251. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a response to a request (details supplied); when sanction will be approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36047/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - School Transport Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
Currently almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually. 
Under the terms of the Primary School Transport Schem...

252. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a CID application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34920/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Teaching Contracts)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The decision on whether to issue a Contract of Indefinite Duration (CID) to a teacher is one for their school as employer in the first instance. As part of the agreement between the education partners on the implementation of the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003 in the education and training sector, an adjudication system was established to facilitate resolution of disputes in relation to the awarding of CIDs. This sy...

253. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary who must attend a special school in County Cork will be provided with school transport; the supports available to this person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34921/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - School Transport Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
Currently almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
The family in question should liaise with the School A...

254. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider an application by a person (details supplied) for special needs equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34932/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): An application for Assistive Technology under the terms of Circular 0010/2013 was received by my Department in relation to the individual concerned. 
The purpose of this scheme is to provide grant aid to schools to allow them purchase the type of specialist equipment which has been recommended by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) as being essential for pupils with physical or communicative disabilities where, without such...

255. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schools that are in temporary accommodation and for which a permanent site has not been fully acquired to date by his Department. (Question 34941/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The following list shows schools that are in temporary accommodation and for which a site acquisition process by my Department is underway.
It should be noted that this list excludes schools where the patron is arranging a new permanent site.
 Name of School  Address Roll no  St Brid’s Special School Pavilion Road, Castlebar, Co. Mayo 19375B St Mary’s Central NS Muckross Donnybrook, Dublin 4 19727G St Michael’s Special Sch...

256. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will approve a home tuition grant for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34943/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Home Tuition Scheme Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The medical strand of my Department’s Home Tuition Grant Scheme provides funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for students, enrolled in schools, with significant medical conditions which has caused, and is likely to continue to cause, major disruption to their attendance at school.
As tuition takes place outside the usual school structure it is important that the educational programme provided generally ref...

257. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore grants for student teachers attendance at mandatory Gaeltacht courses. (Question 34945/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Teacher Training Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The decision to stop the Gaeltacht placement grants was taken during the economic crisis when, unfortunately, very difficult decisions had to be made to stabilise the nation’s finances. Priority was given to protecting resources for front line education services as far as possible.
The Deputy should note that, to assist with the costs of the Gaeltacht placement, students who are in receipt of a student grant which includes a 100% fee gr...

258. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to invest in third level mental health counselling for budget 2018. (Question 34946/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Student Support Schemes)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to HEA designated higher education institutions. The HEA allocates this funding as a block grant to the institutions. As autonomous bodies, the internal disbursement of this funding, along with any funding it receives from private sources, is a matter for the individual institution.
Student service...

259. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to overturn the decision in budget 2014 to impose the new pro rata student contribution. (Question 34947/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Apprenticeship Programmes)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 and 260 together.
Since 2004, FÁS/SOLAS paid a part of the Annual Student Contribution (ASC) due in respect of apprentices, with apprentices themselves paying the part of the contribution relating to examination fees. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS has ceased making payments to Institutes of Technology (IoTs) and apprentices pay the full pro rata Annual Student Contribution. ...

260. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reinstate the State contribution to fund apprenticeship fees. (Question 34948/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Apprenticeship Programmes)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 and 260 together.
Since 2004, FÁS/SOLAS paid a part of the Annual Student Contribution (ASC) due in respect of apprentices, with apprentices themselves paying the part of the contribution relating to examination fees. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS has ceased making payments to Institutes of Technology (IoTs) and apprentices pay the full pro rata Annual Student Contribution. ...

261. Deputy Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to his meeting with a delegation from a college (details supplied) on 6 June 2017, if he has received a report from the congregation of Christian Brothers in relation to the sale of playing pitches at the college; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34985/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Property)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that correspondence has been received from the Congregation of the Christian Brothers in response to queries raised by my Department.
In its response, the Congregation has stated that the lands concerned have been sold, that the Congregation has signed and exchanged legally binding contracts with the purchasers and that the Congregation cannot reverse this transaction. 
 ...

262. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the detail of his Department’s forward planning section’s contact with a school (details supplied) regarding the need for extra space in September 2017. (Question 35017/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - School Accommodation)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has been liaising with the patron body of the school referred to by the Deputy with regard to additional accommodation required for September 2017. 
As the Deputy may be aware, this is a developing school located in rented temporary accommodation in Dublin 15 which will require two additional classrooms for September 2017. Work is ongoing to provide additional prefab accommodation at this l...

263. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills when his Department’s forward planning section submitted an application for planning permission for extra temporary classrooms for a school (details supplied). (Question 35018/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - School Accommodation)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In relation to the school referred to by the Deputy, I wish to advise that the consultant working on behalf of my Department submitted the planning application to the relevant local authority on 14 July 2017.  
 ...

264. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a small works project will commence in a school (details supplied); and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the works needed are to allow a child with special needs to attend the school. (Question 35046/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Refurbishment)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding for the works to which he refers has been approved and the school has been notified accordingly. The project has been devolved for delivery to the school authority.  
 ...

265. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of funding allocated to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 7 to progress a planned development for the school to design and construction stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35048/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The brief for the school building project at the school referred to by the Deputy is for the replacement of a total of 17 prefabricated buildings with permanent accommodation and the provision of a new shared General Purpose room.
My Department has commenced preparing the detailed tender documentation for the appointment of a Design Team to the project and will be in touch shortly with the school authorities to outline the next steps and...

266. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the way in which the July education programme is paid to recipients later in the calendar year; if the payment date can be brought forward to when the hours in the programme are worked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35059/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The July Education Programme is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. The programme is also available for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. 
Where a school chooses not to extend their services for July, all eligible children are granted home based July provisi...

267. Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will expedite the transfer of a parcel of land from a national school (details supplied); and if his attention has been drawn to the urgency in completing this transfer. (Question 35065/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Property)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Officials from my Department have considered the request received in respect of the school referred to by the Deputy. 
The land in question is not in my ownership. 
My Department will be in contact with the property owner this week in relation to the request received. 
 ...

268. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the HEA board minutes for its meeting of October 2014 were published; the reason they were only published after they were requested by the PAC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35074/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Higher Education Authority Administration)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): The HEA board minutes to which the Deputy refers were published on the HEA’s website on 28th June 2017.
HEA Board meetings are listed sequentially. On occasions, additional special meetings are arranged, these tend to be one item meetings. The special meeting of October 2014 was not published on the HEA’s website due to an administrative oversight. The HEA did publish the minutes of its next regular m...

269. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount paid by the State in fees to legal professionals for the purposes of defending a case (details supplied) and other cases of school day sex abuse litigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35097/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Legal Costs)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The State Claims Agency are mandated to manage these cases on behalf of the State. The legal fees paid in respect of these cases since the beginning of 2011 are set out in the attached document.
Table 1: Claims created 2011 – 2017 YTD
Table 1 outlines day school claims created under the Minister for Education and Skills between 2011 and 2017 YTD
Table 1
 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Grand Total 29 2 2 101 33 2...

270. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding points; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35101/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Third Level Admissions Entry Requirements)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): Admission to third level courses are decided by the higher education institutions and my Department does not have a role in setting the criteria for course entry. The Central Applications Office (CAO) manages the graduate entry to medicine on behalf of the participating institutions, and the Graduate Medical Schools Admission Tests (GAMSAT) is used in this regard.
The CAO handbook states that applicants...

271. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if funding can be resumed for a literacy programme (details supplied). (Question 35128/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Adult Education Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): The City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) provide courses to TARGET’s learners under the Adult Literacy and Community Education budgets. The courses offered are agreed with TARGET based on their identified needs for the area. I understand that CDETB continues to provide an extensive range of courses in the area under the ALCE budget and all requests for Community Education hours in TARGET have bee...

272. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the provision of continuing professional development, CPD, and wellness for teachers; if an official from his Department will make contact with the interested party (details supplied) to discuss same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35158/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Teachers’ Professional Development)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A key objective in the Action Plan for Education 2016 – 2019 is to develop the continuum of teacher education to equip teachers with the right skills for 21st century teaching and learning and improve school leadership. The quality of our teaching profession is a critical factor in sustaining and enhancing the quality of education outcomes. Specific targets for 2017 are outlined in the Action Plan for Education.
The professional develo...

273. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the construction of a secondary school will commence on the old greyhound track in Harold’s Cross; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35161/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that the acquisition of the former greyhound stadium at Harold’s Cross by the Department is currently at the conveyancing stage.
The acquisition of the property and the development of school infrastructure on the site is contingent upon a change to the current zoning.
The statutory process required in respect of a variation to the Dublin City Development plan is currently underway.
 ...

274. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) will be losing a special needs assistant for the 2017-18 school year; if this decision can be reviewed in view of the fact that the school has been sanctioned SNA access for an additional four children since its last SNA allocation was made; his views on whether this level of allocation is sufficient to ensure the children who require assistance receive an appropriate level of support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35210/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Special Educational Needs Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I recently announced that an additional 975 SNA posts will be available for allocation to schools from September 2017 which is a 7.5% increase to meet the demands for the new school year. A total of 13,990 SNA posts will now be available at a gross annual cost of €458 million. This is more SNAs than we have ever had previously and will ensure that all children who qualify for SNA support can continue to receive access to such support. ...

275. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the special transport grant has been refused for a person (details supplied). (Question 35217/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - School Transport Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
Currently almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
The main purpose of my Department’s School Transport S...