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Quinn, Ruairí

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 Nbr. 2


Priority Questions - School Staffing

Was asked: if he is committed to reversing in full the decision taken in budget 2012 to cut 428 DEIS posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: in view of his public statement in relation to budget 2012, and its negative impact on DEIS band schools, if he will clarify the terms of reference of the review he intends to carry out; and the im...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.More Button

I announced in the House on 11 January that my Department will be reporting to me within four weeks on the impact of the withdrawal of certain posts allocated under previous disadvantaged schemes i...More Button

This report will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up-to-date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the ...More Button

It is only when this report is made available to me that I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved.More Button

There never was any intention to remove any of the DEIS Band 1 and Band 2 allocations to those schools. What was proposed with the introduction of DEIS in the mid-2000s was that in schools located...More Button

I merely want to clarify that there is nothing in the intentions in the past or in the future that would diminish the status of DEIS schools as DEIS schools. What is proposed is to look at the exa...More Button

I agree with the Deputy Crowe analysis of the perception out there.More Button

An existing DEIS school that does not have any legacy posts could be scheduled to lose a post because numbers have fallen under the general allocation model. That number projected to possibly come...More Button

What I have done is say: “Hold on, let us compare the figures that are coming from the schools themselves with what we had intended to propose”. This measure was supposed to be implemented over a ...More Button

As I have stated elsewhere, whatever savings I must find will have to come from within the primary school section of the overall budget because of the totality of the sums that I have to achieve. ...More Button

Nobody is disputing that.More Button

On Deputy Smith’s question, unfortunately my predecessors — his colleagues — did not upgrade the information gathering system and we still use pigeon post to send the data. The c...More Button

It is an enormous exercise considering that 3,200 primary schools must fill in, perhaps, 20 fields of information. The information cannot even be filed electronically. We had the data from the pr...More Button

I agree with the Deputy in regard to DEIS. This is not an attack on DEIS whatsoever, although it suited some people to understand it that way. This is an identification of inequality within the D...More Button

To answer Deputy Crowe’s question, I am going to wait until I get up-to-date facts before deciding my options. I am not in a position today to indicate what I will do. I now hope to have th...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm the [277]number of 475 special needs assistants posts which were withheld last September that have been allocated to date; the criteria that was appli...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education, NCSE, is responsible through its network of local special educational needs organisers for allocating special needs assista...More Button

The Department does not allocate resources because this is the responsibility of the council. Given that it is a specialist council which draws on professional inputs, I will not second-guess it a...More Button

I will not interfere with the professional assessment of people who are charged with making decisions on allocating resources. The fact that they have provision for 10,575 posts does not mean they...More Button

Was asked: his views that following his decision to allow schools to manage guidance provision within their standard allocation that schools are now faced with the situation whereby they either cut career gui...More Button

Guidance is a whole school activity and under existing arrangements each school is expected to develop a school guidance plan as a means of supporting the needs of its students. These requirements...More Button

The budget measure is a requirement for guidance provision to be managed by schools from within their standard staffing allocation from September 2012. Schools will have autonomy on how best to pr...More Button

I have heard the arguments and I have met representatives of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. I understand the difficulties associated with the modern world in which we all live. Many regul...More Button

We are, unfortunately, in a position in which I must do more with less, and one of the most efficient ways of doing this — I received advice in this regard — was to allocate the ex-q...More Button

I may have misled the Deputy. I will obtain clarification on this. The information from the briefing I got, which I placed on the record of the House on Tuesday evening, was that 42% of secondary...More Button

I will get clarification for the Deputy.More Button

I will write to the Deputy on that matter.More Button

Priority Questions - Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Was asked: the reason he increased class sizes in schools of two, three and four teacher schools in view of the fact that smaller class sizes particularly at infant level would seem to have a positive affect ...More Button

The staffing schedule at primary level disproportionately benefits small primary schools. It is worth noting that of the 3,200 primary schools across Ireland, more than two thirds have more than 8...More Button

It is important to retain a sense of perspective and balance when discussing this matter and to realise the exceptionally favourable supports my Department will continue to provide for small school...More Button

I understand what the Deputy is saying; my colleagues in Fine Gael and the Labour Party have articulated similar concerns as conveyed to them. A gradual change in the threshold for a two-teacher s...More Button

I remind Members, as I did on a previous occasion, that we now have 3,200 primary schools. At one time, and I am not referring to the 1800s, there were over 6,000 primary schools in Ireland. Nobo...More Button

It is not my intention to force the closure of any school. We have given three years for the schools located in affected areas. Some schools will not be affected by this; in fact, the majority wi...More Button

Other Questions - School Staffing

Was asked: if he has taken on board the concerns of rural communities following the announcement that there will be changes to the staffing schedules for one, two, three and four teacher schools; if he has co...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide further details on the proposed changes to the staffing schedules in one, two, three and four teacher schools as outlined in budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 8 together.More Button

5 o’clockMore Button

I am of course aware of concerns that have been expressed in relation to this and other budget measures. At a time of great strain in our public finances, we have to ensure that the very valuable ...More Button

It is important to retain a sense of perspective and balance when discussing this matter and to realise the exceptionally favourable supports my Department will continue to provide for small school...More Button

These matters will be examined. The schools can appeal through the appeals mechanism if they can demonstrate that they will be at the required number next year. We know the data; the Department h...More Button

The Deputy asked five or seven supplementary questions. I will take note of them as I might have to reply to them in writing. There are fixed standing charges for a school, such as insurance, whi...More Button

When these measures are introduced across the country by the end of 2014 the pupil-teacher ratios will still be very favourably biased or skewed in favour of rural areas. They will be far differen...More Button

I will refer back to the Deputy.More Button

The Deputy disagrees with reality.More Button

Deputy Smith has raised another element, namely, resource teachers and people spending teaching time in the car travelling between schools. We are examining how we can eliminate this type of waste...More Button

To return to the central point raised by Deputies Boyd Barrett and Penrose, schools in rural areas have been given a signal that the pupil-teacher ratio will be changed in the next three years. I ...More Button

As Deputy Penrose noted, the developing schools model serves as an example. We do not want to get into the nonsense of removing a teacher from a school in year X only to bring the teacher back in ...More Button

Other Questions - Proposed Legislation

Was asked: the date on which he expects the residential institutions redress statutory fund Bill to be established; and if he will provide an update on his engagement with survivors of institutional abuse on ...More Button

Work on the drafting of the residential institutions statutory fund Bill is at an advanced stage and I hope to be in a position to publish the Bill in the coming weeks. I had a very constructive me...More Button

The Bill is still in the process of being finalised and will be introduced in this session. The points the Deputy makes will be taken into consideration when we have the text before us.More Button

The Deputy is partially correct. The board has money available to it but also has ongoing liabilities arising from educational commitments it has made which extend beyond one year. I will get a n...More Button

We have another question on that issue. In case we do not reach it, the Magdalene survivors do not qualify in that regard.More Button

Question No. 8 answered with Question No. 6.More Button

Other Questions - Disadvantaged Status

Was asked: if all previously proposed cuts to DEIS schools have been abandoned; and in view of his public comments on seeking cuts elsewhere in his budget in which he is planning to make such cuts; the areas ...More Button

Was asked: if all previously proposed cuts to DEIS schools have been abandoned and in view of his public comments on seeking cuts elsewhere in his budget where is he planning to make such cuts; the areas he i...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 30 together.More Button

I am aware of the concerns of some schools which will be adversely affected by the budget measures on the withdrawal of certain posts under older disadvantage schemes. I announced in the House on ...More Button

This issue arises in the context of a very difficult situation where the education sector, which employs one third of all public sector employees, is required to find savings and contribute to cont...More Button

The Department of Education and Skills employs one third of all public sector employees. Numbers must be reduced to meet the macro targets set by the troika. Of course, it has told us to find the...More Button

There has already been a considerable increase in taxation. Some people have felt it was even excessive. The universal social charge has been removed from the lowest paid workers.More Button

The memorandum of understanding has an employment control framework. I advise the Deputy to read it and examine the areas of the public service that could be reduced that have not been.More Button

The review is being undertaken in the Department. I asked for it to be completed in four weeks — that is three and a half weeks time. When I receive it, I will make decisions on it and cons...More Button

The review will be a numbers review primarily because of the shortage of time and the necessity to inform all schools about their teacher allocations. There may well be appeals from some of the sc...More Button

I want to check the figures of the projected job losses to post losses that some teachers have indicated to Members and what I saw in the Department. When I have reconciled them, I will then make ...More Button

No, nobody is all over the place.More Button

I will review this in a short time. Savings will have to be made and they will have to come from the primary school budget of the Department. Until such time as I see those figures, I will not ma...More Button

Some of these questions have already been answered. I will answer them again. There will be no reduction in DEIS band 1 or DEIS band 2 allocations. It was proposed that those schools that had re...More Button

I remind Members, particularly Deputy O’Brien, that 60% of socially disadvantaged children attend schools with no DEIS status. I have to achieve a balance between rural, mainstream, DEIS ban...More Button

Fairness.More Button

Other Questions - Third Level Fees

Was asked: if he will publish the new qualifying criteria for new entrant postgraduate students seeking to receive support with their third level fees from next year; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Other Questions - Third Level Courses

Was asked: the progress made to date in developing a technological university in the south east; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In May of last year I formally asked the Higher Education Authority to provide advice to me on draft performance criteria for a process for the designation of technological universities. Draft cri...More Button

The criteria will set out a roadmap for the potential re-designation of institutes of technology, which can meet the performance requirements set out, as technological universities. Consolidation ...More Button

There was a very misleading headline in a piece in The Irish Times earlier this week. No decision has been made on a technological university in the south east or anywhere else. In my form...More Button

The HEA published a set of criteria on collaboration, joint ventures and a host of other ways in which, in the spirit of the Hunt report, the institutions can combine. Instead of having a binary s...More Button

I do not want to devalue the level and quality of third level education in this country by changing names. If institutions wish to aspire to a set of criteria that would give them the designation ...More Button

I agree with the observations made by the Deputy and I can assure him that there is joined up thinking. It will be driven by the institutions. They will be given encouragement to make sensible, c...More Button

Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

The Dáil adjourned at 4.46 p.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 24 January 2012.More Button

Written Answers - FÁS Training Programmes

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that allowance to persons attending the schemes such as the national learning network, that provides courses for persons with a disability, have had thei...More Button

Written Answers - School Curriculum

Was asked: if he will consider proposals contained in the recent report by the National Competitiveness Council which recommended that the education system be overhauled with a much greater emphasis on maths ...More Button

Written Answers - Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Was asked: if he will revisit his decision to exclude Bethany Home, Dublin, survivors from a State redress mechanism in view of the deluge of information that is now in the public domain detailing the State&r...More Button

Following my meeting with representatives of the Bethany Home Survivors Group last year, I reviewed the relevant papers in relation to the Home. Having taken all the circumstances into account, I ...More Button

Written Answers - Literacy and Numeracy Strategy

Was asked: if public libraries will be integrated into the development of the literacy and strategy programme. More Button

Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020 acknowledges the important role which libraries play in...More Button

Officials in my Department have met with library interests to discuss models of engagement and to progress the implementation of actions in the Strategy relating to libraries.More Button

Written Answers - Third Level Charges

Was asked: the increase in participation at third level over the past decade, if he considered the likely impact on participation at third level following decisions taken in budget 2012; and if he will make a...More Button

Continuing high demand for higher education is extremely welcome in the context of the steps we are taking to support economic recovery and the development and expansion of sustainable employment o...More Button

In considering the scale of increase, the Government was highly conscious of affordability and the need to promote participation. Every effort has also been made to protect resources for the most ...More Button

The Government has also committed a further €10m to support unemployed people in accessing higher education opportunities on a part time basis in 2012 through the further development of the Sp...More Button

Was asked: the fact that student contribution fee increases beyond 2012 were not included in the comprehensive expenditure report 2012 to 2014, if he will confirm that there will be no further increases beyon...More Button

The reality of our economic situation presents significant challenges that have to be reconciled with limitations on public resources. Ireland must adhere to its agreed economic recovery programme ...More Button

It should be noted that the contribution is paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under the third level grant schemes. Tax relief is also available for second and subsequent sibl...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects

Was asked: if a school (details supplied) in Dublin 7, a DEIS band two school is still on the list for capital funding in the context of the school building and modernisation programme; if he will clarify the...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, my Department is currently in the process of acquiring a site for the school to which she refers. An application for planning permission forms part of the site acquisition ...More Button

The current status of all projects on the school building programme, including the school in question, may be viewed on my Department’s website at www.education.ie and this will be upd...More Button

The Government’s Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10th November 2011, sets out the demographic challenge facing the education system in the ...More Button

In view of the need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of major school projects and smaller projects devolved to schools to meet the demographic demands nationall...More Button

I have previously committed to publishing shortly a five year plan outlining the school building projects to be constructed in that time.More Button

Was asked: the stage of a proposed building project (details supplied); when the project is likely to proceed to the next stage and to construction stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

A Master Plan for the site on which the proposed school, referred to by the Deputy, is to be constructed is currently being finalised. The production of the Master Plan is the first step in the pr...More Button

I have previously committed to publishing shortly a five year plan outlining the school building projects to be constructed in that time.More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff

Was asked: the total number of teachers who have applied to retire by 29 February; the number of these who will be re-employed by post primary schools following their retirement; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

A total of 798 primary and 582 secondary community and comprehensive school teachers have applied to my Department for benefits on retirement in the period 1 December 2011 to 29 February 2012. Of ...More Button

I announced measures in November 2011 permitting post-primary schools to re-employ teachers who retire between 1 December 2011 and 29 February 2012 and who, immediately before their retirement, hav...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a report into the staffing levels of professional development service for teachers. More Button

My Department has allocated a total of 170 teachers to teacher professional development of which 87 are employed full time in the Professional Development Service for Teachers. Teachers are engage...More Button

Was asked: the number of civil servants from his Department who are based in the European Commission working in the relevant permanent representative offices; their titles and functions; and if he will make a...More Button

One Assistant Principal Officer has been assigned as Education and Skills attaché at the Irish Permanent Representation to the European Union. This officer represents the Department in deal...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Bodies

Was asked: if the single awarding authority for student grants will be in place for the 2012-2013 academic year applications. More Button

Plans are well underway to replace the 66 existing student grant awarding bodies with one single grant awarding authority. I have appointed the City of Dublin VEC to operate the centralised author...More Button

It is intended therefore that the new grant awarding authority will accept all new student grant applications from the 2012/13 academic year onwards. The existing 66 grant awarding bodies will con...More Button

I am sure the Deputy will agree that this is a positive example of genuine public sector reform. I believe it will ensure a better level of customer service for all those who use the student grant...More Button

Was asked: the expected management and organisational structures of new further education and training authority SOLAS; and the percentage of its management that will come from the entity previously known as ...More Button

Written Answers - Languages Initiative

Was asked: if he is examining any options, such as sourcing funding from the European Union, to restore the modern languages initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

My consideration of the modern language initiative is wider than one of funding alone.More Button

The Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative has been a pilot scheme involving approximately 550 schools that has operated since 1998.More Button

The decision to end the scheme took account of a 2008 Report by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The report identified serious issues with curricular overload at primary ...More Button

The NCCA’s advice recommended for the present modern languages should not be part of the Primary School Curriculum as an additional and separate subject. The advice in relation to curriculum...More Button

The primary curriculum is currently being reviewed by the NCCA in the context of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. The €2.5million in savings from this measure will go towards the ...More Button

Given the priority of literacy and numeracy I have acted on the 2008 advice about overload and could not justify either the continuation of the initiative in the existing schools or its expansion t...More Button

Written Answers - School Patronage

Was asked: the position regarding the patronage for new second level schools in Dundalk and Drogheda, County Louth More Button

In June of last year I announced that 20 new second level schools would be established up to 2017 to meet increasing demographics. These included new second level schools in both Dundalk and Drogh...More Button

Applications for patronage of the new second level schools to be established in 2013 and 2014 have been sought by my Department from prospective patrons and the closing date for receipt of applicat...More Button

Was asked: the meaning of the words “a development of the existing designated community college model or a new community school model” in part 2(a) of the clarification of patronage models for new second leve...More Button

The existing designated community college model is one in which the VEC is the sole patron but colleges are “designated” as being of a particular denomination due to the composition of the Board of...More Button

Developing the existing designated community college model would allow for a partnership approach, whereby a VEC could make applications for patronage on a partnership basis with another patron bod...More Button

These issues are being considered by my Department in consultation with the relevant education partners, and will inform the basis of any future patronage models to be established.More Button

Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 27.More Button

Question No. 33 answered with Question No. 29.More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing

Was asked: the position regarding the largest secondary school in the country (details supplied) in County Wexford which cannot retain guidance counselling positions in place of other subjects due to the larg...More Button

All schools must continue to provide guidance to their pupils. However, from September 2012 guidance provision will be managed by schools from within their standard staffing allocation. More Button

The impact of this decision for the school referred to by the Deputy will be to reduce its staffing by 3 posts out of a total of over 100 posts.More Button

Schools will have autonomy on how best to prioritise its available resources to meet its requirements in relation to guidance and the provision of an appropriate range of subjects to its students. ...More Button

Was asked: the way the undermining of DEIS band 2, by reallocating teachers away from these schools to other schools, will contribute to the economic regeneration of the State, as he has claimed this in respo...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to review the impact of the budget 2012 throughout the educational sector with particular reference to the need to provide for the most sensitive ...More Button

Was asked: the reason DEIS band 2 category does not appear on the teacher allocation staffing schedule 2012-2013 for primary schools. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 26, 37 and 36 together.More Button

The requirement to find savings and control the increase in public sector numbers and remain within the new climate of fixed ceilings on teacher numbers, which is a key aspect of the EU/IMF Program...More Button

Providing for increased enrolments is a key priority but making some adjustment to teacher numbers is unavoidable given the budgetary constraints. The net impact on overall teacher numbers in our ...More Button

The reason DEIS Band 2 schools are not specifically mentioned in the Teacher Allocation Staffing Schedule is because they are entitled to the same pupil teacher ratio as all other mainstream school...More Button

The announcement I made on the 11th January in relation to my Department reporting to me within four weeks refers only to the impact of the withdrawal of certain posts allocated under previous disa...More Button

This report will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up to date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the ...More Button

It is only when this report is made available to me that I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved.More Button

Was asked: if he will outline in further detail the structure of the review to be carried out by him into the effect of the removal of legacy DEIS posts on a case by case basis; the way this review will opera...More Button

Was asked: if he will outline and publish the terms of reference for the DEIS schools review under budget 2012. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 32 together.More Button

I announced in the house on 11th January that my Department will be reporting to me within four weeks on the impact of the withdrawal of certain posts allocated under previous disadvantaged schemes...More Button

This report will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up to date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the ...More Button

It is only when this report is made available to me that I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved.More Button

Was asked: if he still intends to press ahead with cuts to learning support teachers under the general allocation model; if so, if he will detail those planned cuts and the timescale for them; and if he will ...More Button

Was asked: if he still intends to press ahead with cuts to learning support teachers under the general allocation model; if so, if he will detail those planned cuts and the timescale for them; and if he will ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 33 together.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that there are no plans to cut the overall number of learning support/resource teachers provided to schools under the General Allocation Model (GAM). The Deputy has mis...More Button

GAM allocations for primary schools will be updated from September 2012, through a redistribution of the existing GAM learning support resources, based on the number of classroom teaching posts in ...More Button

This will provide for a more equitable distribution of the existing GAM resources for schools, based on updated enrolments. The existing GAM resources were originally allocated in 2005 based on 20...More Button

While the overall level of learning support resources being provided under the GAM will not change, as the revised allocations will be based on updated enrolments, there will inevitably be some sch...More Button

The revised allocation procedures will also allow GAM allocations to be updated annually based on the number of classroom teaching posts in each school in the previous school year.More Button

Teaching posts previously designated for English Language Support will also now be combined with GAM allocations to create a single simplified allocation process to cover both the GAM and language ...More Button

Question No. 30 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

Was asked: his plans to address the problem at a school (details supplied) in County Wexford at which three guidance counsellor positions are about to be lost; his views that this is particularly serious in a...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm if schools are still required to provide an appropriate level of guidance provision following decisions taken in budget 2012; what he deems appropriate guidance to be; the way he...More Button

Was asked: if the likely loss of school guidance posts contravene section 9(c) of the Education Act 1998 which states that one of a school’s functions is to ensure that students have access to ap...More Button

Was asked: the important pastoral role which guidance counsellors play and the scale of youth suicide, if he will review the changes as outlined in budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 38, 41 and 91 together.More Button

All schools must continue to provide guidance to their pupils. However, from September 2012 guidance provision will be managed by schools from within their standard staffing allocation. As things...More Button

Schools will have autonomy on how best to prioritise its available resources to meet its requirements in relation to guidance and the provision of an appropriate range of subjects to its students. ...More Button

Guidance is a whole school activity and under existing arrangements each school is expected to develop a school guidance plan as a means of supporting the needs of its students. These requirements...More Button

In this way, the main teacher allocation can be maintained at 19:1 for schools generally, while schools will have discretion to balance what they allocate for guidance against the competing demands...More Button

I have also provided for the filling of 300 Assistant Principal posts in second-level schools over the level originally planned. This will ensure that schools have sufficient management positions ...More Button

A key priority for me is to continue to prioritise and target available funding at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage. All 195 second-level school in DEIS will b...More Button

Was asked: the steps he is taking to reduce the impact of budget cuts on rural schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if arising from budgetary curtailments affecting small and rural schools, he is prepared to accommodate technical structures at local level which will allow for the pooling of resources and retenti...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 57 together.More Button

The staffing schedule at primary level disproportionately benefits small primary schools. It is worth noting that we have 3,200 primary schools across Ireland. Over two thirds of those schools have...More Button

It is important to retain a sense of perspective and balance when discussing this matter and to realise the exceptionally favourable supports my Department will continue to provide for small schools.More Button

For that reason, as part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between Septem...More Button

While I acknowledge the concerns raised by the Deputies the budget measure must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to shelter public services to the gr...More Button

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible. The numbers of pupils in these schoo...More Button

Arising from this specific budget measure, I wish to re-emphasise that no small schools will be forcibly closed by my Department and, if amalgamations do take place, they will be voluntary and foll...More Button

Was asked: the number of posts allocated to primary schools in each county for the teaching of English as an additional language; the number of posts allocated to second level schools in each county for the t...More Button

Significant support is given to schools by way of language support provision. The level of extra teaching support provided in respect of language support to any school is determined by the numbers ...More Button

72 primary schools appealed their EAL allocation to the Primary Staffing Appeal Board. 29 schools were successful. The Appeal Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.More Button

I regret that my Department is not in a position to provide the requested breakdown on a county by county basis. The main focus of the Teacher Allocation Section within my Department at this time i...More Button

Under the proposed reforms for the coming school year the combined resources available for GAM (General Allocation Model) at primary level and learning support at post primary level and language su...More Button

The new arrangements also provide for additional permanent teaching posts to be given to schools with high concentration of pupils that require language support. Further additional temporary EAL su...More Button

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 34.More Button

Was asked: the consultation he and his officials have had with teachers from DEIS band schools affected by the phasing out of pre-DEIS school legacy posts. More Button

I personally met with school principals, teachers, parents and communities in recent weeks, to hear their concerns and clarify the position in relation to changes announced under Budget 2012 to pos...More Button

I have also held many meetings with my Government colleagues, who have also met with schools, teachers, parents in their local communities. Consequently, I announced to the House on 11th January t...More Button

Was asked: the number of primary teachers who have applied for probation since September 2011; and the number of primary teachers who successfully completed the probationary process during the last academic y...More Button

The total number of primary teachers who have applied for probation since September 2011 is 2,052. The number of primary teachers who successfully completed the probationary process during the 201...More Button

Was asked: if he will give urgent consideration to a request made directly to him by a board of management (details supplied) in relation to the need for this school to retain its staffing complement as outli...More Button

I am aware of the correspondence referred to by the Deputy. The staffing schedule at primary level disproportionally benefits small primary schools. It is worth noting that we have 3,200 primary s...More Button

For that reason, as part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between Septem...More Button

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible.More Button

If amalgamations do take place, they will be voluntary and follow decisions taken by local communities and not by my Department. The announcement I made on the 11th January in relation to my Depart...More Button

This report will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up to date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the n...More Button

It is only when this report is made available to me that I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved. The school referred to by the Deputy i...More Button

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 34.More Button

Written Answers - School Statistics

Was asked: his plans to introduce a database of primary school pupils and details of works being progressed by him to improve its systems in order to facilitate access to accurate and up to date information o...More Button

My Department continues to seek to enhance the quality and timeliness of datasets which are required for resource planning purposes, most notably in providing online facilities to streamline the co...More Button

Written Answers - Future Skills Needs

Was asked: the steps he is taking to meet the future skills needs of industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Was asked: the progress made [304]to date in addressing the concerns of a group (details supplied) in the preparation of legislation to establish the statutory fund; and if he will...More Button

Work on the drafting of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill is at an advanced stage and I hope to be in a position to publish the Bill in the coming weeks. When the Bill is published ...More Button

In that regard I had a very constructive meeting with groups representing survivors of residential institutional abuse on 22nd July last, when we discussed the Government’s approach to the pr...More Button

The Government’s legislative proposals in relation to the Statutory Fund followed extensive consultations with survivors of residential abuse and the groups which support them, together with ...More Button

I acknowledge that some former residents advocated a simple distribution of the available money rather than the establishment of the Statutory Fund. However, as I outlined when I published the leg...More Button

Questions Nos. 36 and 37 answered with Question No. 26.More Button

Question No. 38 answered with Question No. 34.More Button

Written Answers - School Uniforms

Was asked: if he will provide a progress report into efforts to make school uniforms more affordable for parents. More Button

In accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998, the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school.More Button

Individual school authorities are responsible for the drawing up of a school policy in relation to the wearing of school uniforms. However, my Department recommends that the formulation of such a s...More Button

Decisions regarding school uniforms are a matter for the Board of Management of each individual school.More Button

Written Answers - Equality Issues

Was asked: if he implements equality impact assessments similar to other countries when considering changes to legislation governing funding and changes in policy. More Button

As with all Government Departments, when considering changes to legislation governing funding and changes in policy my Department complies with the procedures as outlined in the Cabinet Handbook. ...More Button

Any such memorandum seeking approval for legislation involving changes to the regulatory framework or seeking approval for a Government Order involving changes to the regulatory framework must be a...More Button

Where no requirement for a RIA arises, each memorandum is required to indicate clearly, as appropriate, the impact of the proposal for employment including gender equality, the impact on persons ex...More Button

As regards any further or systematic equality impact assessments the IVEA and the Equality Authority have been developing guidelines and practice on Equality Impact Assessments. In 2007 the IVEA/ ...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Refurbishment

Was asked: if there is a provision in his capital budget for 2012 to continue the small annual devolved building grant scheme for schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

It is not envisaged that a Minor Works Grant to primary schools will be issued in 2012 for the school year 2012/2013. The grant for the school year 2011/2012 was issued last November at a cost of &...More Button

The focus of my Department’s capital allocation for the school sector in 2012 is on major school projects and smaller projects devolved to schools to meet demographic demands.More Button

Was asked: his plans to fund small scale building works under a summer works scheme during 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the Government’s Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10th November last, sets out the demographic challenge facing the ...More Button

In the context, therefore, of the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of school accommodation, it is not possible for me to advance with a su...More Button

Written Answers - School Closures

Was asked: the criteria governing his decision to close small schools. More Button

There has been no decision to close small schools. However, the reality is that the staffing schedule at primary level disproportionately benefits small primary schools.More Button

It is worth noting that we have 3,200 primary schools across Ireland. Over two thirds of those schools have more than 86 pupils and, as a result, have far higher average class sizes than all of the...More Button

For that reason, as part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between Septem...More Button

This budget measure must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to shelter public services to the greatest extent that we can in these exceptional times.More Button

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible and only where communities chose to d...More Button

Written Answers - Teachers’ Remuneration

Was asked: the announcement in Budget 2012 that qualified teachers who undertake and complete further studies such as a masters or doctorate will no longer receive additional salary allowances, if he will cla...More Button

The position of teachers who, on 5 December 2011, were undertaking courses will be considered in the context of the public service-wide review of allowances announced in Budget 2012 which is being ...More Button

Written Answers - Teaching Qualifications

Was asked: the updated supports that are in place to ensure the upskilling of teachers for the enhanced delivery of the literacy and numeracy strategy. More Button

Was asked: the literacy and numeracy strategy, the in-service sessions that have been provided for teachers in Irish medium schools; and the plans he has put in place to ensure the roll-out of the literacy an...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 48 together.More Button

The Professional Development Service for Teachers is charged with leading the teacher support element of the Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life strategy. An integrated plan to support the ...More Button

Provision has been made for continued support 2012 and planning is advanced in this regard. Additional posts have been provided to the PDST for this purpose. All schools receive a similar level of...More Button

Written Answers - Student Support Schemes

Was asked: his views on the possible impact of abolishing postgraduate grants on his areas of responsibility such as promoting innovation, research, enterprise, investment and job creation; and if he will mak...More Button

While the areas of responsibility referred to are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, student supports come under my remit. I appreciate the Deputy’s ...More Button

While we have had to scale back the support for postgraduates, we are prioritising funding for the most disadvantaged students in this cohort. In this regard, though maintenance support will not b...More Button

A limited number of other low-income students who would previously have qualified under the standard grant thresholds will qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of their...More Button

The approach now being taken will continue to provide support for a relatively wide number of post-graduate students.More Button

In addition to this, the Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. Tax rel...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Agencies

Was asked: if any of the current management assigned to SOLAS from FÁS were investigated following the revealing of financial irregularities at FÁS; and if any such person investigated was sanct...More Button

Written Answers - Stay Safe Programme

Was asked: the funding available from him to implement the stay safe programme; and if the training and the relevant support materials are easily accessible and available to teachers. More Button

The Stay Safe Programme is funded by my Department and the Health Services Executive. The Programme received approximately €172,000 in 2011 of which €120,000 was allocated by my Departme...More Button

Materials and support are provided through visits to schools by the Programme Provider and members of the PDST. Materials are also readily available for download on the Safe Safe website.More Button

Funding for 2012 is currently under consideration.More Button

Written Answers - Youth Services

Was asked: the circular letter 00742011 relating to the cuts in funding to Youthreach services, if this will deter young persons from availing of this scheme. More Button

Written Answers - Educational Projects

Was asked: the importance of private sponsorship in encouraging the development of science and technology subjects; and the efforts he is making to ensure schemes such as the BT Young Scientist Award are repl...More Button

I would like to acknowledge the important sponsorship, both financial and in human resource input provided by BT to the Young Scientist competition. Industry in Ireland has engaged extensively wit...More Button

Project Maths which is under way in all second level schools, is being supported by an industry-education partnership implementation support group. An ICT Steering Group, led by Paul Rellis, head ...More Button

There are many other examples, such as the role of the County Enterprise Boards in promoting Student Enterprise Awards, the Young Social Innovators Programme, and the Business in the Community init...More Button

Question No. 57 answered with Question No. 39.More Button

Written Answers - Disadvantaged Status

Was asked: the schools in Dublin 15 that will be affected by the DEIS cutbacks; the number of teachers that will be lost and the locations of same; and the impact this will have on education in Dublin West. More Button

I announced in the house on 11th January that my Department will report to me within four weeks on the impact of the withdrawal of these posts in DEIS Band 1 and Band 2 primary schools. This report...More Button

It is only when this report is made available to me that I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved and finalise and publish the staffing sc...More Button

Was asked: the teacher numbers affected in DEIS band 1 and 2 schools in an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I announced in the House on 11th January that my Department will report to me within four weeks on the impact of the withdrawal of these posts in DEIS Band 1 and Band 2 primary schools.More Button

This report will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up to date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the ...More Button

Written Answers - School Enrolments

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the status of the review into enrolment policy; the date on which it will be completed; when he expects to be in a position to publish the report; and if he will mak...More Button

Earlier this year, I launched a discussion paper on school enrolment. The document, “Discussion Paper on a Regulatory Framework for School Enrolment” contains suggestions on how to make the process...More Button

The paper was not meant to be prescriptive, nor have any decisions been made as to what elements will be contained in any final regulations or legislation. The purpose of the paper was to lead and ...More Button

The feedback from this consultation will help inform the nature and scope of a new regulatory framework for school enrolment.More Button

Written Answers - Technological Universities

Was asked: if he has received the report in regard to the criteria for the establishment of technological universities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In May of last year, I formally asked the Higher Education Authority to provide advice to me on draft performance criteria for a process for the designation of technological universities. Draft cri...More Button

Written Answers - Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Was asked: if he will defer any reduction in pupil teacher ratio for schools of under 86 pupils until a substantial review takes place. More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the impact that changes to the staffing schedule in small schools 2012 will have on many rural communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 93 together.More Button

The staffing schedule at primary level disproportionally benefits small primary schools. It is worth noting that we have 3,200 primary schools across Ireland. Over two thirds of those schools have ...More Button

For that reason, as part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between Septem...More Button

While I acknowledge the concerns raised by the Deputies the budget measure must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to shelter public services to the gr...More Button

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible.More Button

If amalgamations do take place, they will be voluntary and follow decisions taken by local communities and not by my Department.More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the pupil-teacher ratios in all schools throughout County Kildare are likely to remain within the average nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Statistics section of my Department’s website contains extensive information relating to pupil teacher ratio (PTR) and class size in primary schools. The source of this data is the Natio...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Amalgamation

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the extra costs involved in the amalgamation of small schools in the form of extra classrooms and school transport arrangements to accommodate new pupils; and if ...More Button

Was asked: if any provisions will be made for small schools who can prove that amalgamation will result in students having to travel unreasonable distances; the distance he considers to be a reasonable for a ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he or his Department has received communication from the relevant management authorities at local level in regard to any rationalisation in respect of smaller rural schools; if ...More Button

Was asked: if he will have regard for the necessity to recognise the danger of rural isolation and urban disadvantage in any reconfiguration of the network of school throughout the country arising from the bu...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89, 94, 107 and 108 together.More Button

It is worth noting that we have 3,200 primary schools across Ireland. Over two thirds of those schools have more than 86 pupils and, as a result, have far higher average class sizes than all of the...More Button

For that reason, as part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between Septem...More Button

This budget measure must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to protect public services to the greatest extent that we can in these exceptional times.More Button

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible and only where communities chose to do...More Button

If amalgamations take place, they will be voluntary and follow decisions taken by local communities and not by my Department. The initiative for an amalgamation may come from a variety of sources,...More Button

Written Answers - Special Educational Needs

Was asked: the action he is taking to assist children with autism in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that all children with special educational needs, including those with autism, can have access to an education appr...More Button

Many children with autism are fully integrated into mainstream classes. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) provides additional resource teaching hours and special needs assistant su...More Button

Some students with autism require further support in school. The establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for these children with autism...More Button

Children in these classes benefit from having a reduced pupil-teacher ratio of 6:1. Class teachers are required to be fully-qualified and have access through the Special Education Support Service ...More Button

My Department’s home tuition scheme provides a grant to parents to facilitate the provision of education at home for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable ...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the NCSE is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for processing applications from primary, special and post primary ...More Button

Each SENO works in an assigned local area with parents, schools, teachers, psychologists, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in that area for childre...More Button

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 87.More Button

Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 89.More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the requirements of special needs pupils in mainstream education will be addressed on an ongoing basis notwithstanding the budgetary situation; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that in relation to special needs education it should be noted that there has been no reduction in the number of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) which will be available ...More Button

There has also been no reduction in the overall number of resource teaching posts which will be available for allocation to mainstream schools next year, either through the General Allocation Model...More Button

The fact that the number of special needs assistant and resource teaching posts are being maintained at current levels is a reflection of this Government's commitment to prioritising supports for c...More Button

Written Answers - Disadvantaged Status

Was asked: if he will provide the names and addresses of schools that have DEIS 1 and DEIS 2 status on a county basis. More Button

The information which the Deputy has requested is available on the Social Inclusion section of my Department’s website at following link —http://www.education.ie/servlet/blobservlet/...More Button

Written Answers - Higher Education Grants

Was asked: if he will consider reviewing the criteria for third level grants in view of the fact that qualified persons now find themselves unemployed and who wish to reskill but the course they are consideri...More Button

To satisfy the terms and conditions of the student grant scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course having successfully completed the previous yea...More Button

The objective of this policy is to help as many students as possible to obtain one qualification at each level of study. Given the level of demand on the student grant budget from first time stude...More Button

The key objective of the Springboard higher education initiative introduced for the first time in 2011 was to support unemployed people, including graduates, to obtain new qualifications in areas o...More Button

Written Answers - Home Tuition Scheme

Was asked: his plans to make changes to the home tuition and July provision schemes; the budget allocated for all the home tuition schemes for 2012; if he has details of the number of tutors delivering tuitio...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that my Department’s home tuition scheme provides funding to parents to provide education at home for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, a...More Button

This latter scheme includes cases where a child is currently without a school placement or the offer of a school placement. My Department is currently reviewing operational elements of the home tu...More Button

The July Education Programme is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism who choose to extend their education services ...More Button

The Deputy may be aware that the scheme is currently under review. Future improvements to the administration of the scheme will be considered in the context of this review.More Button

Written Answers - Vocational Education Committees

Was asked: the progress made to date in respect of the amalgamation of the Louth and Meath Vocational Education Committee bodies; when he expects the amalgamated body to move to Drogheda; and if he will make ...More Button

In October 2011, my officials concluded an agreement with SIPTU, the trade union representing the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of VECs, on a redeployment scheme for CEOs in the context of the Cro...More Button

The agreed scheme provides an opportunity for those appointed (other than in a temporary acting capacity) in the grade of CEO of a Vocational Education Committee to elect for redeployment to the ne...More Button

In the event that the elective process does not result in the filling of all of the posts, the scheme provides for assignment of an existing permanent CEO to a post for which s/he has not volunteer...More Button

In October of last year, I finalised and announced my decision in relation to the location of headquarters of the merged VECs. My officials are currently in discussion with SIPTU regarding the sal...More Button

Also in October of last year, following approval of the Government, in a new way of doing business, I referred the General Scheme of an Education and Training Boards Bill to the Joint Committee on ...More Button

In relation to the specific merger of Co. Louth VEC and Co. Meath VEC as you know I have decided that the headquarters of the Education and Training Board will be in Drogheda. Redeployment of staf...More Button

It will be a matter for the CEO of the new Education and Training Board to work through and judge what the best approach is to ensure the optimum approach to service delivery. The establishment of...More Button

I want to make clear that my Department will not be forcing any one size fits all approach to staff deployment and office accommodation by the new Education and Training Boards. We will be recepti...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Funding

Was asked: the amount allocated to the National Council for Special Education in 2010, 2011 and the amount expected to be allocated in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that my Department allocated funding of €9,215,000 in 2010 and €9,015,000 in 2011 to the National Council for Special Education. My Department is currently fi...More Button

Was asked: the amount allocated to National Education and Psychological Service in 2010, 2011 and the amount expected to be allocated in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware all primary and post- primary schools have access to psychological assessments either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) or through t...More Button

Written Answers - Scéimeanna Scoláireachta don Ardoideachas

Mar a d’fhógair mé faoi Bhuiséad 2012, tá sé i gceist scéim aonair nua, stíl sparántachta agus bunaithe ar fhiúntas, a chur in i...More Button

Ní bheidh aon éifeacht ag na hathruithe seo orthu siúd a bhfuil scoláireachtaí acu cheana féin.More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services

Was asked: the extent to which he has examined the full extent of the training, upskilling or temporary placements for the long-term unemployed to emerge in the coming year with particular reference to SOLAS ...More Button

Was asked: the total expected number of positions to be created for the unemployed through SOLAS in each of the next four years; the extent to which the areas most seriously affected by unemployment are likel...More Button

Written Answers - Unemployment Levels

Was asked: the degree to which experiences throughout Europe in dealing with the needs of the young unemployed can be incorporated in future policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Third Level Courses

Was asked: the number of students known to have dropped out of third level education in each of the past three years to date in 2012 for whatever reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The HEA is responsible for collection data on student progression. The most recent report by the HEA entitled ‘A study of Progression in Higher Education’ is available on the HEA website&rsq...More Button

Non-Presence Rates for New Entrants by Sector and NFQ Level (2008-09)More Button

Written Answers - Third Level Enrolments

Was asked: the total number of third level places available at third level institutions in each of the past three years to date in 2012; the extent to which this meets the requirements for third level places;...More Button

The number of full time enrolments in publicly funded higher education institutions over last three years are: 2008/09 — 148197; 2009/10 — 157946; 2010/11 — 161647. The actual en...More Button

At my request the HEA completed an initial report late last year on the implications of increased growth in numbers, funding challenges and measures of quality on the sustainability of the system. ...More Button

Written Answers - Bullying in Schools

Was asked: the extent to which school bullying continues to be monitored and identified as a problem in all schools [335]throughout the country; if any particular initiatives are b...More Button

Under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, all schools are required to have in place a Code of Behaviour and this code must be drawn up in accordance with the guidelines of the National Educational We...More Button

Every school therefore must have in place a policy, within the framework of the school’s overall school code of behaviour, which includes specific measures to deal with bullying behaviour. S...More Button

Responsibility for tackling bullying falls to the level of the individual school, as it is at local level that an effective anti-bullying climate must be established and at that level that actions ...More Button

My Department has issued Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour as an aid to schools in devising measures to prevent and deal with instances of bullying behaviour. These guidelines were drawn...More Button

As a further aid to post-primary schools my Department published in 2007 a template that can be used by post-primary schools in developing an anti-bullying policy. The anti-bullying policy templat...More Button

When a Whole School Evaluation (WSE) is conducted by my Department’s Inspectorate, the code of behaviour, including its anti-bullying policy, is reviewed by the inspection team to check that ...More Button

Revised procedures for WSE in schools have recently been put in place. A new element of the revised WSE process involves the issuing of questionnaires directly to pupils and parents. Children and...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that the education of students in both primary and post-primary schools in relation to anti-bullying behaviour is part of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SP...More Button

Other measures in place include the Webwise Internet Safety Initiative, the EU Safer Internet Programme campaign and the establishment of the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS) which is curr...More Button