who took up third level places to study speech and language therapy in the 2002-03 academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There were 29 places available on the speech and language therapy course at the University of Dublin, Trinity College for the academic year 2002-03. The provisional figure for the number of student...More Button

Last May my predecessor, Deputy Michael Woods, announced the provision of 75 new training places in the area of speech and language therapy. This was done to combat a shortage of therapists as iden...More Button

It is expected that the first intake to these courses will commence in the 2003-04 academic year.More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 364 of 18 June, if all the additional 175 places indicated in the reply have been taken up; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provision of an additional 175 professional therapy training places to tackle the shortage of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists was announced on 29 Ma...More Button

The distribution of the additional places is as follows:More Button

University College Cork, National University of Ireland – Cork25 places – bachelor of science in speech and language therapyMore Button

25 places – bachelor of science in occupational therapyMore Button

National University of Ireland, Galway25 places – bachelor of science in speech and language therapyMore Button

25 places – bachelor of science in occupational therapyMore Button

University of Limerick25 places – master of science in speech and language therapyMore Button

25 places – master of science in occupational therapyMore Button

25 places – bachelor of science in physiotherapyMore Button

There was an intake of 28 to the bachelor of science in physiotherapy at the University of Limerick in October 2002. Preparatory arrangements, including the recruitment of necessary staff, are bein...More Button

Written Answers. - Gaelscoil Phort Láirge.

Tá tosú déanta ar an phleanáil ailtireachta don tionscnamh tógála sa Gaelscoil Phort Láirge.More Button

Déantar cinneadh ar thionscnaimh a chur ar aghaidh chuig tairiscint agus tógáil i láthair an dáilte bhliantúil le haghaidh foirgneamh bunscoileanna, na dua...More Button

Written Answers. - National Education Welfare Board.

Was asked: the number of staff which will be appointed to the National Education Welfare Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The board is currently recruiting its head office staff, including a number of senior management people, ten posts in all. The board has already appointed an interim chief executive.More Button

In addition, the former school attendance officers, and related senior grades, 36 staff in all, have transferred from the relevant local authorities to the board, in accordance with the provisions ...More Button

The educational welfare service is a major new national service. As announced at the time the board was appointed last year, the service will be phased in over a period. As this is a major new serv...More Button

Was asked: the responsibilities of the staff appointed to the National Education Welfare Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The board is an independent statutory body, established under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. As such the duties and responsibilities assigned to its staff members, or groups of staff, from time...More Button

I have asked the board to forward the information sought by the Deputy to her as soon as possible.More Button

Written Answers. - Education (Welfare) Act, 2000.

Was asked: when he intends to provide information and guidance on the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, to schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Educational Welfare Board is an independent statutory body established under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, to implement the provisions of the Act.More Button

The Act contains a number of provisions on guidance and assistance to be provided by the board to schools. At present the board is recruiting its head office staff, including a number of senior man...More Button

Written Answers. - Industrial Relations Negotiations.

Was asked: when he intends to hold negotiations with unions on the practical implementation of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A claim on behalf of the three teacher unions is being processed through the teachers conciliation and arbitration scheme.More Button

Negotiations are ongoing with the union representing the former school attendance officers, who are now staff of the National Educational Welfare Board, as to the terms and conditions of the office...More Button

Written Answers. - Inservice Training.

Was asked: if he intends to provide in-service training for primary school teachers to deal with developmental co-ordination disorder; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Teaching duties and responsibilities do not include the therapies usually applied in the treatment of developmental co-ordination disorder. Such treatments, where assessed as being required, normal...More Button

Written Answers. - State Examinations.

Was asked: if he intends to review the timetable for the junior and leaving certificate examinations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The timetable for the State examinations each year is finalised by my Department following consultation with the education partners, including representatives from the teacher groups, school manage...More Button

The timetable will continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis with the education partners. My Department's approach is to build consensus regarding suggested improvements.More Button

Written Answers. - Capitation Grants.

Was asked: if the capitation grant for national schools will be paid before Christmas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he intends to increase the capitation grant for national schools, to bring spending on national schools more closer to the OECD average; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take questions 255 and 257 together.More Button

It is intended to pay the first moiety of the capitation grant to national schools in January 2003. The grant will be paid directly into schools' bank accounts by way of electronic funds transfer. ...More Button

The main source of funding of the running costs of primary schools is the capitation grant. The standard capitation grant at primary level, which stood at £45 or €57.14 in 1997, was incr...More Button

I am satisfied the increases in the capitation grant referred to constitute a meaningful response to the need for increased funding for schools.More Button

Was asked: the amount of curriculum grant which will be paid to schools in 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The question of the payment of a curriculum grant is currently under consideration by officials of my Department. If such a grant is to be paid in 2002 this will be effected by way of electronic f...More Button

Should it be decided to pay such a curriculum grant a copy of the circular will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.More Button

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 255.More Button

Written Answers. - Educational Disadvantage.

Was asked: the status of the application for the new deal programme for disadvantage under the educational disadvantage in primary schools programme; and if his attention has been drawn to the case of St. Col...More Button

The new disadvantage programme entitled Giving Children an Even Break was launched last year to tackle educational disadvantage at primary level. It replaced the previous process of the designation...More Button

Schools participating in the new programme are in receipt of a range of additional supports including teacher posts and other non teaching supports to be targeted at disadvantaged pupils. The addit...More Button

All of the schools identified as having pupils enrolled with characteristics of disadvantage have been invited to participate in the new programme. In the urban dimension, schools identified as hav...More Button

It has been brought to my Department's attention by the ERC that some schools, including the school in question misinterpreted a question on the survey form. The ERC re-examined the data supplied i...More Button

On this basis the new post allocated to the school will be suppressed at the end of the 2002-03 school year. The teacher in question will be placed on the diocesan teaching panel. The amended fundi...More Button

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Was asked: if he will review the decision to refuse the post-leaving certificate maintenance grant to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The decision on eligibility for maintenance grants in respect of attendance at PLC courses is a matter for the relevant VEC. These bodies do not refer individual applications to my Department excep...More Button

If an applicant considers that she or he has been unjustly refused a maintenance grant, or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, she or he may appeal to the relevant VEC.More Button

Where an applicant has had an appeal turned down in writing by the relevant VEC, and remains of the view that the body has not interpreted the schemes correctly in his or her case, a letter outlini...More Button

It is not open to me or my Department to depart from the terms of the maintenance grants schemes in individual cases.More Button

Written Answers. - Official Language Equality.

Was asked: the additional costs which have arisen from the obligations on his Department regarding the adoption by the Government in July 2002 of official language equality as one of the three new principles ...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled in my Department at present and will be forwarded directly to him.More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Was asked: if he will support the modular course for teachers or an accelerated modular course to ensure that qualified teachers go into a primary educational system to deal with the shortage of primary teach...More Button

The intake to the B. Ed. programme in the colleges of education has been increased dramatically in recent years. Since 1999 more than 1,000 students have been admitted annually to the undergraduate...More Button

The total annual intake to the colleges of education in the 2000-02 academic year was increased to a record 1,461. This compares with an intake of 500 in 1996-97. There are some 3,460 students enro...More Button

My Department will be consulting with the primary colleges of education in the near future with regard to the provision of modular type courses for secondary trained teachers with the necessary aca...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if a copy of the medical report on a person (details supplied) in Dublin 16 commissioned by his Department will be made available to this person; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Recent medical reports were submitted by the person referred to by the Deputy for the purpose of resuming his teaching duties. In the absence of an updated report from the independent medical exami...More Button

Written Answers. - Educational Welfare Service.

Was asked: when there will be a full national educational welfare officer service; the person in the interim who is providing the protection of the law for young people covered by the Education (Welfare) Act,...More Button

The educational welfare service is a major new national service. As announced at the time, the National Educational Welfare Board was appointed last year and the service will be phased in over a pe...More Button

As in all other situations, it is a matter for each individual as to whether he or she might wish to take legal action in a certain set of circumstances.More Button