110. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the construction of a new permanent school building for a school (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the challenges and restrictions for pupils and teachers with the existing arrangements for the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18433/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am pleased to advise the Deputy that architectural planning has commenced for the delivery of the new school under the Department’s Design and Build Programme. Site surveys have commenced in advance of preparing the Planning Application which will be the next key milestone in the progression of the project.
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100. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of plans to extend the July provision scheme to allow more children to qualify, including children with a particular diagnosis (details supplied), in view of the commitment in the programme for partnership Government to examine the adequacy of special education access and funding provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18264/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In 2018, almost €1.8 billion will be invested in Special Education, nearly one fifth of the overall Education budget, and up 43% since 2011.
This funding includes provision for over 13,400 Special Education Teaching posts in mainstream primary and post primary schools for the 2017/2018 school year, providing additional teaching support to pupils with special educational needs, and approximately 1,300 special classes, with 169 new Special...

323. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the initiatives or strategies under way or planned to recruit more teachers into secondary school subjects in which there is a shortfall in teaching applications, particularly language subjects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14967/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Teacher Recruitment)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy will be aware, additional investment has allowed the successful recruitment of over 5,000 additional teachers in the last two years.  Since 2012/2013, there are 8,900 more teachers in our schools. No other part of the public service has seen growth on this scale, which is testament to the Government’s commitment to, and the importance of education in, fulfilling our national ambitions.
The numbers of graduates from initial ...

324. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to amend the requirements for acceptance on a professional master of education, PME, course in order that recognition of prior learning is taken into account; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that more persons would apply for PME if previous qualifications were considered (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14968/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Teaching Qualifications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I understand that the Deputy’s question refers to recognition of additional post-graduate qualifications which a candidate may already have before applying for a post-primary Professional Masters in Education (PME), in such a way that the overall duration of the PME would be reduced for that candidate.
The introduction of changes to the duration and content of post-graduate initial teacher education (ITE) programmes were made in response...

416. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the development and location for a school (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to demand for school places in this area and the urgent need for information for parents and schoolchildren in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16021/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy may be aware, the school to which he refers is included in my Department’s 6 year construction programme.
Officials in my Department continue to liaise with officials in Fingal County Council in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding in relation to the identification and acquisition of a suitable location for the school in question and have identified a preferred site option within the relevant school planning area...

261. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are guidelines or legislation in place in relation to ensuring school places in schools for children of Irish citizens who are serving the State overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13789/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - School Placement)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In relation to school admissions, parents can choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary.
This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result...

284. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are grants available to schools to make them more accessible for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14141/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department administers the Emergency Works Scheme which is solely for unforeseen emergencies or to provide funding to facilitate inclusion and access for special needs pupils. The scheme is always open and the application form and circular are available on my Departments website.
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246. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there is advice or assistance for schools on clearing snow following extreme weather events such as storm Emma; if there are guidelines for schools to link in with local authorities to clear snow after extreme weather events; his plans to introduce such guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12420/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Severe Weather Events Response)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Department of Education and Skills issued a reminder to all schools about the Department’s guidelines in the event of severe weather, contained on the Department’s web site and in the “Be Winter Ready” booklet.
As part of the Government’s “Be Winter Ready” campaign, the DES advise schools to conduct “a pre-event evaluation of what should be, or could be, in place to ensure the opening of the school in the event of severe weather. Ar...

253. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cuts that have occurred to the capitation fund for primary schools since 2008; the cost in monetary terms of these cuts to the primary school sector in each of the school years 2009-10 to 2017-18; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12574/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Capitation Grants)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The capitation grant at primary level is €170 per pupil which represents a reduction of €30 from pre-2010 levels.
The table below outlines the approximate value of reductions in the rate of the capitation grant in each of the years 2011 to 2015.  There were no reductions in the years 2009 and 2010 or in the years since 2015.  In Budget 2011 which was announced in October 2010 the then Minister for Finance announced the first reduction in...

254. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether there is a direct relationship between the cuts to capitation grants in primary schools and the consequent shortfall in primary school funding to the need for primary schools to seek voluntary contributions from parents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12575/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Capitation Grants)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years.  The first cuts to capitation were announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Finance.
Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training serv...

174. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the removal of dilapidated pre-fabricated units at a school (details supplied ) will be ensured in view of the fact that it is now a health and safety matter; if the units will be removed before the summer 2018 break; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11500/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Departmental Properties)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm to the Deputy that Dublin Dun Laoghaire ETB has agreed to manage this project for my Department.  I understand that the ETB will be submitting to my Department shortly details of the works required.  On receipt, my Department will be in a position to progress the project.
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194. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the development and location for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8494/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Schools Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Officials in my Department are working closely with officials in the relevant local authority under the Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of school sites with a view to securing a suitable location for the school to which the Deputy refers.
My Department is working to advance the site acquisition process for the school in question as quickly as possible and the school patron will be informed of the permanent location once a...

440. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the shortage of qualified substitute teachers available in primary schools in the Dublin 15 area will be addressed; the efforts under way to address this problem; if his attention has been drawn to the negative impact these shortages are having on staff and pupil morale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1699/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Teacher Recruitment)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 440 and 451 together.
I am aware that schools have reported difficulties in recruiting substitute teachers at primary level and in certain subjects at post primary level, and I am committed to examining all possible means of addressing these issues.
I have recruited some 2,300 extra permanent, full time new teachers in 2016-2017 and 2,900 extra are being recruited in 2017-2018. All of the 2016-2017 posts...

158. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of the building of a sports hall at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52690/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The school building project to which the Deputy refers is currently at tender stage. Letters of Intent for this project issued on 28th November. Assuming no further issues arise and the contract is awarded the project will thereafter proceed to construction early in Quarter 1 of 2018.
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171. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) will be allocated the necessary SNA resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52825/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), which is an independent statutory agency, is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school. The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in alloca...

202. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the date by which the minor works grant will be made available to primary schools; if this grant will be a guaranteed yearly payment in order to assist schools to adequately budget for the year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50488/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Minor Works Scheme)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The normal practice is for the Minor Works Grant to be announced towards the end of the year if funding permits. Over the next number of weeks the issue of the Minor Works Grant 2017/2018 will be considered in the context of my Department’s overall capital position.  
Circular Letter 0062/2013 which provides guidance in respect of the Minor Works Grant states that “the grant will only be paid in future years as funding permits”.  In that...

218. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to concerns raised on behalf of an association (details supplied); the way in which he plans to address these concerns; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that only 12% of young persons are meeting the guideline of 60 minutes of physical activity per day; his plans to address concerns on the optional nature of physical education at senior cycle for those not taking physical education for their leaving certificate; the timeframe for the implementation of leaving certificate physical education; the CPD facility development plans and teaching time allocation for leaving certificate physical education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50673/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Physical Education)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The specification for a new examinable Leaving Certificate Physical Education subject (the specification) and a new non-examinable Framework for Senior Cycle Physical Education (the Framework) were approved by me in February 2017, following development by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). 
Implementation of Leaving Certificate PE as a subject has recently been re-emphasised as a Government priority, having been i...

185. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the construction of a unit for children with autism at a school (details supplied); the reason work on this development has stalled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48722/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The school referred to by the Deputy was approved a devolved grant under my Department’s Additional Accommodation Scheme 2012 to provide a 1 Classroom ASD Unit & 1 SET Classroom.
Building work commenced in mid-2015 but due to difficulties with the appointed contractor works did not progress in a timely manner which resulted in the termination of the contract in May 2017.
Approval was given to the school authority in August 2017 to re-ten...

123. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the reduction in hours for a person (details supplied) at a school; if this reduction is a breach of contract; the reason this reduction has occurred when there has been no change in circumstances at the school; if the full-time hours will be reallocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47199/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - Special Educational Needs Staff Contracts)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The number of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) employed in a school depends on the allocation given to the school by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), based on its assessment of the special educational needs of pupils in the school. My Department has no control over the allocation process to schools and is not in a position to influence the allocation process in light of the fact that the NCSE is an independent statutory ...

344. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if person (details supplied) will have their registration with the Teaching Council completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46156/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Teaching Council of Ireland)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Under the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015, the Teaching Council is the independent standards body and regulator for the teaching profession in Ireland. A key function of the Council is the registration of teachers and the maintenance of the register.
Under section 30 of the Acts, a teacher employed in a recognized school must be registered with the Teaching Council in order to be paid from Oireachtas-voted funds, other than in limited ci...

401. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure the current student teacher ratio at a school (details supplied) is maintained due to the high proportion of students at the school that require additional supports; if his attention has been drawn to the measures the school will have to undertake, including merging classes, if the current student teacher ratio is changed; if his attention has been further drawn to the negative impact such a change will have on all pupils and teachers at the school; the reason the school will not be able to use a new special needs unit when it moves to a new premises; if an arrangement can be made in order that this unit can be used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46652/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Pupil-Teacher Ratio)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September. 
The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of lo...

426. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide additional teaching support on a temporary basis to help manage the high number of children with special educational needs at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46967/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Special Educational Needs Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools were published on 7 March 2017.
These Circulars set out the details of the new model for allocating special education teachers to schools. 
The revised allocation process replaces the generalised allocation process at primary and post primary school level for learning support and high incidence special educational needs, and...

427. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to allow schools to appeal a decision to refuse an application for extra teaching resources on the grounds of the number of students with special educational needs at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46968/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools were published on 7 March 2017.
These Circulars set out the details of the new model for allocating special education teachers to schools. 
The revised allocation process replaces the generalised allocation process at primary and post primary school level for learning support and high incidence special educational needs, and...

83. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the length of time children from four to 18 years of age are waiting for places in ASD units in each county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45407/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Special Educational Needs Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The policy of my Department is to ensure that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network. 
Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified profe...

127. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to staff replacement issues regrading primary schools in Dublin 15; if he has received correspondence from principals of primary schools in Dublin 15 highlighting these issues; the reason primary schools are finding it difficult to replace teachers for short and long term cover in Dublin 15; the steps he will take to resolve these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44562/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - School Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In overall terms, my Department has no evidence of a recent or current shortage of primary teachers. As the Deputy is aware, we increased the number of primary school teaching posts by 1093 in 2016/17 and schools have filled those positions.  For the current school year, we increased the number of posts by 1160 and the process for filling these positions is almost complete. I am, however, aware that some schools have experienced difficul...