Tuesday, 23 March 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
A speech therapist employed by Stewarts Hospital normally provides a service to the school attended by the pupil in question. However, I understand that the speech therapy post in question is currently vacant and that the hospital auth orities are endeavouring to fill this post as quickly as possible.
I have asked my officials to review current arrangements in relation to the provision of such services in schools, in consultation with the Department of Health and Children. My objective is to ensure that the system is in a position to respond in a positive and efficient manner to the needs which arise within the school system.
634. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Education and Science if a person with dyslexia, sitting school or State examinations, is allowed any benefits when examination papers are being marked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8136/99]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The objective in making special arrangements at the certificate examinations for students who have specific learning difficulties including dyslexia is to ensure as far as possible that such candidates are enabled to demonstrate at the examination their level of ability.
I am sure the Deputy will agree that, in the interests of equity and fairness across the entire body of candidates and indeed to ensure the credibility of the examination system, the work done by students must ultimately be assessed according to the same strictly objective criteria. This is achieved by having a common marking scheme apply to the work of all candidates in a subject and at the same time by ensuring that every effort is made to ensure that full credit is given in accordance with that marking scheme for the work done.
Traditionally where a concern has been expressed regarding the readability of material, this has been brought to the attention of the individual examiner. However, in the event of an examiner encountering difficulty in reading the script, the examiner is instructed to send the answer book to this or her supervising examiner. This is to ensure that notwithstanding any presentational or readability difficulties every effort is made by the examiner or supervising examiner to ensure that the candidates is given full credit for all work done.
This year my Department has moved to strengthen this arrangement by instructing all examiners who have a difficulty in accessing the information given by a candidate to refer the script to their supervising examiner. The intention is to ensure that problems with readability whether or not brought to the attention of the Department area dealt with by the examiner and that no candidate is disadvantaged.
635. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received a submission from the Central Remedial Clinic, Vernon Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3, in relation to its need for approval for a transition year in view of the special needs of some pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8139/99]
The issue raised in the submission in relation to a transition year arrangement in special schools is currently being examined by my Department's inspectorate. A response will issue to the CRC proposal as soon as possible.
636. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Education and Science the measures, if any, he will put in place to improve accommodation of pupils with special needs in view of the fact that St. Paul's Hospital school, Beaumont and Central Remedial Clinic, Vernon Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3, are operating at capacity and there is a growing need to meet demands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8142/99]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): An application has been received from the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf for the provision of additional accommodation. An architectural report has been requested and when this is to hand, the matter can be considered further.
In regard to St. Paul's hospital school, Beaumont, my Department authorised the school management to appoint a design team to plan the provision of additional accommodation. Architectural planning is well under way. It is not possible at this stage to say when construction will commence.
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