Martin, Micheál

Wednesday, 1 December 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 512 No. 1

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Priority Questions. - School League Tables.

Was asked: the basis of his legal challenge to the decision of the Information Commissioner on the release of information regarding examination results.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, a full affidavit setting out the grounds for the appeal to the High Court against the Information Commissioner's decision on this matter has been lodged with the High Cour...More Button

I know the Deputy has changed his position on this issue. We achieved unanimity last year during the passage of the Education Act through the House on the importance of including in that Act a clause ...More Button

I had not concluded.More Button

It does not include the use of examination results for comparative purposes.More Button

I am not denying parents any such—More Button

With respect, the Deputy has published three different positions on this issue. His position is very confused.More Button

I have talked to parents about this. It is interesting to note this. Where is the demand coming from for the publication of crude league tables and statistics?More Button

Yes, they are. Where is the demand coming from? It is not coming from parents. I am not getting telephone calls every day or a huge amount of mail from parents asking for league tables. Parents, teach...More Button

The Deputy needs to explain why, 12 months ago, he voted for and spoke in favour of a clause which prevented the use of examination results as a basis for national comparative analysis.More Button

I did check the record and the Deputy supported this idea.More Button

The Deputy supported the clause.More Button

With respect, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I made the point, and was interrupted in mid stream, that Deputy Bruton supported the clause in the Education Act—More Button

I did not even finish my statement.More Button

No, I am not.More Button

Deputy Bruton's position is changing so rapidly—More Button

At the beginning of his question he asked whether we would use—More Button

I do not get a chance to speak at all. I did not make the statement the Deputy alleged I made.More Button

Priority Questions. - Primary School Principals.

Was asked: the status of the report of the working group on the role of the primary school principal; and when he intends to implement it.More Button

The report of the working group which I set up last year to examine the rights, roles, duties and responsibilities of principals in primary schools was recently presented to me. The report was wide ra...More Button

I will publish the report. I thought it was published in the sense that we recently launched it with all the partners. It would cost much more than £5 million to do what we need to do. I have begun th...More Button

No. The meetings began yesterday with a number of Departments.More Button

No, it was sent to me in November, but we would have been aware of the issues. We made a move prior to the report being presented to me in terms of secretaries and caretakers. This was a significant a...More Button

I am not in a position to say that every item in the report will be implemented by then, but we will have made significant progress on all the major issues in the report. I will keep the Deputy inform...More Button

Priority Questions. - Class Size.

Was asked: the target he has set for class size over the next five years at secondary level.More Button

The Deputy will know this is a complex issue and that simplistic approaches are not in the best interests of our schools and students. Analysis conducted by my Department indicates a very varied patte...More Button

We have different statistics and have conducted a detailed analysis of class sizes across the board. Deputies may be interested to know that at leaving certificate level, 9.5 per cent of classes have ...More Button

That is the point. Citing simplistic figures is not the correct approach. We need to be more sophisticated in how we allocate resources in the forthcoming year. We need to combine what we want to achi...More Button

I am not prepared to set targets in that form. That is not the correct approach. I am prepared to allocate resources in a way which would help to achieve our educational objectives. Our key objectives...More Button

We are not abolishing them completely. We set up a group under the chairmanship of Dr. Seamus McGuinness comprising six or seven individuals with considerable expertise on this matter. It will give i...More Button

Priority Questions. - Primary School Principals.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the closure of more than 100 national schools recently arising from industrial action taken by school principals as a result of the failure of his Department to provide ...More Button

Last year I established a working group, representative of the partners in education, to consider the role, duties, responsibilities and rights of principals in primary schools, and to make recommenda...More Button

I have already said the strikes were not justified, given that I had set up the working group in consultation with the partners. The report was not completed by the end of the summer—More Button

I understand the sense of anger among teaching principals and I have met them. However, we have made major inroads in the funding and resourcing of primary education in the past two years. I felt peo...More Button

I take on board what the Deputy has said. Up to now there has been a very low rate of assistance to schools who receive secretarial assistance and many schools receive no assistance. We made a commitm...More Button

I was referring to the caretaker issue and so on.More Button

Priority Questions. - School Transport.

Was asked: if he will ensure that escorts are appointed to all special education school buses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

For many years before my appointment as Minister for Education and Science, there were neglected demands for funding to be made available for the appointment of escorts on special school transport ser...More Button

Of course I am interested in implementing this service. For ten or 15 years, everyone involved thought it a great scandal that children with special needs were allowed on buses without escorts. I agre...More Button

I consulted with the national organisation, NAMBI, prior to issuing the cheques in terms of the modus operandi of the scheme. A total of 54 schools of the 119 involved have indicated that they are pro...More Button

Other Questions. - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to designate new schools at primary or secondary levels as disadvantaged.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to address educational disadvantage, with particular reference to large classes; the plans, if any, he has for a programme to ensure that children at primary and secondary le...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 30 together. My Department already devotes a considerable amount of resources to addressing the problem of educational disadvantage across the education system....More Button

There needs to be more than just clarity, there needs to be a fundamental change in direction in terms of how we tackle disadvantage. The old schemes do not work. The old scheme facilitates what the ...More Button

I have told them not to apply because it will not happen in accordance with the old scheme. We need a more fundamental and sophisticated approach to disadvantage and we will be bringing forward propos...More Button

Yes, I agree with that.More Button

First, we must stop calling places “blackspots” and stop labelling children as “dis advantaged”. We need to get away from that mentality and talk about supporting the needs of schools, irrespective of...More Button

A devolved grant is issued to schools. There is no excuse for it. The Deputy should recheck his figures. It is an indictment of someone or something, but not the Department or the Minister, if 37 per ...More Button

We are conscious that there are difficulties in terms of educational disadvantage in rural and urban areas. Part of the problem with the existing schemes is they are very rigid in terms of their appli...More Button

I did not realise that.More Button

I agree but it would be difficult to take away supports that are already in place in some schools. What we are talking about is creating additional resources. However, I agree with the Deputy's philos...More Button

We are looking at the labels used but have not come to any conclusions yet. Even though we provide additional support in terms of home-school liaison and so on and remedial teaching for children under...More Button

The fundamental infrastructure that must be put in place is the national education psychological service. I made a commitment to establish that service when I came into office and have done so. We are...More Button

Other Questions. - Relationships and Sexuality Education.

Was asked: the number of schools implementing the relationship and sexuality education programme; if he has satisfied himself at the rate of implementation of the programme; when all schools will be implementing...More Button

As I indicated previously in reply to a similar question in October, significant progress is being made by schools on the implementation of relationships and sexuality education. However, as I stated...More Button

The strategy put in place when the project was launched was to encourage, consult and develop a partnership model for the delivery of the programme. That remains the case because no other strategy wil...More Button

The principles of partnership and consultation were established by the Deputy's party when it was in Government.More Button

In my opinion those principles were good, valid and soundly based.More Button

The bottom line is that two approaches can be taken. One must win the support of a school community to properly implement this programme. When I entered office only a small degree of progress had been...More Button

Following last year's survey, it was decided to target resources at areas where difficulties were being experienced. However, people have stated that additional resources are required. The national re...More Button

I have already done so.More Button

Other Questions. - Certificate Examinations.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to initiate research into the fact that more boys than girls fail subjects at junior and leaving certificates examinations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Research commissioned by my Department in recent years through the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Educational Research Centre, St. Patrick's, Drumcondra, has shown that boys under-achi...More Button

Absolutely. Student councils are excellent and we are commencing implementation of the part of the Education Act which will place an obligation on schools to establish such councils.More Button

I will forward the relevant information to the Deputy.More Button

I am not going to make a commitment in that regard as yet. As the Deputy is aware, the co-educational system is undergoing growth and development. We target resources at the pupils who need them most,...More Button

Other Questions. - Youth and Sports Grants.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, his Department has had with the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation on the administration of the youth and sport grants scheme; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Was asked: if an undertaking was given in regard to youth and sports grants which up to 1997 were administered by his Department and paid through the vocational education committees, that the funding in this are...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: if he will ensure funding for youth projects administered by area partnership companies from 1 January 2000; the discussions, if any, he has had with the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation on...More Button

The area based partnerships are funded at present as part of the EU aided Operational Programme for Local Urban and Rural Development 1994-99 co-ordinated by the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recre...More Button

Written Answers. - Secretarial and Caretaking Services.

Was asked: his policy for the development of caretaker and secretarial services in schools.More Button

Existing funding arrangements for schools includes provision for the purpose of providing secretarial and caretaking services in schools. The way in which this provision is made reflects the different...More Button

Written Answers. - Leaving Certificate Applied.

Was asked: the efforts, if any, being made by his Department to promote the status of applied leaving certificate with employers.More Button

In May 1997 to coincide with the first examination in the leaving certificate applied, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment launched a promotional campaign in support of the new programm...More Button

Written Answers. - Information and Communications Technology.

Was asked: the steps, if any, he is taking to ensure that the information and communications technology in schools become central facilitators of community access and be a condition of the role set to schools.More Button

The issue of community access to ICT resources in schools is, in the first instance, a matter for individual school authorities. The considerable hardware and software resources made available to the ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: if his Department has resolved the problem of appointing escorts to special education school buses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the schools operating the escort scheme on school buses carrying children with special needs; the schools which have refused to operate the scheme; the measures, if any, he has taken to ensure that al...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 44 together. I am grateful to the Deputy for giving me an opportunity to comment on this matter. For many years before my appointment as Minister for Education ...More Button

Written Answers. - Anti-social Behaviour.

Was asked: his views on whether the education system has failed society due to the prevalent anti-social behaviour in public places by the younger generation; the plans, if any, he has to revamp the system in an...More Button

I do not consider that the anti-social behaviour of a small minority of our young people justifies the Deputy's assertion regarding the younger generation. Nor do I consider that such behaviour can be...More Button

Written Answers. - Weight of Schoolbags.

Was asked: the findings of his study into the issue concerning the weight of school bags; the recommendations and action, if any, he has taken or will take as a result; the resources, if any, he has committed to...More Button

I set up a working group in autumn 1997 to examine the potential problems caused by the weight of heavy school bags. The working group presented its report to me in July 1998. The group's report outli...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to expand the Mol an Óige project in County Tipperary on a nationwide basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Mol an Óige is a youthstart project funded by the youthstart strand of the European Union human resources initiative on employment. Approval and funding came from the Department of Enterprise Trade an...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Code of Behaviour.

Was asked: his views on the need for a clear unambiguous code of behaviour and discipline for post-primary school; the procedures for these to be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School managerial authorities are responsible for ensuring that a fair and efficient code of behaviour, encompassing rules and procedures, is drawn up and applied in schools. Circumstances vary from o...More Button

Written Answers. - School Councils.

Was asked: if he intends promoting the establishment of school councils at second level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the framework for the administration of our first and second-level schools is set out in the Education Act, 1998. Section 14 of that Act provides for the establishment of...More Button

Written Answers. - Multi-denominational Schools.

Was asked: the growth in the number of children in multi-denominational model schools in the past five years; his projection for growth in the next five years; and his views on whether the organisation Educate T...More Button

In 1993, there were ten multi-denominational schools with a total enrolment of 2,200 pupils. By 1999, these figures had risen to 23 schools, with a combined an enrolment of 3,578 pupils. My Department...More Button

Written Answers. - Drugs Prevention Programme.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made on the promised new drugs prevention pro gramme for all primary schools; the staff, finance and resources which will be allocated for the programme; and if he will make a st...More Button

The programme of substance misuse prevention education for primary schools was developed by my Department in consultation with the partners in education and other relevant interests. This programme is...More Button

Written Answers. - School Text Books.

Was asked: the steps, if any, being taken for a reduction in the cost of school books; the plans, if any, he has for additional assistance for parents who have difficulty in meeting the cost; and if he will make...More Button

Was asked: if he will introduce a school book rental scheme on a phased basis.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 105 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Certificate Examinations.

Was asked: the number of students who completed the junior certificate and leaving certificate in each of the year from 1994 to 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to make special assistance available to schools which have experienced a rise in enrolments of students from different cultures.More Button

At present all children and young people, of whatever nationality or status, who are in the country, are free to attend primary and second level schools and staffing is provided to schools on the basi...More Button

Written Answers. - Primary School Principals.

Was asked: the cost of the proposals made by the INTO to improve the position of teaching principals; and his views on whether any benefits would accrue in planning and managing the schools as a result of its pr...More Button

The Deputy may be aware that I established a working group to examine the rights, roles duties and responsibilities of principals in primary schools. The working group, has completed its report and it...More Button

Written Answers. - Expenditure on Education.

Was asked: his views on the wide disparity of funding between the various education sectors where the pre-school and primary sectors receive the lowest level per pupil and the third level sector receives the hig...More Button

The cost of providing education at the different levels varies because of the nature and duration of the programmes – for example preschool programmes typically involve a significantly shorter period ...More Button

Written Answers. - Student Accommodation.

Was asked: the discussions, if any, he has had with property owners in relation to the releasing of suitable property for student accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am conscious of the serious supply pressure which exists in relation to student accommodation and, while I have had no discussions with property owners in relation to releasing property for this pur...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if, in view of the severe difficulty in recruiting, he will remove the anomalies where teachers with high qualifications cannot be recognised for teaching at primary level.More Button

To be fully recognised to teach at primary level, teachers must have undertaken a recognised primary teaching training course and possess a recognised primary teaching qualification. Such a qualificat...More Button

Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for the extension of the school psychology service in view of the fact that only one primary school received a service and estimates that up to 90,000 pupils would benefit fr...More Button

Was asked: the progress to date in the expansion of the psychological service.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 58 together. All post-primary schools in the country have access to the National Educational Psychological Service Agency. Approximately 700 primary schools als...More Button

Written Answers. - Junior Certificate Examination.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to make science and technology compulsory subjects for the junior certificate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The junior cycle review committee of the NCCA, in its progress report entitled “Issues and Options for Development” has recommended that the required course for all recognised junior cycle students sh...More Button

Written Answers. - Student Statistics.

Was asked: the statistical information which exists documenting the participation of students from Protestant denominations in third level education institutions; and the plans, if any, he has to upgrade this in...More Button

Was asked: the participation of Northern Irish students from Protestant denominations in third level education institutions here; and the way in which these enrolments could be increased.More Button

Was asked: the number of students from Northern Ireland studying here by individual college and university over the past five years.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 56, 87 and 111 together. Neither my Department nor the Higher Education Authority compiles student statistical information by reference to religious denomination and t...More Button

Written Answers. - Graduate Numbers.

Was asked: the number of educational psychologists and speech therapists graduating from third level colleges; and if these numbers are sufficient to meet the need projected for these services.More Button

The present provision for speech therapists involves a four year programme in the school of clinical speech and language studies at Trinity College Dublin. Graduates of the course are professionally r...More Button

Written Answers. - Adult Education.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that adult pupils who do not speak English as a first language are adequately catered for.More Button

In the case of adults granted refugee status my Department bears the cost of language tuition in order to assist them to integrate into social and economic life. This tuition is normally provided on ...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: the steps, if any, he will take to implement a literacy initiative with routine literacy testing at three distinct stages in primary education which would be the basis for benchmarking and comparative...More Button

Since 1972 my Department has conducted a series of national reading surveys. The most recent of these surveys in 1993 and in 1998 focused on the reading achievements of pupils in fifth class. A nation...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: if he will review the school transport scheme in urban areas; the percentage of children in rural areas which qualify for this scheme; the comparative percentage for urban areas; the criteria order un...More Button

The position generally is that the school transport scheme provides a basic service for children, primarily those residing in rural areas, who might otherwise have difficulty in attending their neares...More Button

Written Answers. - School Evaluation.

Was asked: the progress, if any, he has for the development of whole school evaluation following completion of the pilot study.More Button

An advance copy of the report on the whole school evaluation pilot project was circulated to the education partners in September 1999. A total of 35 schools, primary and second-level, participated in ...More Button

Written Answers. - Computerisation Programme.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that only 17 per cent of schools have multi-user access to the internet; and if he will set a target of reaching 50 per cent by the end of 2000.More Button

In response to the success of Schools IT 2000 programme to date, a further £81 million is being made available over the next three years for a new and greatly expanded programme. This will include a s...More Button

Written Answers. - School Accommodation.

Was asked: the basis on which a school can trigger land acquisition by his Department for school development; and the budget available in 2000 for this purpose.More Button

Under the new funding arrangements for primary and post-primary schools which I announced in January of this year, the Department will purchase a site for a new school where a clear need has been ide...More Button

Written Answers. - Physical Education Facilities.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with the level of physical education provision in the primary and post-primary schools; the number of post-primary schools without the services of a full-time physical educ...More Button

At primary level, as part of the revised primary school curriculum, 1999, all teachers in national schools have recently been issued with a new programme in physical education. It is recommended that ...More Button

Written Answers. - Cross-Border Co-operation.

Was asked: the way in which his Department is promoting North-South cross-Border co-operation in third level education provision; and the future plans, if any, he has in this area.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that considerable co-operation and collaboration exists across all aspects of third level education. These include initiatives funded under EU programmes such as INTERREG and...More Button

Written Answers. - Educational Disadvantage.

Was asked: the initiatives, if any, he has introduced since coming to office which are specific to schools in areas of disadvantage; his views on the issue of targeting education spending in areas of greatest ne...More Button

Since my appointment as Minister for Education and Science I have taken a number of significant initiatives to address educational disadvantage at all levels in the system.More Button

Written Answers. - Child Abuse.

Was asked: if the terms of reference under which the commission on childhood abuse oper ates includes a provision which enables it to investigate the state of knowledge within local authorities, health boards an...More Button

Was asked: if he has received the second report of the commission on childhood abuse; if so, the legislation, if any, required by the report; if the commission's final terms of reference have been agreed; if he ...More Button

I propose taking Questions Nos. 68 and 86 together. In setting up the commission to inquire into child abuse the Government set out broad terms of reference which included the following: To establish ...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if he will respond positively to the recent call by the INTO for increased resources for information and communications technology to enhance the learning opportunities for children with special needs...More Button

I recently announced details of an additional round of allocations under the existing Schools IT 2000 programme. These grants amount to £9.77 million and are focused on a number of areas and, in parti...More Button

Written Answers. - Class Size.

Was asked: the target he has set for class size over the next five years at primary level.More Button

The Deputy may be aware that I have introduced a range of initiatives to help reduce the average class size in primary schools since taking up office. They include the introduction of a maximum genera...More Button

Written Answers. - Early Childhood Education.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in the publication of the White Paper on Early Childhood Education; the main areas covered; and the date for its publication.More Button

The White Paper will set out Government policy on early childhood education and will provide a blueprint for the development of the sector for the future. Initial work on the preparation of the White ...More Button

Written Answers. - Lóistíní Ollscoile.

Was asked: cén plean atá aige deis a thabhairt do scoláirí tríú leibhéal fanacht ar láthair na hinstitiúide oideachais nuair a bhíonn lóistín mar seo ar fáil ag 26 faoin gcéad de scoláirí an Aontais Eorpaigh ach...More Button

Tá soláthar cóiríochta ar-champas le haghaidh mic léinn triú leibhéal ar siúl an t-am go léir agus ar an gcéad dul síos is gnó go príomha é do na húdaráis um institiúidí oideachasúla. Mar sin féin, is...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: the position on the provision of safety harnesses on school buses; if he has satisfied himself on the implementation of the rules of safety to meet European Union standards on matters such as overcrow...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that an additional £3.4 million has been made available, with effect from September 1999, over two years, to extend the escort scheme to every special school transpo...More Button

Written Answers. - Student Support Schemes.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to enable post graduate students attending United Kingdom universities where the course is unavailable here to receive higher education grants; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

In 1996-97, the student support schemes were extended to provide maintenance grants to eligible students following certain full-time undergraduate courses of at least two years duration in another EU ...More Button

Written Answers. - Weight of Schoolbags.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that the problems associated with the excessive weight of school bags are not being resolved through a strategic management initiative across all those involved; and the te...More Button

Was asked: the additional resources, if any, he has provided to schools to implement the recommendations of the report of the working group on the weight of school bags; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 97 together. I set up a working group in autumn 1997 to examine the potential problems caused by the weight of heavy school bags. The terms of reference of the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in publishing the Youth Work (Amendment) Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question 87 of 14 October 1999 in which I indicated that the youth work Bill will be published in early 2000 and that there is no undue delay in the pub...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to reduce the cluster size for remedial teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I have introduced a major expansion of the remedial teaching service to first and second level schools. My priority was to ensure that all schools, who were without a rem...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: the estimated level of the rates of illiteracy from the ages of ten to 20 years and age 21 years up; the systematic effort, if any, being made by his Department to dramatically improve the situation; ...More Button

Traditional definitions of illiteracy, as an absolute, are generally not found useful by researchers. Most recently, researchers have adopted various measures of functional literacy to determine the n...More Button

Written Answers. - Community Relations in Schools.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to promote community relations and anti-sectarianism initiatives in third level educational provision.More Button

Considerable co-operation exists across all aspects of the education sectors north and south, ranging from primary to higher education and embracing libraries, youth, arts and sports. Specifically in...More Button

Written Answers. - Education (Welfare) Bill.

Was asked: the budget and staffing resources he set out in the financial memorandum which accompanied the presentation of the Education (Welfare) Bill, 1999.More Button

In requesting Government approval for the publication of the Education (Welfare) Bill, 1999, I did not set out in any detail the resources that would be required. In my view it would have been prematu...More Button

Written Answers. - Class Size.

Was asked: if he will consider the further reduction of class sizes along with provision of additional teachers in all primary schools serving the designated drugs task force areas.More Button

The Deputy may be aware that I have introduced a range of initiatives to help reduce the average class size in primary schools since taking up office. They include the introduction of a maximum averag...More Button

Written Answers. - Primary School Care Assistants.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to improve the remuneration for care assistants in primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Negotiations are currently taking place between officials of my Department and the unions representing these employees with a view to reaching an agreement under the Programme for Competitiveness and ...More Button

Written Answers. - Child Abuse.

Was asked: if, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 200 and 201 of 30 June 1999 in relation to cases of sexual abuse, he will make available the statement referred to in the reply in view of the permission gi...More Button

On 22 June 1999 I wrote to the person concerned enclosing a copy of the statement referred to by the Deputy and informed him of my intention to bring it to the attention of Senator Pat Gallagher who h...More Button

Written Answers. - Capitation Grants.

Was asked: the way in which the new rates of capitation compare to the actual costs of running a school at primary and secondary levels.More Button

Since 1997 the funding allocated to primary and secondary schools have been increased substantially in accordance with the Government's commitment to giving education a clear priority in the allocatio...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Was asked: the way in which his Department will harmonise student financial support arrangements and recognition of academic qualifications between here and the United Kingdom.More Button

Was asked: the impact of the United Kingdom Government's proposal to charge students from here tuition fees on enrolments in institutions of further and higher education throughout the United Kingdom.More Button

I propose to answer Nos. 85 and 118 together. Subsequent to the report of Sir Ron Dearing on the future of higher education, the UK authorities introduced a number of changes in the financial support ...More Button

Written Answers. - Early School Leavers.

Was asked: the number of students who left the education system on the completion of the junior certificate in each of the years from 1995 to 1999; the percentage of students these figures represent in each of t...More Button

An analysis of information from the post-primary schools database in respect of second level schools, and excluding external candidates from other centres, shows the following: More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the number of teacher vacancies which remain unfilled at primary and secondary levels.More Button

My Department advises all second level school authorities of their approved teacher allocations for a particular academic year. In the event of a finable vacancy arising in a school, it is a matter fo...More Button

Written Answers. - Juvenile Offenders.

Was asked: the number of places in each of the detention centres for children; the number of children being detained in each centre; his views on the level of provision; the plans, if any, he has to extend the p...More Button

My Department has responsibility for five residential facilities for juvenile offenders. Four of these centres cater for young male offenders and one caters for young female offenders. Details of the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to increase the funding for youth organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As stated in the abridged volume of Estimates for the year 2000, recently published, the financial estimate for the provision of youth services next year is £15,222 million. This provision represents ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Funding.

Was asked: if he has received the report of the steering group on common criteria and entitlements to the funding of schools; if so, the main findings of the report; if he will publish the report; and if he will...More Button

I understand that the steering group has finalised the report on funding of second level schools and that it will be presented to me shortly; at that stage I will publish the report and will forward a...More Button

Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: the funds which his Department allocated towards disadvantaged access in each of the years from 1990.More Button

A range of measures are ill place to further the promotion of equality of access to third level education. The need for a holistic approach to promote equality rather than policies focused only on the...More Button

Written Answers. - Computerisation Programme.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to provide dedicated computers for guidance counsellors in post-primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I recently announced details of an additional round of allocations under the existing Schools IT 2000 programme. These grants amount to £9.77 million and are focused on a number of areas and, in parti...More Button

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: his views on whether there should be a pension scheme for those who have long service as secretaries in schools which receive a block grant for their employment; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

My Department provides funding towards the cost of secretarial services in primary schools under two separate schemes. One scheme is the 1978 scheme for the employment of school secretaries under whic...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Education and Science report on school transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the discussions, if any, his Department has had with officials in the Department of the Environment and Local Government on introducing new road traffic legislation for school buses in view of the Joi...More Button

Was asked: the steps, if any, he will take to improve safety standards in school transport in view of the findings of the report of the Joint Committee on Education and Science; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96, 101 and 120 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Certificate Examinations.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for the earlier publication of the junior certificate results in view of the decisions which have to be made by teachers and students before the opening of the fifth academic...More Button

The result dates for the certificate examinations are a function of the timing of the actual examinations and the time required for marking the scripts and processing the results. While my Department ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent suggestion by the General Secretary of INTO that up to 500 more remedial teachers might be needed to improve the reading and writing skills of pupils; the...More Button

The primary focus in education will always be the prevention of literacy and numeracy difficulties and the helping children within the class. Primary teachers are trained in relation to a variety of r...More Button

Written Answers. - Science and Technology Education.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that sufficient facilities are available in the areas of technology and science to meet the ever increasing demands of industry, with particular reference to the need for s...More Button

I am acutely aware of the need to be innovative and proactive in the areas of science and technology in education and to ensure that the skills demands of industry continue to be addressed.More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the number of teaching days at primary level undertaken by untrained teachers for the six months of 1999; the comparative figure for the same period in 1998; the number of days worked by similar perso...More Button

The number of teaching days at primary level undertaken by untrained substitute teachers in the first six months of 1998 were 79,834. In the corresponding period in 1999 a total of 104,762 teaching da...More Button

Written Answers. - Project Funding.

Was asked: his views on the work of the after school project in the Dublin 1 area; and if he will mainstream the funding of the project.More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the project to which he refers is currently supported from a number of sources including FÁS, the EU EMPLOYMENT community initiative and the local drugs task force. This projec...More Button

Written Answers. - Pilot Programmes.

Was asked: if he will provide details of all pilot projects and programmes under the auspices of his Department; the length of each; the stage of each; the plans, if any, he has to mainstream these programmes; a...More Button

My Department has a number of pilot programmes in place at present to test models of response to the problem of educational disadvantage. In addition, pilot programmes in the areas of teacher support ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Management Structures.

Was asked: his policy to extend representation to parents and teachers on the boards of comprehensive schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provisions of section 14 of the Education Act, 1998, reflect my commitment to bring about representative school management structures. My approach to achieving this objective will continue to be b...More Button

Written Answers. - Student Numbers.

Was asked: further to previous parliamentary questions regarding student numbers and actual space and facilities within colleges of education, his views on whether the quality of the bachelor of education studen...More Button

I am aware that there has been an increased intake by the colleges in the teacher education sector as a result of the growing need in this area. The additional student numbers have been accommodated b...More Button

Written Answers. - Transition Year Programme.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to increase the number of second level students taking the transition year in view of the finding of the NCCA that students who take transition year get better results in the...More Button

The transition year programme was taken by 23,737 students in 502 second level schools during the school year, 1998-99. Estimated figures for the current year show that, while the number of schools of...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: his responsibilities in relation to providing supports for deaf or hearing impaired students attending third level education courses; the role, if any, he has in ensuring the availability and funding ...More Button

The Universities Act, 1997, requires each university to prepare a statement of its equality policy addressing, inter alia, access of people who have a disability. Furthermore, the Higher Education Aut...More Button

Written Answers. - Fóirne Scoile.

Was asked: cé mhéad múinteoirí bunscoile a bhí ar sos gairme le linn 1998-99, 1997-98 agus 1996-97; cé mhéad múinteoirí bunscoile a bhí ar iasacht óna bpostanna sa Roinn nó san Oireachtas, cuir i gcás, le linn n...More Button

Tá an t-eolas a lorg an Teachta tugtha sa tábla leis seo. More Button

Written Answers. - Degree Awards.

Was asked: his views on the fact that automatic masters of arts and other masters degrees are being granted at Trinity College on an automatic basis; and his views on standards arising from this recognition and ...More Button

The freedom of the universities to make awards was underpinned in the Universities Act, 1997, where section 13(2)(a) sets out that one of the functions of a university is to award degrees and other qu...More Button

Written Answers. - Early Childhood Education.

Was asked: his views on the role of pre-school education; the number of three and four year olds who are not in the primary school system; the number of pre-school places provided by his Department; and if he wi...More Button

I am convinced that pre-school education plays a vital role in the development and educational attainment of children. In my view, it has a number of significant benefits – for the children concerned,...More Button

Written Answers. - Outreach Centres.

Was asked: the physical, administrative and staffing structures of the regional technical college outreach centre model proposed for the pilot project to be located at Skibbereen, County Cork, as announced in Ap...More Button

The physical, administrative and staffing structures for the outreach centre in Skibbereen have not yet been defined. Cork Institute of Technology has submitted proposals for the planning phase of the...More Button

Written Answers. - Education Act.

Was asked: if he has implemented the grievance procedures in sections 28 and 29 of the Education Act, 1998.More Button

Since the enactment of the Education Act, 1998, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken to facilitate the commencement of the various sections. Many of these have already been commenced and ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Curricula.

Was asked: his policy on the compulsory study of Irish; and the plans, if any, he has to modify this.More Button

The programme for Government accepts that it is a basic right of every citizen to be afforded the opportunity of enriching his or her heritage through the education system and, in general, through lea...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether streaming contributes to educational progress; and the policy position, if any, he has in relation to this practice in schools.More Button

Mixed ability grouping is by far the most common system of organisation. One of the principles of the revised primary curriculum recently issued to schools is that provision must be made for individua...More Button

Written Answers. - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recently published UN human development report which suggested that almost 23% of Irish people were functionally illiterate; and the steps, if any, he will take ...More Button

The UN human development report draws its information from the OECD international adult literacy survey published in 1997. The aim of the survey was not to assess population in terms of literacy or il...More Button

Written Answers. - Waste Disposal.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to expand the pilot project on the collection of unwanted chemicals from second level schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The pilot project on the disposal of unwanted chemicals from second level schools was conducted in 19 schools in the Dublin area. The results of the project are being evaluated at present and I expect...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the steps, if any, he will take to ensure a better gender balance in primary school principalships, senior inspectors, divisional inspectors and primary district inspectors, in view of the recent repo...More Button

The appointment of a primary school principal is a matter for the managerial authority of the school. The constitution of boards and rules of procedure for boards of management which boards adhere to ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Placement.

Was asked: the reason for the chronic capacity problems in schools in Dublin 15; and if he will undertake a complete overhaul of the planning process within his Department in order that schools are planned in an...More Button

There are currently 20 primary and six post-primary schools operating in the Dublin 15 area. I am aware that there is pressure on accommodation in some of these schools. This is due mainly to the gene...More Button

Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: the plans, if any he has to extend the provision of disadvantaged status beyond the current 17 per cent of pupils, particularly in view of the anomalies which exist.More Button

My Department already devotes a very considerable amount of resources to addressing the problem of educational disadvantage across the education system. While the current disadvantaged areas scheme pr...More Button

Written Answers. - Science Subjects Development.

Was asked: the likely developments of science and related matters over the next five years; the funding and supports available to this section; the importance and contribution of research and development; and if...More Button

Was asked: the potential which Ireland offers as an international centre of excellence as a science based research and development centre; the level of support and funding available; and if he will make a statem...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 and 226 together. One of the most significant educational developments planned to take place over the next five years will be the implementation of a new science p...More Button

Written Answers. - School Security Procedures.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with security procedures and precautions in the school network, particularly in view of serious and grave attacks in schools overseas; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Was asked: when he will implement the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999; if this will be done immediately to enable Waterford Institute of Technology to certify its own certificate and diploma co...More Button

The Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999 was enacted during the summer. An interdepartmental implementation group, comprising those Departments concerned with the operation of the Act, ha...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: if he will grant approval to St. Declan's community college, Kilmacthomas, County Waterford, for stage four and five of its proposed permanent extension, an application for which was submitted to his ...More Button

The building unit of my Department advised County Waterford Vocational Education Committee to instruct its design team to proceed to a combined stage four-five submission, which is the final stage of ...More Button

Written Answers. - Múineadh Eolaíochta.

Was asked: an nglacann sé leis gur gá céimithe eolaíochta a mhealladh i dtreo na múinteoireachta; agus, chuige sin, an mbunóidh sé scoláireachtaí do chéimithe fisice agus ceimice that tréimhse cúig bliana mar th...More Button

Aontaím leis an Teachta go gcaithfear céimithe eolaíochta a mhealladh i dtreo na múinteoireachta. Agus an méid sin ráite, níl aon phlean agam faoi láthair scéim scoláireachtaí a bhunú do chéimithe na ...More Button

Written Answers. - Measúnú Praiticiúil.

Was asked: an dtabharfaidh sé isteach ar mhaithe le cur chun cinn na heolaíochta measúnú praiticiúil bunaithe sna scoileanna taobh istigh de thrí bliana mar atá molta ag Comhairle Eolaíochta, Teicneolaíochta agu...More Button

Tá leagan amach an mheasúnaithe sna scrúdaithe Stáit mar chúram ar an gComhairle Náisiúnta Curaclaim agus Measúnaithe agus is í an Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta a chuireann an leagan amach sin i bh...More Button

Written Answers. - Ionaid Eolaíochta.

Was asked: an gcuirfidh sé ar bun líonra de ionaid eolaíochta i gcomhpháirtíocht leis an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gaeltachta agus Oileán mar atá molta ag Comhalirle Eolaíochta, Teicneolaíochta agus Nuálaíocht...More Button

Níl aon phlean agam ag an bpoinnte seo tabhairt faoi bhunú líonra ionaid eolaíochta ar fud na tíre mar atá molta. Tharla go luaitear dhá aireacht sa mholadh seo, bheadh ar an mbeirt Aire dul i gcomhai...More Button

Written Answers. - Pharmacists Demand.

Was asked: if he will publish a report by a person (details supplied) which states that at least 50 extra pharmacy graduates are required each year to meet the needs of hospitals and other sectors.More Button

The report referred to by the Deputy is entitled, Assessing Supply in relation to Prospective Demand for Pharmacists in Ireland, and was undertaken on behalf of the Higher Education Authority by Peter...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the progress, if any, on an application for funding from a centre (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will support the project; if he will consider an application for an additional remedial t...More Button

The application to which the Deputy refers has only recently been received in my Department and is currently being examined. A decision will be made on the request for funding as soon as possible. Wit...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will provide funding for caretaking and secretarial services for all two teacher schools or allow a number of primary schools to form clusters of 100 pupils in order to benefit from the grant un...More Button

My Department provides funding towards the cost of secretarial and caretaking ser vices in primary schools under two separate schemes. One scheme is the 1978-79 scheme for the employment of school sec...More Button

Written Answers. - School Meals Scheme.

Was asked: the financial assistance, if any, given towards school meals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Responsibility for the school meals scheme rests with the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs and my Department does not therefore provide any financial assistance for schools in respec...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if he will allocate a second special classroom assistant to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 11; if he will examine the qualifications of an English trained teacher to establish if it is suitable...More Button

I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers. In October of this year my Department allocated a special needs assistant post to the school in question to cater for two pupils with special needs a...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 635 of 23 March 1999, the progress, if any, made in connection with approval for a transition year for the CRC special school, Vernon Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 9; ...More Button

Earlier this year my Department considered an application from the school in question for the introduction of a transition year programme for a number of its pupils. The school caters for pupils with...More Button

Written Answers. - Post-primary Discipline Codes.

Was asked: if he will review the guideline code of discipline and procedures for post-primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

School managerial authorities are responsible for ensuring that a fair and efficient code of behaviour, encompassing rules and procedures, is drawn up and applied in schools. Circumstances vary from o...More Button

Written Answers. - Second Level Schools Education.

Was asked: the obligations, if any, on post-primary school authorities to provide education and support for their enrolled pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In order to be recognised by my Department, second level schools are required to meet certain requirements in relation to the education of the pupils enrolled in their schools. The obligations of scho...More Button

Written Answers. - School Behaviour.

Was asked: if his Department's circular M33/91 Guidelines Towards Positive Policy for School Behaviour and Discipline has proved helpful; if he will review these guidelines; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

School managerial authorities are responsible for ensuring that a fair and efficient code of behaviour, encompassing rules and procedures, is drawn up and applied in schools. Circumstances vary from o...More Button

Written Answers. - Research Funding.

Was asked: the funds, if any, available to schools to initiate or further enhance information and communication technology development; the contact name, address and telephone number to obtain further informatio...More Button

Funds are available to schools to initiate or further enhance information and communication technology development as follows: Schools IT 2000. In May 1998 all schools in the free education system at ...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the extent to which the second level schools capital building programme in respect of County Kildare meets the requirements of the county, with particular reference to VEC schools; and if he will make...More Button

School managerial authorities apply to my Department for funding for capital works as needs present. The Deputy will be aware from the recently published spending Estimates for year 2000 that for the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Stay Safe Programme.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the serious concern felt by parents of children attending St. Etchen's national school, Kinnegad, County Westmeath, regarding traffic outside the school in view of t...More Button

Safety in and around schools is always a matter of concern to myself and my Department. As the question of the provision of speed controls and pedestrian lights is a matter for the local authority, I ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the procedures whereby teachers are allocated to a school in order to vin dicate the commitment that no class should have over 30 pupils; and if he will make extra teaching resources available to a sc...More Button

The Deputy is aware I have been concerned for some time about the number of large classes in the primary system, and have been examining ways to target additional teaching resources to those schools w...More Button

Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Was asked: if he will review the application for fees by a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.More Button

Under the terms of the free fees initiative, the Exchequer meets the tuition fees of eligible students who are attending approved third level courses. Students who already hold an undergraduate degre...More Button

Written Answers. - Students with Disabilities.

Was asked: the supports, if any, available to deaf and hearing impaired students pursuing plc courses in respect of interpreting services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Hearing impaired students attending courses in post-leaving certificate centres may apply for assistance from the special fund for students with disabilities, which operates under the aegis of my Depa...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the special fund for students with disabilities; the number of students with disabilities who received assistance from this fund in each of the past three years; the average amoun...More Button

The special fund for students with disabilities was introduced in 1994 and operates under the aegis of my Department to provide funding for students with disabilities attending courses in third level ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Placement.

Was asked: the extent to which the overall assessment of needs in respect of second level school places in Naas, County Kildare, has been completed; the proposals, if any, he has to meet current and projected re...More Button

As I informed the Deputy in reply to Parliamentary Questions No. 219 on 4 June 1998 and Nos. 898, 899 and 900 of 30 September 1998, my Department carried out an assessment of primary and post-primary ...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position on the provision of extra facilities at Scoil Ignáid Rís, Naas, County Kildare; the progress on this project in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department's post-primary building unit has agreed in principle to the provision of an extension of 2,397 square meters at Scoil Ignáid Rís, Naas, County Kildare.More Button

Was asked: the way in which he will respond to the need for extra facilities at Confey College, Leixlip, County Kildare, in the short and medium term; the progress on this project in the past 12 months; and if h...More Button

Architectural planning for the proposed extension to Confey College, Leixlip is proceeding. The matter of inviting tenders for the project will be addressed in the near future.More Button

Was asked: the progress made in the past 12 months in respect of proposals to meet the need for extra facilities at Scoil Dara, Kilcock, County Kildare; the development stages to be proceeded with in relation to...More Button

Architectural planning consists of six stages. The original stage 3 developed sketch scheme, submission in respect of the proposed extension to Scoil Dara, Kilcock, County Kildare did not meet Departm...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the adequacy of facilities at Coláiste Chiarán, Leixlip, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There is no record of an application to the building unit of my Department for extra accommodation or refurbishment of existing accommodation at Coláiste Chiarán. Should the school's managerial author...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the promised extra facilities at Scoil Mhuire, Clane, County Kildare; the degree to which this project has progressed in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement...More Button

The project at Scoil Mhuire, Clane went to construction in September 1999.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which special needs in respect of primary and second level schools in north Kildare have been met in the past 12 months; if he will improve or extend such services in line with requireme...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is only available in my Department on an overall county basis. There are nine full-time resource teachers catering for children with special needs in ordinary p...More Button

Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

Was asked: the degree to which school psychological services at primary and second levels have been advanced in north Kildare in the past 12 months; the degree to which the requirements of the various schools ha...More Button

All second level schools in north Kildare have access to the National Educational Psychological Service Agency. The management of the agency, which was formally established on 1 September 1999, is cur...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position and immediate proposals in respect of the provision of the extra facilities at St. Mary's College, Naas, County Kildare; the progress in relation to this project in the past 12 months; an...More Button

My Department's planning and building unit informed the school authorities on 18 October 1999 that there was no objection to the acceptance of a tender for the proposed extension to St. Mary's College...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the provision of the extra facilities required at St. Patrick's post-primary school, Naas, County Kildare; the progress in relation to this project in the past 12 months; a...More Button

My Department's planning and building unit issued a letter to County Kildare VEC on 19 November 1999 requesting the stage 1 site suitability, submission. A response is currently awaited. As soon as th...More Button

Written Answers. - School Security Precautions.

Was asked: the extent to which a school is responsible for the safety of pupils in view of the injuries from bullying in a case following an assault in a classroom by another pupil which required ten days in hos...More Button

I am not aware of the case referred to by the Deputy so it would not be appropriate for me to comment specifically on it. In general, however, schools have a moral and legal responsibility to make all...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: the position on the application from the Sacred Heart school, St. Canice's Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 11, for total refurbishment and resurfacing of the playground; if approval has been given; the cost o...More Button

An application has been received from the manager of Sacred Heart national school, St. Canice's Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 11 for grant aid towards various works at the school. A technical assessment was...More Button

Written Answers. - Computer Programmes.

Was asked: if sufficient funds are available to the Y2K second level schools capital building programme to meet the requirements set out by the school authorities in respect of VEC schools in County Kildare; and...More Button

My Department has recently received a request from County Kildare VEC for additional funding in relation to Y2K related demands. The request is currently being given full consideration and my Departme...More Button

Written Answers. - School Accommodation.

Was asked: the progress, if any, made with the application from Balreadden national school, Balbriggan, County Dublin, for the provision of two extra classrooms and a first aid room in view of the fact that the ...More Button

I believe that the Deputy is referring to Balscadden national school, Balbriggan, County Dublin. My Department's planning and building unit is currently assessing the future accommodation requirements...More Button


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