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Quinn, Ruairí

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 Nbr. 1


Order of Business

Denmark.More Button

The carefully rehearsed spontaneity.More Button

Tell that to Joe the Plumber.More Button

So we have invisible regulations now.More Button

Medical Treatment (Termination of Pregnancy in Case of Risk to Life of Pregnant Woman) Bill 2012: Second Stage (Resumed)

No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Priority Questions - Teachers’ Remuneration

Was asked: if he will be seeking to ensure that all teachers’ allowances are protected under the review of allowances for public [74]servants; his views on whether all such a...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the review of allowances in the public service which is ongoing at the moment is being conducted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and I understand th...More Button

Allowances paid to teachers form only a part of the overall remit of the review. It would not be appropriate for me at this stage to comment on any specific subset of allowances, pending the outco...More Button

I confirm everything I said at the teachers’ conferences. It is clearly on the public record and I refer to it again here in the House. The Deputy is absolutely right. If an allowance is p...More Button

On the second point, section 30 of the Teaching Council Act will soon be activated. We are talking about education. I presume that when certain legislation is finalised in the House, I will be ab...More Button

I share the Deputy’s view. Modern technology has aided and supported continuing professional development through online course provision in many professions, but it must be seen as an additi...More Button

Priority Questions - Educational Disadvantage

Was asked: in view of his stated support of children from disadvantaged backgrounds having access to a full and inclusive education, if he will agree to implement a review of schools in the primary and post-p...More Button

A key priority for my Department is to prioritise and target resources in schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage. That challenge is significant, given the current ec...More Button

I said I would review the decision, not reverse it.More Button

No.More Button

Some of them will.More Button

The removal of legacy posts was intended to deal with cases in which there were two DEIS schools in a particular area or half a dozen DEIS schools in a particular area of disadvantage where it was ...More Button

I understand and share the Deputy’s concerns about DEIS schools, but he is probably aware — as I am — that 60% of young people coming from disadvantaged homes are not being school...More Button

Was asked: if all DEIS band 1 and DEIS band 2 schools will retain their legacy posts in September as promised this year; and the reason a number of schools have received letters in recent weeks which seem to ...More Button

A total of 140 band 1 and band 2 schools will retain the number of legacy posts required by them to implement more favourable pupil-teacher ratios under previous disadvantage schemes for the 2012-1...More Button

A range of factors contribute to determining the staffing requirement for schools, including changes to enrolment and the reforms to the teacher allocation process for 2012-13 school year. As the ...More Button

Deputy Smith referred to a number of individual schools. I do not have the information here and he will appreciate that.More Button

He may wish to write to me or raise them separately. All I want to say is, we have limited resources. There is no political interference by me in the allocation of resources or individual teacher...More Button

In some cases, there may have been adjustments to the overall teaching allocation as a result of the change in the general allocation model, GAM. As Deputy Smith will be aware, the appeals process...More Button

I suspect from what Deputy Smith said that he is referring to the original allocation correspondence and, assuming those schools have appealed, the outcome of what they are now getting may be sligh...More Button

Priority Questions - Special Educational Needs

Was asked: in view of the fact that parents at schools (details supplied) in County Wexford are to be reviewed again shortly by the National Council for Special Education, and this time, their right to appeal...More Button

The National Council for Special Education, NCSE, is responsible for allocating special needs assistants to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my ...More Button

All schools, including these schools, were advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2012-13 school year by 16 March of this year. In considering applications for ...More Button

I have asked the NCSE to develop proposals to review the operation of the EPSEN Act 2004, particularly in the area of appeals. The programme for Government refers to the EPSEN Act 2004 but I am co...More Button

As Deputy Wallace may be aware, during my visit to Wexford town for the TUI conference, I had the opportunity to meet two of the parents. I spoke to them briefly and stated that I would keep the p...More Button

Other Questions - Special Educational Needs

Was asked: the number of special needs assistants employed at the end of September 2011; the number employed at the end of December 2011; the number employed at the end of March 2012; and if he will make a st...More Button

The number of posts available in this school year under the special needs assistant, SNA, scheme is capped at 10,575 under the employment control framework, as set out in the programme for national...More Button

In September 2011 the NCSE allocated 10,100 posts to schools while retaining 475 posts to cover late and emergency applications. This measure ensured there would be sufficient posts to support all...More Button

The number of SNAs employed by schools at any given time is usually less than the number of posts allocated at that time by the NCSE. Accordingly, the number of SNAs employed by schools was 10,014...More Button

Yes.More Button

The Deputy is basically correct. We have the employment control framework figure of 10,575 and this was communicated to the NCSE. Last year, its SENOs communicated to all the schools that 10% was...More Button

The operation of the NCSE is separate from the Department of Education and Skills. The assessment of special needs, as the Deputy knows, is a function of the SENOs and the allocation of resources ...More Button

I do not have the information on that question. Obviously, given population growth at primary and secondary level and the pupil-teacher ratio as numbers increase — we are expecting an increa...More Button

I do not have the factual information the Deputy is seeking. It would be better to put down questions for written reply. With regard to Deputy Wallace’s question, to the best of my knowledg...More Button

Other Questions - School Staffing

Was asked: the extent to which he and or his Department have studied variations in class size throughout the country; if particular regions are likely to be more negatively affected than others by measures ar...More Button

The staffing schedule is the mechanism used for the allocation of classroom teachers to all primary schools. It operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools e...More Button

My Department publishes annual statistics on class size data for each school. The most recent statistics are for 2010-11. The national average class size is 23.9 pupils. However, with over 20,60...More Button

Was asked: the reason a school (details supplied) in Dublin 1 will lose three teacher posts in September despite the promise that DEIS band schools would not lose any legacy posts; and if he will make a state...More Button

The new dedicated staffing schedule, when applied to the school referred to by the Deputy, ensures this school operates its entitlement under the DEIS programme to a more favourable pupil-teacher r...More Button

The allocation processes also include an appeals mechanism, under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The school to which the Deputy refers ha...More Button

Yes.More Button

I thank the Deputy. Let us get the facts and deal with them properly.More Button

Other Questions - Irish Language

A number of education related actions in the 20-year strategy are already underway, especially in regard to teacher education, reform of the curriculum at primary and post-primary level and the pro...More Button

I have also asked the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to revise the content of the primary curriculum and junior cycle for Irish. In addition, the NCCA has undertaken to review the ...More Button

I have taken note of Deputy Crowe’s supplementary questions. Some of the queries raised are not fully covered in the documents before me. I will write to the Deputy about these. Since we h...More Button

I understand the Deputy’s concerns. However, within reason all sections of the education budget had to take some portion of the overall burden of budget adjustment. There was a favourable p...More Button

Other Questions - University Status

Was asked: since the publication of the criteria for technological university status, the steps he has taken to develop the heads of a Bill that will give legal effect to technological universities; the progr...More Button

A clear, four stage process and criteria for designation as technological university was published in February of this year. Institutions proposing to merge and apply for designation as technologi...More Button

As part of the process, the Higher Education Authority has written to all the institutions, including the institutes of technology and other third level colleges. The authority has given the insti...More Button

Ireland has seven universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology, which is assumed to be similar to a university although it does not have the categorisation or title of a university. The rep...More Button

However, I emphasise that the decision to confer technological university status on any group or cluster of technological colleges will not be made in the House and it will not be decided political...More Button

I wish to explain the political thinking behind this. In Britain, Maggie Thatcher re-labelled every polytechnic as a university. One can come across the University of East Lancashire and so on. ...More Button

I am unsure of the precise technical answer to that question but let me offer an opinion. I have established a good working relationship with my counterpart in Northern Ireland who now has total r...More Button

I imagine a university recognised by two separate, legal jurisdictions would require the co-operation and agreement of both. I am not averse to it. There are seven universities here as well as th...More Button

I have embarked on a survey in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Minister for Education, Mr. John O’Dowd, of parents of children at both primary and post-primary level living along a corr...More Button

Other Questions - Third Level Staff

Was asked: the way he intends to reduce the pay of those university presidents who continue to earn more than the €200,000 public sector pay cap and who recently refused his request for a pay cut; and if...More Button

Since becoming Minister I have written to the chairpersons of university governing bodies requesting them to ask all relevant individuals, including presidents, earning in excess of €200,000 t...More Button

Subject to confirmation, I understand the reason they are excluded is that they have a dual employment in that they have chosen, within the nature of medical education, to be both teachers and prac...More Button

I have no immediate proposals to renew my request. However, I am convening a meeting with the presidents and chairpersons of the governing bodies of the various third level institutions at which t...More Button

I am conscious that some of the older universities are not accustomed to the close engagement of either the Higher Education Authority or the Department. The types of economies to which Deputy Smi...More Button

Other Questions - School Enrolments

Was asked: his views on his Department’s student projections that show student numbers at second level will rise significantly from today’s total of 325,000 to around 383,000 by 2025, an increase ...More Button

I agree with the Deputy about the challenges arising from rapidly increasing enrolments in our schools. That is why certain budgetary measures regarding teacher allocations have been introduced an...More Button

Whatever about the Deputy, I certainly do not intend to be here.More Button

I share Deputy Crowe’s sentiments and assure him that there is serious long-term planning within the Department. It has been reinforced since my arrival at its Marlborough Street headquarter...More Button

As for the reform of the junior certificate, it is envisaged this programme will start with next September’s intake of first-year students entering post-primary schools. However, it will not...More Button

This is not a reflection on Deputy Brendan Smith in any way because he probably shared my view, but at the height of the boom, the previous Administration could have induced developers to set aside...More Button

Yes. Given the acreage required, some school sites come with a price tag of approximately €3 million. At the time developers would have happily agreed to set aside the sites, as the cost wou...More Button

Other Questions - Teachers’ Remuneration

Was asked: if the cap on academic qualifications allowances introduced in December’s budget is contrary to his stated commitment to developing a knowledge-based society that is an important prerequisite...More Button

Under budget 2012, teachers appointed before 5 December 2011 are not paid an allowance where they acquire further qualifications after that date. Allowances for teachers first appointed between 5 ...More Button

The Government was obliged to make decisions across the budgetary framework for reasons that are all too evident to everyone present in the Chamber. Ireland is highly fortunate in that, unlike our...More Button

Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act will be activated later this year on the enactment of the Education (Amendment) Bill 2012 which is going through the House. This will enable the Teaching Cou...More Button

I am aware of the fears that have been expressed but it is far too early to state whether a trend is emerging. However, we will keep the matter under review. If those fears are confirmed, then we...More Button

I share that view. We will keep the matter under consideration.More Button

Other Questions - Educational Resources

Was asked: his reason for carrying out a pilot inventory of educational resources in just four to six provincial towns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The programme for Government contains a commitment to ensure a complete inventory of all school buildings and associated structures. This will be a major step forward and help to inform our future...More Button

No, it is a mix.More Button

A typical provincial town with a catchment area in which 30,000 to 40,000 people reside may, for historical reasons, have up to seven or eight primary schools and three or four post-primary schools...More Button

For many reasons, schools have historically dealt directly with the Department. As a result of the fact that the same curriculum is being taught at primary and secondary level and because there is...More Button

Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that due to changes in learning support and resource teaching hours, some teachers are receiving travel expenses to travel to schools many miles from the...More Button

Shared full-time posts and travel between schools is a long standing feature of the primary system. There were a plethora of long-standing clustering arrangements in place which were not the most p...More Button

Schools are being empowered to cluster and arrange their General Allocation Model resources in a manner that best suits their local needs, including in a manner that reduces travel between schools....More Button

Aside from the reforms to the GAM, the allocation of resource hours for individual pupils vary from year to year. This is because of the ongoing individual assessment of pupils through the NCSE mus...More Button

All indications to date are that the new clustering arrangements being made by schools will have the desired effect on the ground. My Department will continue to work with schools and the relevant ...More Button

Was asked: if he will review his decision to separate learning support and resource teaching hours in primary schools in view of the fact that some teachers are now receiving travel expenses for travelling to...More Button

Shared full-time posts and travel between schools is a long standing feature of the primary system. There were a plethora of long-standing clustering arrangements in place which were not the most p...More Button

Schools are being empowered to cluster and arrange their General Allocation Model resources in a manner that best suits their local needs, including in a manner that reduces travel between schools....More Button

Aside from the reforms to the GAM, the allocation of resource hours for individual pupils vary from year to year. This is because of the ongoing individual assessment of pupils through the NCSE mu...More Button

The indications to date are that the new clustering arrangements being made by schools will have the desired effect on the ground. My Department will continue to work with schools and the relevant ...More Button

Was asked: when the details of the appeals mechanism for staffing in respect of primary schools for 2012/2013 will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The staffing arrangements for the 2012/13 school year are set out in Primary Circular 0007/2012 which is available on my Department’s website. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals ...More Button

The closing date for submission of appeals for the April meeting of the Staffing Appeals Board was 23 March, 2012. The first meeting of the Appeals Board takes place this week and the Boards of Ma...More Button

Was asked: the number of primary schools which will lose teaching posts due to changes to the staffing schedule in Budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The criteria used for the allocation of teachers to schools is published annually on my Department’s website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at indivi...More Button

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in ...More Button

Was asked: if he will ensure that legacy posts at DEIS schools are protected for the upcoming school year 2012/2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he has reviewed the allocation of staff posts to three DEIS schools (details supplied) in the Dublin 17 area; if he will ensure that all three schools retain their current teaching component for...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 64 together. More Button

A new dedicated staffing schedule will apply to DEIS Band 1 schools from September 2012, ensuring that these schools operate their entitlement to more favourable pupil teacher ratios of 20:1 in jun...More Button

In addition, 140 Band 1 and Band 2 schools will retain the more favourable pupil teacher ratios under previous disadvantage schemes for the 2012/13 school year. In March, letters issued to all DEI...More Button

A range of factors contribute to determining the staffing requirement for schools for 2012/13 including changes to enrolment and the reforms to the teacher allocation process. As the teaching alloc...More Button

I wish to clarify that changes in enrolment also contribute to the number of legacy posts allocated to DEIS schools from year to year. Some DEIS schools concerned seem to be under the impression th...More Button

The allocation process also include an appeals mechanism under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The appeal procedures are set out in primary...More Button

For the coming school year the existing staffing appeals criteria have been extended to enable some limited phasing arrangements for schools where the combination of budget and reform measures impa...More Button

Was asked: the number of unregistered teachers currently employed at primary and post primary school level. More Button

The information as requested by the Deputy for teachers in primary, secondary and community/comprehensive schools is not available.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, it is my intention to commence Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act following the enactment of the Education (Amendment) Bill 2012. This will prohibit the employment...More Button

Was asked: if he will review his decision to cut three DEIS teaching posts from a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24 from September 2012 onward and which are being imposed on the school post the review in...More Button

As a result of Budget 2012, the school to which the Deputy refers, is one of 15 non DEIS schools losing teaching posts retained under previous disadvantage programmes prior to the introduction of t...More Button

The final staffing position for all schools at primary level will ultimately not be known until the Autumn of this year. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and any appeal...More Button

Was asked: the action he is taking to ensure there are no teaching posts lost at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24 from next September; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The staffing arrangements for the 2012/13 school year are set out in Primary Circular 0007/2012 which is available on my Department’s website. This includes the detail of the reform of the al...More Button

The Deputies will be aware that Budget 2012 provided for the phased withdrawal of approximately 428 posts allocated to some schools under disadvantage programmes prior to the introduction of the DE...More Button

The staffing circular 0007/2012 also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. The existing staffing appeals criteria hav...More Button

The final staffing position for all schools will ultimately not be known until later in 2012. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and any appeals to the Staffing Appeals Bo...More Button

Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 53.More Button

Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 92.More Button

Written Answers - School Patronage

Was asked: if he supports the recommendation in the report of the Advisory Group on Patronage and Pluralism that stand alone schools be left alone unless they are in areas in which there is a stable populatio...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I recently published the Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector. The overarching aim of the Forum’s work was...More Button

The Advisory Group have presented a comprehensive report and I am aware that some of the issues dealt with in the report are sensitive and need to be carefully examined.More Button

I have asked the education partners and interested parties to examine the report and take time to reflect on and digest the recommendations and I have invited them to submit their views on the repo...More Button

I am considering the report’s findings and recommendations and intend to outline my official response next month. As per the commitment in the Programme for Government, a White Paper o...More Button

Was asked: the reason the language for the new second level school in Balbriggan, County Dublin, was decided in advance of any consultation with the community or parental bodies; if he will consider as a matt...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, in June 2011 I announced that 20 new post-primary schools are to be established up to 2017 across a number of locations to cater for increasing demographics. I also stat...More Button

An analysis was carried out on all of the areas in which new schools are to be delivered to determine the language of instruction of the schools. Consideration was given to the levels of existing a...More Button

The closing date for receipt of applications for patronage of the post-primary schools to be established in 2013 and 2014 was Friday 24th February 2012. My Department is assessing all applications ...More Button

My Department will continue to monitor enrolments in the Balbriggan area to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation to meet any projected future demands.More Button

Written Answers - Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Was asked: if he will respond to the view that his policy on small rural schools is fundamentally flawed, misguided and devoid of planning and what is needed is a coherent, long-term and well-resourced strate...More Button

Budget 2012 introduced a phased increase in the pupil threshold for the allocation of classroom teachers in small primary schools. This increase is necessary given our budgetary constraints and ra...More Button

I consider that evidence-based policy making is vital. A value for money review of the provision of small primary schools is currently underway in my Department and should be finalised soon. This...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he and or his Department have examined the impact of constraints imposed and arising from the memorandum of understanding with particular reference to the implications for small...More Button

The Government recognises that small schools are an important part of the social fabric of rural communities. They will continue to be a feature of our education landscape. However, this does not...More Button

A Value for Money examination of small schools has been carried out and my Department expects to publish the analysis and findings in the near future. I hope that this report will foster construct...More Button

Written Answers - Croke Park Agreement

Was asked: if he will be seeking to ensure that all teachers’ allowances are protected under the review of allowances for public servants; his views on whether all such allowance are considered part of ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the review of allowances in the public service which is ongoing at the moment is being conducted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and I understand tha...More Button

The Government has reaffirmed the key commitments under the Public Service Agreement, including that there will be no further reductions in pay rates for serving public servants. These commitments...More Button

Allowances paid to teachers form only a part of the overall remit of the review. It would not be appropriate for me at this stage to comment on any specific subset of allowances, pending the outco...More Button

Was asked: if the 33 hours additional work agreed for non-teaching time can be used during school hours under the Croke Park Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

One of the elements of the Croke Park Agreement is that teachers will provide an additional hour per week to facilitate a range of essential whole school activities, at the discretion of school man...More Button

Written Answers - Third Level Participation

Was asked: the proposals he has to support growth in participation at third level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Ireland currently performs very strongly in terms of participation in higher education and has the highest tertiary attainment rate among 25-34 year olds in the European Union. Projections publish...More Button

While welcome, the scale of projected growth will present major challenges for Ireland’s higher education system in ensuring that student numbers can be accommodated in a sustainable way that...More Button

The National Strategy for Higher Education makes a number of recommendations for system development, flexibility, efficiency and change aimed at supporting sustainable growth while protecting quali...More Button

Written Answers - Apprenticeship Programmes

Was asked: his plans to change the statutory remit for remodelling apprenticeships that will allow future apprentices to have direct entry from their leaving certificate to the institutes of technology to beg...More Button

The recently announced Government “Action Plan for Jobs” confirmed a commitment to review our apprenticeship model this year. The intention is to provide an updated model of training that will de...More Button

Written Answers - Adult Education

Was asked: his plans to make it statutory for all education institutions in the State to have an adult literacy policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Third Level Admissions

Was asked: the reason certain achievements, qualifications and certification gained by young persons in out-of-school activities or in-school extra curricular activities are not given recognition by the CAO s...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the UCAS system that operates in the North of Ireland which provides a tariff system for the recognition of non-school based certification in, for example, speech and...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 23 and 42 together.More Button

Higher education institutions have delegated to the CAO the task of processing applications to their undergraduate courses and as autonomous institutions are responsible for setting their own eligi...More Button

While the entry systems to third level in Ireland and in the UK are inevitably different, the opportunity for Irish students to study in the UK, and the reciprocal arrangements for UK students, are...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Reports

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the progress of the Capital Asset Implementation Group; the assets the group are considering; when the group is expected to report; what the next steps will be once ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, as part of the overall Budget measures announced last December, it was signalled that it is proposed to amend the means test for student grants to take account of the v...More Button

A Capital Asset Test implementation group has been convened to develop and bring forward detailed proposals on new means testing arrangements to include the value of assets. This group has met on ...More Button

Any proposals arising from these recommendations will require Government agreement and will also necessitate legislative amendment.More Button

Written Answers - Higher Education Institutions

Was asked: if the recent Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings which failed to feature an Irish university is a cause for concern; the way he intends to address this continuing fall in rankings amo...More Button

There is significant debate around the relative importance attached to rankings criteria and on their capacity to fully capture the quality of what is on offer in higher education institutions. Th...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the catastrophic reputational damage caused to Ireland by the inept economic management of the previous Fianna Fáil-Green Party government is perhaps the most in...More Button

Despite some decline, Irish universities continue to figure prominently in world rankings. Irish institutions are featuring in the top 1% in the world. In 2011, two Irish institutions were in the...More Button

Delivering high quality higher education for a growing proportion of our population within our current resources will mean that we need to maintain a clear focus on system performance overall rathe...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects

Was asked: the recent publication of the five year school building plan, the implications for schools which want to apply for a new school building; if they will have to wait another five years before they ca...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that in view of the need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of major school projects to meet significant demographic demands nationall...More Button

School building projects currently in architectural planning, including those projects not included in the five year programme, will continue to be advanced incrementally over time within the conte...More Button

Any applications for new school buildings can only be considered in the context of the challenges that I have outlined above.More Button

Was asked: the reason a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24 has been withdrawn from the current school construction programme. More Button

I understand that the Deputy is referring to an application for improved accommodation submitted by Scoil Caitlín Maude. I can confirm that in the context of considering the application my D...More Button

Written Answers - Value for Money Reviews

Was asked: if he will commit to publishing the Value for Money Review of Small Schools by the end of this month; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will explain his rationale for the proposed closure of small schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

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

There is no policy to close down small schools. Rather, we have to ensure that the very valuable but limited resources we have available to us are used in the best and fairest way across all of ou...More Button

Work is still underway on the report of the value for money review of the provision of small primary schools. After I have received and considered the report, I will arrange publication. At this ...More Button

Written Answers - Bullying in Schools

Was asked: his decision to establish a forum to help address bullying in Irish schools if he will outline a timetable for when this initiative will be implemented; if he will report on any progress that his D...More Button

Was asked: the plans or strategies he intends to bring forward to combat bullying in our schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 56 together.More Button

I recently announced details of a forum to explore ways to tackle the problem of bullying in schools. This Anti-Bullying Forum is due to take place on the 17th of May 2012 and will bring together ...More Button

It is envisaged that there will be a range of speakers on the day of the Forum which will include contributions from my Department, the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC), an acknowledged acad...More Button

The objective of the Forum will be to explore with all the relevant stakeholders how best to tackle bullying in schools and to consider what changes or updating of existing practices and procedures...More Button

Bullying is a problem I take very seriously and I hope that the Forum will provide an opportunity to set out a roadmap on how best to tackle all forms of bullying in our schools.More Button

I am also establishing a working group on tackling bullying. The outcomes and recommendations from the Forum will assist the working group in its deliberations. This working group will include re...More Button

Written Answers - Special Educational Needs

Was asked: if he will [149]review his decision to cut nine DEIS teaching posts from a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; his views on concerns that the loss of such high p...More Button

As a result of Budget 2012, the school to which the Deputy refers is one of 15 non-DEIS schools losing teaching posts retained under previous disadvantage programmes prior to the introduction of th...More Button

The school to which the Deputy refers has submitted an appeal. The Staffing Appeal Board which operates independent of my Department will notify schools directly of its decisions. The final staffi...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond to criticism relating to a new requirement for students applying under the disability access route to education to produce extensive reports based on formal psychological tests t...More Button

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third-level admissions scheme for students with a disability. The scheme is operated by a number of higher education institutions and not by my...More Button

Was asked: if he has had any reports on the impact of the cuts to special needs assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that there has been no reduction in the overall number of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts available for allocation to schools this year. 10,575 Whole Time Equivalen...More Button

It should also be noted that no reduction has made to the overall number of SNA or Resource Teaching posts which will be available for allocation to schools for the 2012/13 school year. This is re...More Button

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 32.More Button

Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 23.More Button

Was asked: his views on applied behaviour analysis; if he still subscribes to the view that official recognition should be conferred on ABACAS schools using the applied behaviour analysis method of one-to-one...More Button

My Department’s policy on educating children with autism is centred on an inclusive, child centred approach promoting the use of a range of autism specific interventions including Applied Beh...More Button

Under this approach, each child can benefit from a number of different interventions to ensure the optimum individualised educational programme for him/her. Educational intervention for children w...More Button

This view is informed by advice received from international experts on autism, the National Educational Psychological Service and the Inspectorate. An analysis of research — including the re...More Button

My Department’s policy is to provide for children with special educational needs, including autism, to be included in mainstream schools unless such a placement would not be in their best int...More Button

Children in special classes have the benefit of fully-qualified teachers who are trained in educating and developing children generally and who have access to additional training in autism-specific...More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to improve the participation for persons with disabilities in third level education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Actions to improve access to third level education are being progressed through the implementation of the six-year National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education (2008-2013). Key achieveme...More Button

Question No. 67 answered with Question No. 53.More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Programme

Was asked: if he will list, on a yearly basis, the schools that were included on the construction programme during the past five years; the schools that have been withdrawn, removed and deprioritised from the...More Button

Was asked: the criteria used to include, withdraw or exclude a school from the school construction programme. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 41 together.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Five Year Plan prioritises new school building projects, including the new primary and post primary schools that I announced in June 2011, as well as major exte...More Button

The progression of school projects to construction, as set out in the Five Year Plan, to meet future demographic demand is the main focus of the Plan. In view of the funding constraints, it is not ...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that the announcement of the Five Year Plan represents a major change in how the school building programme is publicised. The Plan, for the first time, gives details of t...More Button

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

Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: the progress made to date in reducing the total spend on temporary accommodation for primary and post-primary schools since 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The amount spent on renting temporary accommodation at primary and post-primary level, including — but not limited to — prefabricated accommodation since 2008 is outlined below: 2012: &...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Agencies

Was asked: the number of times the SOLAS implementation group has met since it was established; if he will commit to publishing legislation for the establishment of SOLAS by mid 2012; and if he will make a st...More Button

Written Answers - Physical Education

Was asked: the funding that he provides for the active school flag initiative; the efforts being made to promote participation in this initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The funding provided to Active Flag was €116,000 per year for the past three years. We have allocated €80,000 to this Initiative in 2012. Recognising the contribution of physical activ...More Button

A part-time co-ordinator was appointed to the programme in 2011. A significant element of the co-ordinator’s brief is to promote the ASF in schools. Specific measures to promote the programme...More Button

Since September 2009, 875 primary schools, 125 post-primary schools and 4 Youthreach Centres have registered for participation in the programme. Some 110 schools have been awarded their flags in 20...More Button

Written Answers - Vocational Education Committees

Was asked: the progress made to date in relation to the merger of the vocational education committees and the establishment of local education and training boards; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

In October 2011, following Government approval, the General Scheme of an Education and Training Boards Bill was referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education. ...More Button

Written Answers - Access to Higher Education

Was asked: the supports in place to support access to third level education for students from disadvantaged areas; his plans [154]to introduce bursaries for disadvantaged students ...More Button

A wide range of actions to improve access to third level education are being progressed through the implementation of the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education (2008-2013). Key ach...More Button

In 2011, the core funding model for higher education institutions was developed to include a targeted access element, the allocation of which is now linked to the number of students from target acc...More Button

The principal financial support made available to students from disadvantaged areas to facilitate access to third level education continues to be the means-tested student grant. Other financial mea...More Button

From the academic year 2012/13 onwards, a number of existing scholarship schemes for higher education will be replaced with a new single scheme of bursaries based on merit but targeted specifically...More Button

Was asked: the Higher Education Authority document Towards a Future Higher Education Landscape and the success of the institutes of technology, RTCs over forty years in enabling hundreds of thousands of stude...More Button

The landscape documentation describes a future higher education system which can meet a diversity of needs. This includes Institutes of Technology developing and strengthening their role within th...More Button

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 30.More Button

Written Answers - Anti-Poverty Strategy

Was asked: if he will respond to claims by the Irish National Teacher’s Organisation that on average, five children in a primary classroom are at risk of poverty; that in terms of poverty, children are ...More Button

The Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to achieving the targets as set out in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 to reduce the number of people experiencin...More Button

Plans to tackle child poverty are outlined in the national Action Plan and the Government is committed to achieving these targets. These targets are currently being reviewed to ensure that they co...More Button

My colleague the Minister for Social Protection is responsible for developing, co-ordinating and monitoring the National Action Plan which has a specific remit to monitor poverty trends, including ...More Button

The education system operates in a context of broader social and economic circumstances. Poverty is one of wide range of issues which impacts on the learning capacity of pupils and which requires ...More Button

Written Answers - School Curriculum

Was asked: his views on claims by the Teachers Union of Ireland that schools are facing an estimated loss of 800,000 class periods from September 2012 onwards; his view on whether the loss of so many study ho...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent ASTI survey that shows an estimated 67% of schools will be forced to drop at least one subject at leaving certificate level because of the changes anno...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 87 together. More Button

I fully acknowledge that the reduction in resources to second level schools will be challenging for schools. However, the change must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Gov...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

My Department provides some limited short-term support to schools through curricular concessions in order to help them manage within their approved teaching allocation. The allocation process at po...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 have be...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services

Was asked: the number and nature of any new education and training places associated with Pathways to Work that were not already announced or allocated in advance of it. More Button

Written Answers - Institutes of Technology

Was asked: if he will respond to recent concerns expressed by the TUI that the Dublin Institute of Technology is to phase out construction trades as a result of the Higher Education Authority funding model wh...More Button

My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to the Institutes of Technology. The core grant for the University and Institute of Techno...More Button

Apprenticeship student numbers have reduced substantially in recent years and as a principle HEA seeks to have the funding follow the student, therefore the allocation has been substantially reduc...More Button

Was asked: his views on figures released recently by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland that show an 18% increase in student numbers between 2008 and 2011 in institutes of technology at a time when lecturin...More Button

The HEA has advised that between 2008 and 2011 full-time student numbers increased by 12.5% while core staffing numbers have decreased by 9.5% in the Institute of Technology sector. However the ec...More Button

Written Answers - Third Level Fees

Was asked: the reason students participating in the part-time Bachelor of Arts, arts and design course at Galway and Castlebar GMIT will, from September 2012 onwards, be expected to pay college fees that will...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a matter regarding an increase in student fees (details supplied) and if he or his Department have any role in resolving same. More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a 73% increase in fees for part-time students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, an increase which could lead to 90% of part-time students having to abandon their studie...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52, 90 and 95 together.More Button

Under the terms of my Department’s Free Fee Initiative the Exchequer meets the cost of tuition fees in respect of eligible students who are pursuing full-time undergraduate courses of study w...More Button

With effect from the 2011/2012 academic year, a new student contribution charge was introduced in higher education. This charge replaced the Student Services Charge and applies to all full-time stu...More Button

As the Deputy may also be aware, tax relief is available at the standard rate of taxation in respect of expenditure on fees associated with part-time higher education.More Button

Was asked: the most up-to-date figures for payment and collection of the second instalment of third level fees for this academic year, for the country and per relevant institution. More Button

The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available in my Department. The Higher Education Authority has been requested to contact each institution seeking such details. It is expected t...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Guidance Counsellors

Was asked: his views on the recent ASTI survey which found that the majority of schools are considering cutting guidance provision along with dropping critical subjects from the leaving certificate programme ...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond to claims from the ASTI that the curtailment of guidance provision in second level schools will lead to an increase in early school dropout; his views on a survey carried out by ...More Button

Was asked: his view on a matter regarding guidance counsellors (details supplied); if he will review proposals regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53, 67 and 97 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

My Department has published Circular 0009/2012 to inform all post primary school management and staff of the staffing arrangements for post-primary schools for the 2012/13 school year, including in...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

Written Answers - Teachers’ Remuneration

Was asked: his views on the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland assertion that cuts to teachers’ allowances may breach the Croke Park agreement. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the review of allowances in the public service which is ongoing at the moment is being conducted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and I understand tha...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide [164]statistical data on the number of newly qualified teachers who have emigrated since the decision to cut their allowances by 14%; his views on the...More Button

As a result of Budget 2012, Circular 70/2011 provides that teachers who had been engaged in a public sector teaching post on or before 4 December 2011 are eligible to retain the qualification allow...More Button

Was asked: the cost to the Exchequer in each of the past five years of increments paid to primary teachers and post primary teachers More Button

The information available in my Department in regard to the request by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded directly to him. The information will relate to teachers in Primary, Second...More Button

My Department does not hold information on the payment of increments to teachers employed by vocational education committees (VECs). Each VEC is a separate employer operating its own payroll system...More Button

Written Answers - Capitation Grants

Was asked: if provision will be made to assist schools in difficulty as a consequence of the cut in capitation grants to schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy is aware Budget 2012 provided for a 2% reduction in the funding for capitation and related grants to primary and second level schools in both 2012 and 2013 and a further 1% in 2014 an...More Button

Written Answers - Literacy Levels

Was asked: his views on the results for Irish schools in the OECD’s 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment tests, in which the country’s ranking fell significantly from previous compa...More Button

I welcome the publication of the Educational Research Centre (ERC) report on PISA 2009 which summarises all of the valuable research that the ERC and experts from Statistics Canada have completed o...More Button

The additional data in this report, which suggests that student engagement with the test, as distinct from student ability, may have been an important factor in the decline, is a further piece of v...More Button

Written Answers - School Enrolments

Was asked: if he will provide a timeframe for the consultation with families living along the Border corridor and which seeks to establish the levels of interest in sending children to schools across the Bord...More Button

My Department, in conjunction with the Department of Education in Northern Ireland, is planning a joint attitudinal survey exercise to inform cross-Border pupil movement and school planning in the ...More Button

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 48.More Button

Written Answers - FÁS Training Programmes

Was asked: the position regarding the operation of the FÁS local training initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his plans for the future of the local training initiative programme including funding to be allocated in 2012; if there are any plans under consideration for the discontinuation of the programme; a...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Staff

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form, details of all salary increases for special advisors requested by him or any Ministers of State in his Department; the names of the advisors and the amount requ...More Button

There have been no salary increases requested by me or granted in respect of my two special advisors since their appointment. The Ministers of State at my Department do not have special advisors.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide, in tabular form, the names and salaries of all his special advisors including special advisors of Ministers of State and any salary increases they have received since they took ...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The Ministers of State at my Department do not have Special Advisers.More Button

Special Advisers in the Department of Education and Skills More Button

Written Answers - Higher Education Grants

Was asked: the progress of the capital asset implementation group; the assets the group are considering; when the group is expected to report; the next steps once the group have made their recommendations; an...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, as part of the overall Budget measures announced last December, it was signalled that it is proposed to amend the means test for student grants to take account of the v...More Button

A Capital Asset Test implementation group has been convened to develop and bring forward detailed proposals on new means testing arrangements to include the value of assets. This group has met on ...More Button

Any proposals arising from these recommendations will require Government agreement and will also necessitate legislative amendment.More Button

Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 46.More Button

Was asked: if he will outline the new and proposed State supports for access to third and fourth level education in view of the recent reduction in tax relief for qualifying programmes and the proposed reduct...More Button

My priority as Minister for Education and Skills is to preserve access to undergraduate higher education courses despite the difficult circumstances in our public finances. As a result, no changes ...More Button

However, those students who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant will be eligible to have their post-graduate tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit under the Student...More Button

In addition, a further limited number of students who would previously have qualified under the standard grant thresholds will qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of t...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. Also th...More Button

As you are aware a new student contribution charge of €2,000 was introduced in higher education with effect from the 2011/2012 academic year. This charge replaced the previous Student Service...More Button

Written Answers - School Management

Was asked: if he will provide a list of national schools currently with no board of management and in each case the reason for same. More Button

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

Under these agreed procedures, when the Board is appointed, the Patron is required to submit a declaration to my Department confirming same. The process of updating the Department’s records ...More Button

Written Answers - Educational Tours

Was asked: if he will address concerns regarding the Irish Greyhound Board offering free school tour outings of the greyhound stadia around the country for students and teachers; if his attention has been dra...More Button

Decisions in relation to educational tours by schools are a matter for each individual school. In accordance with my Department’s circulars, the objective of an educational tour should be to...More Button

I would share the Deputy’s concern that schools might expose children to gambling and betting as these kind of activities are not appropriate for young children.More Button

Question No. 90 answered with Question No. 52.More Button

Written Answers - Fire Safety

Was asked: if he will provide details of the fire safety checks that take place on new school buildings by engineers from his Department who are independent from the contractors employed who carry out the wor...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide details of the fire safety checks that take place regularly on existing school buildings by engineers from his Department; and if he will provide details of the person who signs ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 98 together.More Button

Officials in my Department have no role or statutory authority to undertake “fire safety checks” or sign off on “fire stopping” in new school buildings. Works in connection with the design and con...More Button

Issues of health and safety are a matter for the school Board of Management (BOM). If the BOM is aware of potential health and safety risk associated with “fire stopping”, then they should contact...More Button

Written Answers - Fee-Charging Schools

Was asked: if he will confirm whether he has no intention of withdrawing public funding to fee paying secondary schools. More Button

The funding to which the Deputy refers is the arrangement whereby the salaries of teachers employed within the approved annual staffing allocation for fee charging schools by my Department are paid...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I announced a review last December, in the context of the Budget 2012, where I made a further one point change to the staffing allocation of fee charging schools. I in...More Button

Written Answers - School Accommodation

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

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has an application with my Department for capital funding for a major school project. Information in respect of the current status of all ass...More Button

In view of the need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment ...More Button

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 52.More Button