Tuesday, 27 March 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
340. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Science if, further to his reply to Question 1177 of 30 January 2001, he will review his position regarding this junior school (details supplied) in County Carlow, as it is an urban school in a disadvantaged area which feeds into another school that is already classed as disadvantaged. [8893/01]
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The Deputy will be aware that last January I launched a major new programme, Giving Children An Even Break, to deal with educational disadvantage in primary schools. The new programme will be run over a three-year per iod and will cost some £26 million. The programme involves the creation of over 200 new primary teaching posts and the allocation of cash grants to primary schools in respect of disadvantaged pupils.
The schools targeted under the programme were identified through a comprehensive and objective survey of all primary schools carried out in March-April 2000 by the Educational Research Centre, Drumcondra, on my Department's behalf. All primary schools were invited to complete the survey questionnaire and over 75% of primary schools participated and returned completed survey forms to the ERC.
The Educational Research Centre's records indicate that a questionnaire to apply for inclusion in the new programme was not received from the school referred to by the Deputy. In the absence of a completed survey form from the school, the ERC was unable to assess the level of concentration of pupils with characteristics that are associated with educational disadvantage in relation to the school.
Where schools expressed concern about the outcome of the survey in respect of their school, they were advised to make representations to my Department outlining their circumstances. Schools were informed that these representations would then be referred to the Educational Research Centre for consideration and the circumstances of these schools would then be further considered by my Department.
In accordance with the approach outlined, representations from the school in question have now been forwarded to the Educational Research Centre. In order to advance consideration of this school's situation, additional information is required by the ERC. To this end, a letter from the ERC and a questionnaire to be filled out by the school principal was forwarded to the school on 20 March. The school has been advised that the completed questionnaire should be returned to the ERC by 6 April. As soon as the ERC has received and assessed the questionnaire and reported to my Department, the school will be informed of the outcome.
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