426. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the additional accommodation application by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16101/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm that my Department has received an application for additional accommodation at the school referred to by the Deputy.
The application is currently being considered and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority as soon as the assessment process is completed.
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26. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore the capitation grant to primary schools to €200 per pupil; his views on whether choosing not to do so will result in schools continuing to have to fundraise and to seek donations from parents and other sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14274/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Funding)

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 capitaion were announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Finance.  Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education.
Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to...

39. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he plans to resolve the deficiencies in the vetting regime for special needs assistants in view of the difficulties this is causing for children with special education needs and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14275/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Garda Vetting of Personnel)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In April 2016, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality commenced the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (the Vetting Act) which put in place statutory requirements for the Garda vetting of persons involved in working with children and vulnerable persons.
The Vetting Act applies not just to schools but to any relevant organisation that employs, contracts, permits or places a person in r...

281. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties schools are experiencing owing to the deficiencies in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016; if his attention has been further drawn to the practicalities of the employment of substitute special needs assistants in schools; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that these difficulties sometimes result in schools having no choice but to send pupils with special educational needs home due to the fact their welfare cannot be adequately protected; his plans with the Minister for Justice and Equality to address this legislative deficiency; the practical guidance he will provide to schools to address this issue pending the necessary amending legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14111/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In April 2016, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality commenced the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (the Vetting Act) which put in place statutory requirements for the Garda vetting of persons involved in working with children and vulnerable persons.
The Vetting Act applies not just to schools but to any relevant organisation that employs, contracts, permits or places a person in r...

111. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to re-establish equal pay for equal work (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10396/18 asked on 28 Feb 2018 - Public Sector Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start.  I negotiated together with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, a 15-22% pay increase for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for more recently recruited teachers and deliver full equality at later points in the scale.
As a result of the changes I negoti...

58. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4909/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Schools Building Contractors)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In respect of the Schools Bundle 5 PPP programme, which includes the school referred to by the Deputy, a contract exists between my Department and the Principal contractor, Inspiredspaces.  Inspiredspaces is the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) responsible for the design, construction, finance, operation and maintenance of the programme.  
The company referred to by the Deputy has been a 50% shareholder in the SPV.  The other shareholder in...

105. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a higher pay scale to LTI co-ordinators will be set (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5007/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): I am not aware of any plan to introduce a higher payscale to LTI co-ordinators.
On 21 March 2002, the Labour Court recommended that LTI community training supervisors should receive an increase in pay and that the total grant paid by FÁS to project sponsors for supervisor pay should be increased by 20%.  Sponsors were to be advised that the total increased grant, less employers PRSI, should be paid to supervisor...

140. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter in relation to a grant application by persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47625/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Student Grant Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I understand that the students to which the Deputy refers, have exhausted their statutory based appeals within SUSI and to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board. The Deputy will appreciate that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the outcome of individual cases within this statutory appeals process. 
With regard to the general issue of assessment of income under the Student Grants Scheme, the rates of grant and the inc...

248. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied); and if a site has been acquired for the school. (Question 33043/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Officials in my Department have been working with officials from the relevant Local Authority towards the acquisition of a permanent site to meet the needs of the school to which the Deputy refers. 
A number of potentially suitable sites were identified and assessed and a preferred site option has been identified. Engagement with the relevant landowners with respect to the proposed acquisition is underway and Department officials are wo...

166. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is a constitutional right for a child to receive additional care and special support in a school with six children with learning difficulties. (Question 30884/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Under the Constitution, the State provides for education and where the public good requires it, to provide other educational facilities or institutions rather than to provide education directly. The Education Act 1998, subject to the provisions of that Act, provides that there is made available to each person resident in the State a level and quality of education which is appropriate to meeting the needs and abilities of that person. 
M...

102. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of pupil numbers of all second level schools in Drogheda as at September 2016 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8902/17 asked on 22 Feb 2017 - School Enrolments Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The data requested by the Deputy on post-primary enrolments in schools in Drogheda for 2016/17 is included in the following table.

Drogheda PP 2016
 Academic Year Roll Number Official School Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 County Principal Name Phone School Gender Pupil Attendance Type Irish Classification - Post Primary Fee Paying Ethos/Religion Open/Closed Status Female Enrolments Male Enrolmen...

103. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of pupil numbers of all primary schools in Drogheda as at September 2016 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8904/17 asked on 22 Feb 2017 - School Enrolments Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The information requested by the deputy is available in the following table. Please note that all pupils number for the 2016/2017 academic year are currently provisional.
List of Drogheda Schools Mainstream and Special 2016-2017
 County Description Roll Number Official Name Address Line 1 Address Line 2 Louth 00851C PRESENTATION CONVENT BALLYMAKENNY ROAD DROGHEDA Louth 01434O S N COLUMCILLE TULLYDONNELL TOGHER Louth 0...

158. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the incentives or assistance available to second level schools in County Louth to provide an autistic unit for students who require these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2562/17 asked on 24 Jan 2017 - Special Educational Needs)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Funding for special education provision in 2016 amounted to some €1.5 billion, which was equivalent to over 17% of the gross overall allocation for education and training and an increase of 10% in spending in the previous two years. 
This funding provides for a range of supports and services including additional learning and resource teaching support, access to SNA support, special transport arrangements, building adaptations, enhanced c...

159. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding an Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2563/17 asked on 24 Jan 2017 - Special Educational Needs)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm to the Deputy that a two-classroom ASD Unit is being provided as part of the accommodation for the new 1,000 pupil-post-primary school to which he refers and which is currently under construction.   
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102. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school building project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2275/17 asked on 19 Jan 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills Deputy Richard Bruton: The project to which the Deputy refers has reached an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2b, which involves securing the statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. 
The design team was appointed in March 2011 and the brief was to provide an extension and refurbishment work on a phased basis with a partial decant of classrooms on the existing site. The project was included in the five year construction progra...

95. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) was refused a SUSI grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38923/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - Student Grant Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As part of a comprehensive customer service and communications strategy provided by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), to ensure that all necessary avenues are open to applicants to receive the information they need, a dedicated email and phone line service is provided by SUSI for Oireachtas members. This was established to meet an identified need for applicants who choose to engage the assistance of their public representatives i...

178. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the construction of a new school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36927/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the Letter of Acceptance for the preferred Tenderer for the project in question is expected to issue this week.  I understand that all outstanding issues for the project have been resolved to enable this.  My Department now expects that the project will commence on site early in the New Year.
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218. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the minor works scheme grant will be issued to primary schools for 2016-2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34630/16 asked on 15 Nov 2016 - Minor Works Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 218, 223 and 259 together.
My Department is currently determining the likely end-year position on capital expenditure 2016 and I expect to be able to make an announcement regarding the Minor Works Grant 2016/2017 before the end of the week.
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121. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm the special needs assistants hours for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32867/16 asked on 02 Nov 2016 - 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 Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including S support.
The NCSE allocates S support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in my Department’s Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department’s webs...

182. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a full-time special needs assistant for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19241/16 asked on 05 Jul 2016 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special needs assistants (SNA) supports. The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in making recommendations for support, which are set out in my Department’s Circular 0030/2014 and are available on my Department’s ...

14. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills why persons who participate in level 5 Quality and Qualifications Ireland courses through the National Learning Network cannot avail of the grant from Student Universal Support Ireland but persons who complete the post-leaving certificate system can; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18146/16 asked on 28 Jun 2016 - Student Grant Scheme Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): The Student Grant Scheme supported approximately 81,500 students in the academic year 2015/16 at a cost of circa €380 million.
Under the student grant scheme, eligible candidates may receive funding, provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution and meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those which relate to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means....

93. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of a person’s (details supplied) retirement pension, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16158/16 asked on 15 Jun 2016 - Teacher Retirements)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The person to whom the Deputy refers has been in direct contact with officials of my Department concerning her retirement options. In this connection she sought and was provided with a statement of the estimated benefits she would receive were she to retire voluntarily with cost neutral early retirement benefits. This category of pension is actuarially reduced to reflect its coming in payment early and the longer period over which it m...

52. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a school (details supplied) for an extension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15097/16 asked on 09 Jun 2016 - Schools Building Projects Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The building project for the school to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. All statutory approvals have been obtained and the Stage 2b submission has been approved by my Department.
However, on 1 January 2016 there were 66 major projects under construction. Since the start of this year 14 more major projects have been progressed to construction and there are currently 36 projects authorised to pro...

132. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will accept an appeal by a person (details supplied) who never received a notice of determination from Student Universal Support Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11207/16 asked on 24 May 2016 - Student Grant Scheme Appeals)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Deputy will be aware of the provisions in the Student Support Act 2011 which provide for appeals to Appeals Officers within SUSI. Determinations of Appeals Officers can in turn be appealed to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board.
The Deputy will appreciate that it would be inappropriate for me to seek to interfere in this statutory independent appeals process. However, my officials have informed me that SUSI has recently been...

258. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills to examine and expedite an application for a school extension (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9020/16 asked on 04 May 2016 - Schools Building Projects Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): The project to which the Deputy refers was authorised to proceed to tender in late November 2015. Following clarification on matters raised by the Design Team it is anticipated that the project will proceed to tender shortly.
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