Woods, Michael J.

Wednesday, 2 May 2001

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 535 No. 2

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Priority Questions. - State Examinations.

Was asked: his views on whether it is fair and reasonable, in the context of the leaving certificate examination, that a pupil's future academic progress or employment prospects are assessed solely on the basis ...More Button

The aim and purpose of the established leaving certificate is to prepare pupils for proceeding to further education or for immediate entry into open society. The examination is mainly a test of achiev...More Button

The difficulty in repeating certain subjects arises in the points system. One interacts with the other.More Button

It is not insurmountable but that is where the problems arise. The Deputy mentioned consultation. The NCCA, which represents the interests involved, did not bring forward proposals for such forms of a...More Button

I agree with the Deputy. It is an area that must be explored further.More Button

Priority Questions. - Education Policy.

Was asked: the specific strategy being followed by his Department to provide young people with life skills and moral education in view of Ireland's high rates of teenage alcohol and drug misuse, high levels of s...More Button

The introduction of social, personal and health education (SPHE), as part of the curriculum at primary and post-primary levels, represents the specific strategy being followed by my Department to prov...More Button

The walk tall programme, which is designed to combat substance abuse and enhance pupils' life skills, is under way in primary schools. It is expected that by June 2001, a total of 3,000 schools, or 94...More Button

It is a very important programme. The on my own two feet programme, which provides similar material at second level, has been subsumed into the SPHE programme. It is expected that by the end of 2003, ...More Button

I will.More Button

Priority Questions. - State Examinations.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that he can recruit sufficient supervisors and examiners for the junior and leaving certificate examinations in 2001.More Button

I assure the Deputy and all students and their parents that the 2001 certificate examinations will proceed as scheduled. I confirm that there are sufficient supervisors and examiners available to ensu...More Button

The Deputy says my reiteration of the fact that the examinations will take place sounds like a long-playing record. I said in the beginning that I had contingency plans and that I began to make them i...More Button

I saw the Deputy's press statement and heard what he said here. It was very unwise of him to put that out.More Button

I do not know whether it was the Deputy or the Fine Gael press office that did it but the effect was to create a scare so that I had to put out a statement telling students to ignore it.More Button

The vast majority of the 21,000 examination candidates concerned will be examined in the period to 4 May.More Button

A small number will be left over.More Button

It is only a small number. I will get the figures for the Deputy. We will not know the numbers until they are finished because it depends on the numbers in the schools. They will be looked after immed...More Button

This problem is similar to one which occurred last year. It had nothing to do with this dispute. Deputy Creed threw it in.More Button

That is a different question which I will answer in a moment.More Button

I was annoyed that the Deputy scared some of the pupils by saying things could not be done when they are being done just as they were done last year.More Button

A small number of students may not be examined this week – we will not know how many until the end of the week – but they will be examined subsequently. Arrangements have been made with the schools to...More Button

The main problem was that the Department suggested, and made arrangements earlier in that regard, that the number covered in home economics would be between ten and 12.More Button

The TUI advised its members not to do 12 at a time.More Button

Does the Deputy want to know the reason for the problem?More Button

That is typical rubbish.More Button

As far as the pupils are concerned, I do not want to see this happen to any pupils. Of the hundreds of thousands of examinations going on, the Deputy has picked a couple where there were a few problem...More Button

The Deputy is creating a scare. That is about the level of Fine Gael at this stage. The Deputy could have done a bit better.More Button

Priority Questions. - Institutes of Technology.

Was asked: if, in view of the economic benefits which would accrue to the north-west region from the establishment of a university in Sligo, the Government will, under section 9 of the Universities Act, 1997, ap...More Button

There are no plans at present to change the status of the Institute of Technology in Sligo. In July 1996, the Government approved in principle the recommendations in the report of the steering committ...More Button

I explained that this matter has been considered and that a study has been done. We have a report on that. I went on to say that the review group submitted a report on the institute of technology in S...More Button

The academic review is the kind of review that is necessary before one can do that. It has been reviewed, as have a number of other institutes, including the Dublin Institute of Technology. A consider...More Button

I have no difficulty if it can comply with the requirements. There was a steering committee to see if that applies at present. If it believes it has reached that stage after such a recent examination ...More Button

The first development is for it to be a degree awarding body in its own right. More Button

Priority Questions. - Physical Education Facilities.

Was asked: the extra provision he is making to provide physical education teachers and physical education halls for schools at second level which currently do not have these facilities or personnel in view of th...More Button

The teacher allocation to an individual second level school for a particular school year is determined by the enrolment in the school at the end of the preceding September. It is open to the authoriti...More Button

I do not know where the Deputy was when I was answering the question when I said that for the first time there is a standard approach and provision for all schools.More Button

I would not start talking about what the previous Government spent as it is only a small percentage of what we are spending. There is huge expenditure on capital school projects.More Button

There are approximately 107 applications for new stand alone PE halls.More Button

Some 34 of these applications are at the architectural planning stage. Therefore, a huge change is taking place and we are building many PE halls, which are being integrated into new schools. Therefor...More Button

Other Questions. - Schools Funding.

Was asked: the extent to which he has carried out a review of the funding of various second level schools and colleges throughout the country; if he accepts the need to provide a structure within which equal and...More Button

Was asked: if it is his intention to reach a common funding base for all second level schools in view of the findings and recommendations of the Blackstock report on the funding of the voluntary secondary school...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 104 together. I am aware of requests by voluntary secondary schools for increased funding. As the Deputies will be aware the funding arrangements for our school...More Button

I agree with the Deputy that there is a matter of equity, but this has arisen because of the traditional situation. It is another of the great gaps which must be closed. Currently, under the free educ...More Button

When the Deputy says the Blackstock report will inform policy, that means policy will be directed along the lines of the report. The report did not provide funding; that must be allocated budget by bu...More Button

I have said I want to close the gap but it will take time. Where the gap begins and ends is a matter for the schools. I made some progress last year but I will try to do more. Over the past three and ...More Button

I am aware of the work being done. I attended a Christian Brothers school where I had to engage in many activities and I am aware of the changes that have occurred. In those days the schools would not...More Button

Although the numbers involved may dwindle, the money allocated will be fixed at a certain amount. It will need to be phased in because those involved in community employment schemes will be under the ...More Button

Other Questions. - Commission on Teaching.

Was asked: his views on the establishment of a commission on teaching; the areas which he believes should be included; the timescale proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The recent Labour Court recommendation and subsequent clarification proposed that a forum be put in place to conduct an expert review of education. The Deputy and I discussed this in the House some ti...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate – I indicated this last February – that I could not pre-empt what was happening in the discussions to which I have referred. That is why I had to delay and allow them to pr...More Button

In deference to the Labour Court and the ASTI members' vote, I do not wish to say too much at present. I assure the Deputy that I am anxious to proceed with the commission.More Button

It is not contingent on that. More Button

Other Questions. - Educational Disadvantage.

Was asked: if he will put in place a system for regular evaluation and co-ordination of the various schemes at primary and second level aimed at tackling educational disadvantage.More Button

In January last, I announced the new programme, Giving Children an Even Break, to tackle educational disadvantage at primary level. This programme will cost over £26 million over a three year period. ...More Button

The question was about evaluation. Deputy Creed talked about the importance of evaluation and the Department is currently advertising for expressions of interest from established researchers and evalu...More Button

That is a benefit for a start. Schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils need to be considered in relation to that £10,000 as against £25,000. Every one of these costs millions of pounds ...More Button

Written Answers - School Transport.

Was asked: the plans he has for the implementation of the provisions of the report on school transport; if it is his intention to change or alter current catchment areas in response to population changes; and if...More Button

The report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science on school transport in Ireland deals with a broad range of transport issues and contains many recommendations for changes to the s...More Button

Written Answers - School Discipline.

Was asked: the number of children who have been expelled from primary and secondary schools in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Education Act, 1998 provides that each school board of management must publish the policy of the school concerning admission to and participation in the school, including the policy of the school ...More Button

Written Answers - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: the plans he has to designate further schools as disadvantaged; the current criteria for receiving disadvantage status; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the disadvantaged areas scheme, primary schools were selected on the basis of priority of need as reflected by reference to a range of socio-economic criteria. For example, unemployment levels, ...More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: the measures which are being taken by his Department to address the relative under-achievement of boys in State examinations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Irish experience in relation to examination performance of males and females mirrors the international experience. My Department has been engaged in a wide range of initiatives ranging from resear...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: the number of temporary teachers employed in second level schools; the reasons this figure is so high; and the steps which he will take to rectify this situation in view of the disincentive which it p...More Button

The majority of teaching posts at second level are filled on a permanent whole-time basis. Vacancies in schools arising from career breaks, approved leave of absence or secondments and concessionary p...More Button

Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if he has yet established the promised advisory committee on deaf education; and if he will provide details of the its composition including the level of representation from the deaf community.More Button

Arrangements for the establishment of an advisory committee on the education of hearing impaired children are nearing completion in my Department. I expect to make a further announcement on this matte...More Button

Written Answers - Early Childhood Education.

Was asked: the availability of the early start pre-school programme; and if he will amend the current entry requirements to enable children to attend in the school year immediately preceding junior infant enrolm...More Button

The early start pre-school pilot project is in place in 40 selected schools in designated areas of disadvantage. The project is aimed at children who are considered to be most at risk of not reaching ...More Button

Written Answers - Adult Education.

Was asked: if he will clarify the Government's commitments to lifelong learning; and if he will clarify entitlement therein as regards to persons with learning disabilities.More Button

The White Paper on Adult Education entitled Learning for Life sets out a range of recommendations to promote and expand access to adult education in the context of a continuum of educational opportuni...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will report on the proposed loss of a teacher at St. Helen's senior national school, Portmarnock, County Dublin; the justification for this given that the school is in a development; and if he w...More Button

The staffing of a primary school for a particular year is determined by reference to the number of pupils enrolled on 30 September of the previous year. The actual number of mainstream posts sanctione...More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the inadequate arrangements for the home economics practical examinations in 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I assure the Deputy that the majority of the 21,000 examination candidates concerned in this year's practical tests in the junior certificate home economics will be examined by the end of this week as...More Button

Written Answers - National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

Was asked: if, in respect of the establishment of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment as a statutory body, he has set a commencement date; if the precise membership of the council has been decided...More Button

Was asked: when he will sign the order to establish the NCCA as a statutory body; and his views on whether the NCCA has sufficient staff currently to carry out all their functions.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 63 and 114 together. I am pleased to inform the House that arrangements for the establishment of the NCCA on a statutory basis are almost complete. I intend to lay t...More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: if, in view of the ASTI dispute and the number of teaching days lost, he has considered whether those correcting this year's leaving certificate examination papers should be appraised of whether the i...More Button

While I am anxious to have the school programme completed for all students, the examination process cannot be used as a basis for compensation for loss of tuition time. The integrity of the examinatio...More Button

Written Answers - School Accommodation.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the quality and standard of classroom accommodation in all schools is in keeping with modern best practice and international standards; if he plans any improvements in this reg...More Button

A key objective of my Department is to provide school accommodation that is of the highest standard so as to ensure suitable and safe teaching and learning environments. To ensure that the Department'...More Button

Written Answers - Second Level Education.

Was asked: if he has quantified the financial savings which will accrue to his Department in view of the expected falling enrolment at second level schools; the way in which he proposes to prioritise spending at...More Button

While there is a falling enrolment at second level it is not possible to quantify the fin ancial savings involved because in recent years my Department has provided significant increases in existing f...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the severe difficulties of many school in areas of social and economic disadvantage in attracting and retaining teachers, especially at primary level; and the steps ...More Button

I am aware that a number of primary schools are experiencing some difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers. This has arisen because of two main factors. This Government has increased demand for t...More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: the plans he has in respect of the organisation and operation of State examinations; the proposals he has to establish a separate statutory agency for this purpose or to broaden the scope of an existi...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I invited Mr. Seán Cromien, former secretary of the Department of Finance, to conduct a review of my Department's operations, systems and staffing needs. I initiated this...More Button

Written Answers - All-Irish Schools.

Was asked: if he will provide assistance towards the setting up of more all-Irish secondary schools in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is my policy to support the provision of all-Irish school facilities at primary and second level in areas outside the Gaeltacht regions, where a demand for such provision is demonstrated and where ...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Internet Access.

Was asked: if he will investigate the need to route all schools Internet access through a single server computer.More Button

In 1998, under the information age schools initiative, in association with Schools IT 2000, Eircom offered access to the Internet to all schools through its Internet service provider Eircom.net. While...More Button

Written Answers - ASTI Dispute.

Was asked: if he will elaborate on the Government's letter, the text of which was published, to the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I presume the Deputy is referring to the Taoiseach's letter to ASTI on 22 March 2001 which confirmed that the Government was prepared to participate in any talks convened by the Labour Court to clarif...More Button

Written Answers - Educational Welfare Board.

Was asked: if he has established the educational welfare board; the composition of the board; and the terms of reference in this regard.More Button

The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, provides for the establishment of a national educational welfare board and a nationwide educational welfare service with a view to ensuring that each child attends a...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: the further progress which has been made on the need to provide funding to improve the infrastructure on the Christian Brothers secondary school in Midleton, County Cork; the further progress that has...More Button

My Department had agreed in principle to fund the provision of a PE hall of 608 m at this school to cater for a long-term enrolment of 500 pupils. In line with the current procedure, the school author...More Button

Written Answers - Educational Disadvantage Committee.

Was asked: when he will appoint the education disadvantage committee as provided for in legislation.More Button

Was asked: if he has established the long promised committee on educational disadvantage; the details of its composition; and the terms of reference in this regard.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 75 together. I launched the educational disadvantage committee on 12 February 2001. It will be chaired by Professor Áine Hyland, Vice-President and Professor of...More Button

Written Answers - Inservice Training.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the concern among parents with regard to the loss of school days due to teacher inservice training and parent-teacher meetings; if it is his intention to provide the...More Button

I am aware of the concern parents have in this area. A substantial amount of inservice training for teachers is provided outside of school time. It is not possible to provide in this way the core trai...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the Department gets value for money in relation to the cost of school buildings; if any comparable analysis on costs per square foot have been conducted; and if he will make a ...More Button

My Department monitors the cost limits for school building projects on an ongoing basis, taking into account factors such as current conditions in the construction industry, published cost indices for...More Button

Written Answers - Bereavement Counselling.

Was asked: if any research has been carried out into providing a self-help grief support programme for pupils who have suffered bereavement through the death of a parent, close relative or friend or loss through...More Button

Was asked: if he will introduce school based programmes for focusing on assisting schools in the aftermath of the suicide of a pupil or staff member.More Button

Was asked: if he will establish support systems to assist, advise and support senior school staff to deal with the postvention process of suicide of a staff member or pupil.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 78, 93 and 129 together. The National Educational Psychological Service is the executive agency of my Department with devolved responsibility for the provision of educ...More Button

Written Answers - School Services Staff.

Was asked: the proposals he has to resolve the issue of funding for caretakers, secretarial expenses and insurance cover for all primary schools.More Button

Primary schools' running costs have been traditionally met by my Department's scheme of capitation grants and the local contribution. These grants are intended to contribute towards the general operat...More Button

Written Answers - School Libraries.

Was asked: the number of primary and post-primary schools which have libraries; his views on the importance of well stocked libraries in achieving good literacy standards; and his proposals to improve the curren...More Button

I am conscious of the need to ensure that all schools have access to proper library facilities and resources. There is evidence from both international and national studies of reading literacy of an a...More Button

Written Answers - Child Protection Plan.

Was asked: when he intends to publish the national child protection policy action plan; the impact it will have on existing youth organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child protection guidelines for use in the voluntary youth work sector were drafted by the National Youth Work Advisory Committee at my request. The guidelines are currently with the legal section of ...More Button

Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the help available for students with dyslexia who attend classes outside school hours; and the current support within and outside the classroom in this regard.More Button

The educational needs of pupils with dyslexia of primary school age are generally capable of being met within the mainstream school system with the support, where necessary, of the remedial teacher se...More Button

Written Answers - Career Guidance and Counselling Services.

Was asked: his views on the role of the career guidance and counselling services in respect of their functions; and his intentions in relation to the future development of these services.More Button

The recent audit of all second level schools, conducted on behalf of my Department by the National Centre for Guidance in Education, shows that a significant number of schools are not fully utilising ...More Button

Written Answers - School Security.

Was asked: the action he will take to respond to the teachers of Jobstown Community College in connection with a number of serious instances which have occurred at the school in recent months in connection with ...More Button

Responsibility for ensuring the safety and welfare of all personnel present in schools is a matter for individual school authorities and in this particular case County Dublin VEC. In practical terms i...More Button

Written Answers - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: the plans he has to increase the third level maintenance grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The statutory framework for the maintenance grants scheme, as set out in the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Acts, 1968 to 1992, provides for means tested higher education grants to assist...More Button

Written Answers - Points System.

Was asked: if his Department has concluded its evaluation of the report by the Commission to assess the leaving certificate points system; if he will bring forward legislative or other proposals in this regard; ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the report of the Commission on the Points System recommends that the points system be retained on the basis that it is well established, is broadly fair and transparent a...More Button

Written Answers - Educational Programmes.

Was asked: if he will provide details of the number of schools providing the On My Own Two Feet programme; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this programme is no longer in print; and the steps he ...More Button

The On My Own Two Feet programme was introduced into approximately 570 second level schools up to last year and 1,700 post-primary teachers undertook 50 hours of training in relation to that programme...More Button

Written Answers - School Insurance.

Was asked: if he will introduce a scheme of insurance for voluntary secondary schools whereby the State will indemnify the property under its current ownership structure in view of the high cost of school insura...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the funding arrangements for our schools, including insurance, have evolved in a manner that reflects the sectoral division of our second level system. In the case of volu...More Button

Written Answers - School Inspection Service.

Was asked: his views on the adequacy of the current inspection service at primary and post-primary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In addition to its senior management group, the inspectorate of my Department comprises 70 serving primary school inspectors and 66 serving post-primary inspectors, a total of 136 serving inspectors. ...More Button

Written Answers - School Enrolments.

Was asked: the enrolment trends in national schools for the next decade; the staffing implication in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The projected enrolments in primary schools for the current school year and the next ten years are as follows: More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: the number of students, as a percentage of all students, who have opted for the leaving certificate applied each year since its inception; his views on these trends; if the indications are that retent...More Button

The leaving certificate applied was first introduced to schools for the school year 1995-96. The following table shows the number of students taking the leaving certificate applied in schools in year ...More Button

Written Answers - Career Guidance Service.

Was asked: the reason all post-primary schools do not have access to career guidance instruction.More Button

My Department makes a specific ex quota allocation of teaching posts in respect of guidance in second level schools. The allocation ranges from 0.36 of a post or eight hours per week in schools in the...More Button

Written Answers - Physical Education.

Was asked: if he will increase the intake of physical education students at the University of Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The intake to the degree programme in physical education in the University of Limerick was 44 in the current academic year. A similar intake for the next academic year is envisaged.More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: the schools in County Galway at primary level which do not have the service of a remedial teacher and a resource teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In September 1999 the remedial teaching service was extended to all primary schools with a pupil-teacher ratio of 10:1 or above. Schools with lower pupil-teacher ratios were advised that they could se...More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to preserve subject choice in small secondary schools with declining enrolments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The teacher allocation for an individual secondary school for a particular school year is determined by the enrolment in the school at the end of the preceding September. Where the allocation warrante...More Button

Written Answers - School Discipline.

Was asked: the strategy in place to deal with the growing problem of indiscipline in schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that there is uniformity in the way schools approach the issue of discipline generally; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 119 together. Each board of management is responsible for formulating, in consultation with parents, a fair and efficient code of behaviour. This code should en...More Button

Written Answers - Teachers' Pay.

Was asked: the circumstances of paid leave for teachers; if he has considered granting an entitlement to teachers to a paid sabbatical after a set number of years teaching; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Paid leave for teachers is a conditions of service issue which would normally be raised at the Teachers' Conciliation Council. Subject to certain conditions teachers are paid while on approved leave, ...More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: his views on whether the junior certificate examination is adequate relative to the junior certificate curriculum.More Button

My Department's document entitled The Junior Certificate – Issues for Discussion sets out the limitations of the present junior certificate examination. In particular, the strong focus on a model of t...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the predicament faced by long-term temporary and substitute teachers in primary schools; if he will consider introducing a formal education conversion course for thi...More Button

At present there are no proposals to provide conversion courses designed for long-term temporary and substitute teachers in primary schools who are untrained and do not possess a basic degree. As a re...More Button

Written Answers - ASTI Dispute.

Was asked: the contacts he has had with the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland.More Button

I have maintained contact with the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland at all times throughout the current dispute. In addition, officials from my Department have been involved in discussions...More Button

Written Answers - Speech Therapy Service.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the problem at St. Joseph's special school, Parnell Street, Waterford due to the lack of speech and language therapy and that the South-Eastern Health Board, whose r...More Button

The provision of speech and language therapy for pupils attending the school referred to by the Deputy is a matter for the South-Eastern Health Board. My Department is aware of the general difficulty ...More Button

Written Answers - Cromien Report.

Was asked: the progress to date on the implementation of the Cromien report; and the timescale proposed for its completion.More Button

Immediately on receiving Mr. Cromien's report on my Department's operations, systems and staffing needs, I established a high level departmental task force to prepare a blueprint for implementation of...More Button

Written Answers - Youth Encounter Project.

Was asked: the impact of the youth encounter project in schools in view of the increasing disciplinary problems in schools; and if he will make the project more widely available.More Button

Currently there are five projects under the aegis of my Department that are covered by the term youth encounter project. Each has a board of management that is responsible for the implementation of po...More Button

Written Answers - School Transport.

Was asked: the number of school buses which Bus Éireann provides to his Department for the primary and post-primary school transport service; the number of such buses in the age categories zero to five years inc...More Button

The number of pupils holding Bus Éireann permits for transport under the school transport scheme is in the region of 145,000. This figure fluctuates over the course of the year. These children are tra...More Button

Written Answers - Inservice Training.

Was asked: the number of hours of inservice training provided by the Department and taken up by teachers at both primary and second level for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001; and the distribution across subject ar...More Button

The number of participant hours for the primary and second level areas for the years 1999 and 2000 are given in the following table. There is an element of estimation in the figures for 2000 as the da...More Button

Written Answers - National Maritime College.

Was asked: when he expects the national seafarers college to be established and operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following a Government decision in May 2000 approval was given for the establishment of a national maritime college in Ringaskiddy, County Cork using the public private partnership model.More Button

Written Answers - Early School Leavers.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the findings of a recent survey which found that early school leavers were not benefiting as much as others from the economic boom and that, in particular, many empl...More Button

The recent ESRI report entitled Issues in the Employment of Early School Leavers shows that in the past two years only 20.7% of firms surveyed employed early school leavers who had not attained their ...More Button

Written Answers - Teacher Vacancies.

Was asked: if he will provide information on the level of teacher shortages at second level; the particular subjects which are most affected; the number of vacancies which currently exist; and the steps which he...More Button

The analysis of supply of and demand for second level teachers is complex. Previous analyses indicate that regional and subject variations combine to distort the national picture. Schools in certain l...More Button

Written Answers - Weight of School Bags.

Was asked: the progress made to alleviate the problems associated with the weight of children's school bags; if a code of practice could be introduced on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter...More Button

A working group was set up in autumn 1997 to examine the potential problems caused by the weight of heavy school bags. The terms of reference of the group were to consider the issue of heavy school ba...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: the number of teachers at second level nationally and in County Galway from September 2000 for which pay provisions have been made in budget 2001; and the way in which this compares with the numbers o...More Button

Provision was made in the budget 2001 for some 24,550 wholetime teacher equivalents in ordinary second level schools in the 2000-01 school year. This compares with a figure of some 23,650 wholetime te...More Button

Written Answers - Psychological Service.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the growing issue of behavioural problems among school children due to social problems within their families and homes; his views on whether the NEPS is not geared t...More Button

The National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, is one of a variety of supports provided my Department in order to meet the needs of students who are having difficulties in school. Many of the N...More Button

Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the progress made in implementing the Stack reports regarding the establishment of a special education agency; the staffing complement required by the agency; if it will be established by statute or b...More Button

The planning group set up to review special education provision made a range of recommendations to ensure the most effective provision of a high quality co-ordinated service for students with disabili...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: his views on the role of public private partnerships in the provision of school buildings; the details on the specific projects which he has commissioned on this basis; and the advantages of this appr...More Button

I am pleased that my Department is participating in the Government's programme on public private partnerships – PPP – and specifically in the pilot programme of infrastructure projects. I believe that...More Button

Written Answers - Compensation Schemes.

Was asked: when the Bill to provide for a compensation scheme for victims of abuse, while in the care of institutions for which the State had regulatory or supervisory functions, will be circulated; the estimate...More Button

My officials are currently working with officials of the Attorney General's office on the drafting of a Bill which will establish the compensation scheme. It is my intention that this Bill should be p...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: the number of teachers at primary level nationally and in County Galway from September 2000 for which pay provision has been made in budget 2001; and the way in which this compares with the numbers of...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is outlined in the following table.More Button

Written Answers - Teachers' Remuneration.

Was asked: the reason EPT teachers are not entitled to start on the third increment of the teacher salary scale in view of the fact that they have the same teaching qualifications.More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that, following agreement at the Teachers' Conciliation Council, all qualified eligible part-time teachers, EPTs, will receive “length of training” increments with ef...More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: if he will consider allowing principals in primary and secondary schools, who have been in their posts for the past 12 years or more, to relinquish their posts, without loss of allowance or pension en...More Button

A claim has been lodged recently by the teacher unions with the Teachers' Conciliation Council in relation to these issues. As claims before the council are a matter solely for the council, it would b...More Button

Written Answers - Educational Programmes.

Was asked: the plans he has in respect of social, personal and health education of students; the further plans he has to provide additional resources and teacher allocation and training to deliver this programme...More Button

My Department has approved a syllabus for social, personal and health education at junior cycle in second level schools; the syllabus was prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment...More Button

Written Answers - Training Courses.

Was asked: the strategy in place to meet the shortfall in course places for speech therapy, occupational therapy and social work; the procedure in place in sanctioning extra places on such training courses; the ...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, the Department of Health and Children commissioned Dr. Peter Bacon and associates to undertake a workforce planning study on therapists, including occupational and speech a...More Button

Written Answers - Computerisation Programme.

Was asked: when schools will be notified of their financial allocation for the current academic year for IT 2000 projects.More Button

My Department has expended more than £40 million on the integration of information and communication technology, ICT, into education at both first and second levels under the Schools IT 2000 programme...More Button

Written Answers - Teachers' Remuneration.

Was asked: if he will clarify the situation regarding teachers' pay and the appropriate increment for teachers who have been working for many years as either TWT or EPT and who finally secure a full-time teachin...More Button

Teachers employed in a fully qualified temporary wholetime, TWT, or eligible part-time, EPT, capacity advance on the common basic scale for teachers each year. When a teacher is appointed to a permane...More Button

Written Answers - Boards of Management.

Was asked: the progress to date in the establishment of fully representative boards of management in all schools; the outstanding difficulties which exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following a detailed process of facilitation, arrangements for the composition of boards of management were revised in the case of primary schools some years ago. The revised arrangements were subseq...More Button

Written Answers - Educational Disadvantage.

Was asked: the relationship between the NCCA and the committee to be chaired by a person (details supplied).More Button

The committee to which the Deputy refers is the Educational Disadvantage Committee to be established under section 32 of the Education Act, 1998. In accordance with the Act, I am currently engaged in ...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the procedures currently followed for the planning of new schools in developing areas; the agencies involved; the role of local authorities in providing sites; the consideration involved; and the basi...More Button

The process of assessing the need for new educational facilities at primary or post-primary level in any given area involves consideration of all relevant factors, including enrolment and demographic ...More Button

Written Answers - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: if he proposes carrying out a review of the method under which schools were classified as disadvantaged in 1996; and if schools which did not qualify for disadvantaged status in 1996 can be re-examine...More Button

Under the disadvantaged areas scheme, primary schools were selected on the basis of priority of need as reflected by reference to a range of socio-economic criteria, for example, unemployment levels, ...More Button

Written Answers - Post-Primary Cycle.

Was asked: if his Department has considered allowing individual schools discretion as to the way in which it can organise the structure of the six year post-primary cycle, especially regarding the location of th...More Button

At present, all students in second level schools take a three-year junior cycle programme. Students may then take a one-year transition year programme, followed by a two-year leaving certificate progr...More Button

Written Answers - National Parents Council.

Was asked: the structures and electoral procedures of the National Parents Council, post-primary; and the funding which is provided by his Department.More Button

I am informed that the National Parents Council – post-primary – is comprised of five constituent bodies. Each of these bodies devises its own rules and regulations, including the arrangements for the...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that schools have the necessary financial and human resources to comply with all of their legal and administrative obligations, especially the additional duties under the Education ...More Button

Funding of schools at both primary and second level is structured on the basis of capitation grants with additional grants towards services such as caretaking and secretarial.More Button

Written Answers - Special Task Force on Dyslexia.

Was asked: when it is expected that the report from the Special Task Force on Dyslexia will be published; and his views on whether he will be able to provide the finance necessary to implement the findings of th...More Button

I understand that the task force has now completed its detailed deliberations and is currently finalising drafting its report. The task force expects to be in a position to present its report before t...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Recognition.

Was asked: the progress which has been made regarding the proposed new community school at Lismore, County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The stage 4-5, detail design-bill of quantities, submission in respect of the proposed new community school at Lismore, County Waterford is currently being considered by the Department's staff. As soo...More Button

Written Answers - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Was asked: if he plans improvements to the pupil teacher ratio at primary and second level; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In accordance with the provisions of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, PPF, an additional 200 posts will be created at second level in the 2001-2002 school year. This increase in posts, combi...More Button

Written Answers - School Accommodation.

Was asked: the issues raised with him in November 2000 by St. Paul's special school, Beaumont, Dublin 9; the progress made on each issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The school raised a range of issues relating to its accommodation needs, its staffing requirements, the introduction of a pre-school service and its need for increased funding to address its transport...More Button

Written Answers - Role of Schools.

Was asked: the progress made regarding the obligations of schools for their enrolled pupils; the benefits of sections 9 and 15 of the Education Act, 1998, in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

The Education Act, 1998, has established a statutory basis for the operation and continuing development of education at primary and post-primary level. The Act clarifies the respective roles of school...More Button

Written Answers - State Examinations.

Was asked: the arrangements that are proposed to accommodate the junior and leaving certificate examinations; the dates of such examinations; if he has satisfied himself that all the required supports will be in...More Button

The written tests in this year's certificate examinations are scheduled for the period from 6 June 2001 to 22 June 2001 inclusive.More Button

Written Answers - Schools Recognition.

Was asked: his proposals for a post-primary school in the Donabate peninsula, County Dublin.More Button

Was asked: the plans his Department has made to provide a post-primary school for the peninsula in Donabate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221 and 223 together. My Department has no plans at present to provide a post-primary school in Donabate. Pupils from this area currently attend post-primary schools i...More Button

Written Answers - Child Abuse Victims.

Was asked: the progress made on his proposals to introduce legislation to compensate victims of child abuse; the meetings he has had with victim groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

On 3 October last year, the Government announced a decision in principle to establish a mechanism to provide financial redress to persons who have suffered abuse in residential institutions for which ...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will review his Department's position regarding not allocating an additional teacher to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in view of the need to cater for the very high number of Travelle...More Button

I launched the new programme, Giving Children An Even Break, in January to deal with educational disadvantage in primary schools. Schools participating in the new programme are eligible to receive a r...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the public relations agents which advised him on the handling of his dispute with the ASTI; and the cost up to 25 April 2001.More Button

My Department commissioned the public relations firm of Dennehy Associates to provide advice on a range of issues including advice on the organisation, role and function of the press and information ...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will maintain the staffing level in a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.More Button

The staffing of a primary school is determined by reference to the enrolment of the school on 30 September of the previous school year. The actual number of mainstream posts sanctioned is determined b...More Button

Written Answers - Psychological Service.

Was asked: the level of access to educational psychologists for children in County Donegal; the plans he has to expand the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Until the end of the year 2000, an educational psychologist employed by my Department in the National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, provided a psychological service to all post-primary scho...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: when the roof of St. Ibar's school, Castlebride, County Wexford, will be fixed; and when the extension to the school will be started.More Button

In view of the large number of school building projects being dealt with by my Department at present, it is not possible at this point to provide a timeframe as to when the proposed building project a...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: if he will provide extra classrooms at St. Claire's primary school, Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has received an application from the management authorities of St. Claire's national school for grant-aid towards additional classroom space. It is not possible at this point to give any...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: when financial resources will be made available to St. Cuan's College, Castleblakeney, Ballinasloe, County Galway, to carry out a refurbishment of the building; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

St. Cuan's College, Castleblakeney, applied to my Department for capital grant aid in respect of laboratory facilities and general refurbishment. The two post-primary schools in Mountbellew, which is ...More Button

Written Answers - Psychological Service.

Was asked: the help which is available to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.More Button

My Department has recently received correspondence regarding supports for the person named by the Deputy. The matter has been referred to the psychological service for consideration. As soon as their ...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position regarding an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Sligo; when building will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has received an application from the management authorities of the school referred to by the Deputy for grant-aid towards additional accommodation. It is not possible at this point to gi...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Sligo; when building will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Architectural planning for an extension to the school referred to by the Deputy is under way at present. It is not possible at this point to give any indication as to the timetable for the provision o...More Button

Was asked: the reason the necessary upgrading and expansion works at a national school (details supplied) have not been carried out to date; if he will take steps to ensure that these works are carried out witho...More Button

Architectural planning for the provision of an extension to the school referred to by the Deputy is progressing. However, it is not possible at this point to give any indication as to the timetable fo...More Button

Was asked: if he has received a request from the board of management of a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath for additional accommodation which is required at this expanding school; if so, when this a...More Button

My Department has received an application from the management authorities of the school referred to by the Deputy for grant-aid towards additional accommodation. It is not possible at this point to gi...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to the construction of a new school at Coralstown, Mullingar, County Westmeath; if all necessary planning steps have now been finalised; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

I take it that the Deputy is referring to Coralstown national school, Mullingar, County Westmeath. Architectural planning for the provision of a new three-classroom school at Coralstown, County Westme...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to an application for additional accommodation by a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Architectural planning for the provision of an extension to the school referred to by the Deputy is progressing. However, it is not possible at this point to give any indication as to the timetable fo...More Button

Was asked: the progress to date in providing additional accommodation for a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Architectural planning for the provision of an extension to the school referred to by the Deputy is progressing. However, it is not possible at this point to give any indication as to the timetable fo...More Button

Was asked: the position in relation to an application for additional accommodation for a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has received an application from the management authorities of the school referred to by the Deputy for grant-aid towards additional accommodation. It is not possible at this point to gi...More Button

Was asked: the current status of an application by a primary school (details supplied) in County Westmeath for new accommodation requirements; when approval will be given; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Architectural planning for the provision of a new two-classroom school for the school referred to by the Deputy is progressing. However, it is not possible at this point to give any indication as to t...More Button

Was asked: the current status of an application by a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath for additional accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Stage 3, developed sketch scheme, of my Department's design team procedures was approved by the building unit of my Department for the proposed extra science laboratories and other facilities at the s...More Button

Was asked: if he will give an update on refurbishment and extension plans for the Holy Spirit national school, Ballymun, Dublin 9; if he will outline the position with each project and say where the stage refurb...More Button

Architectural planning for an extension and refurbishment works to the central block at Holy Spirit national schools, Ballymun, Dublin 11, is well under way. However, the rate of progress to construct...More Button

Was asked: when the proposed improvement works and extension to Burnfort national school, Mallow, County Cork, will be undertaken.More Button

My Department has received an application for improved accommodation in respect of Burnfort national school, Mallow, County Cork. It is not possible at this point to give any indication as to when arc...More Button

Written Answers - Literacy Levels.

Was asked: the number of people who are illiterate; and if he will outline the most recent findings in this area.More Button

The report of the OECD International Adult Literacy Survey Results for Ireland, published in 1997, showed that 25% of the adult population, representing some 500,000 people, scored at the bottom liter...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: the position regarding an application by a school (details supplied) in County Kildare for improved facilities such as the provision of a utility room; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department's building unit has no record of having received an application for grant-aid towards the provision of improved facilities at the school referred to by the Deputy. I have asked officials...More Button

Written Answers - School Accommodation.

Was asked: his proposals to meet second level school place requirements in Kill, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no plans at present to provide a post-primary school in Kill. For the purpose of post-primary education, Kill forms part of the Naas catchment area. Following an evaluation of post-primary s...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position regarding the provision of facilities required at St. Patrick's post- primary school, Naas, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The extension and refurbishment of St. Patrick's post-primary school, Naas had been agreed in principle with the school's management authority, County Kildare VEC. Subsequently, officials of my Depart...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the provision of permanent facilities for Scoil Ui Riada, Kilcock, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Gaelscoil Uí Riada is currently accommodated in the former Christian Brothers monastery in Kilcock and it will remain in this location until a new building on an alternative site has been provided. Wh...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has in regard to the provision of extra facilities at Rathmore national school, Naas, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Architectural planning is progressing for the provision of a new eight-classroom primary school at Rathmore, Naas, County Kildare. However, it is not possible to give any indication as to the timetabl...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: the current position regarding the provision of the extra facilities required at Maynooth post primary school, Maynooth, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The stage two – outline sketch scheme – submission in respect of the proposed extra facilities at Maynooth post primary school, Maynooth, County Kildare was recently received in the building unit of m...More Button

Written Answers - School Safety Measures.

Was asked: the current position in regard to improvement of safety measures at St. Wolstan's girls school, Celbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A draft copy of the traffic management report for St. Wolstan's secondary school, Celbridge, County Kildare, was received within my Department on 12 February 2001. This report has been examined by my ...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the current position in regard to provision of permanent facilities at Scoil Uí Fhiach, Maynooth, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to Scoil Uí Fhiaich, Maynooth, County Kildare. The project to provide temporary accommodation for Scoil Uí Fhiaich, Maynooth is currently at an advanced stage. The...More Button

Written Answers - Schools Funding.

Was asked: the current position in regard to the funding of second level schools; if he has received a request for equalisation of financial supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he proposes an equalisation of the structures in regard to the various types of second level schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 and 254 together.More Button

Written Answers - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the current position with regard to the provision of extra facilities at Scoil Dara, Kilcock, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The stage four to five – detail design and bill of quantities – submission is currently being examined within the building unit of my Department. On completion of this examination and providing that t...More Button

Written Answers - Psychological Service.

Was asked: if he proposes to further augment the child psychological services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The planning group, established to prepare proposals for a national educational psychological service, recommended in its September 1998 report that the Minister for Education and Science should estab...More Button

Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if he intends to improve facilities for children with special needs in mainstream education; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government has presided over an unprecedented level of improvement in education services for children with special needs, particularly children attending mainstream education. Arising from a Gover...More Button

Written Answers - National Schools Curriculum.

Was asked: if he sees a need for changes in the curriculum in national schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following the publication of the report of the review body on the primary curriculum in 1990, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment undertook a complete revision of the curriculum for nat...More Button

Written Answers - ASTI Dispute.

Was asked: if he proposes to open dialogue with teachers to prevent a recurrence of the recent dispute with ASTI; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are regular meetings of the Teachers Conciliation Council, which is the agreed forum for discussing pay and conditions of teachers. The council is comprised of representatives of the three teach...More Button

Written Answers - School Accommodation.

Was asked: his preferred options in regard to the maximum number of students to be provided for in any single second level school; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Maximum school size at second level is an issue which must have regard to local circumstances. My primary responsibility is to endeavour to ensure that pupils receive a high quality education in as co...More Button

Written Answers - School Closures.

Was asked: if he will allow a primary school (details supplied) in County Sligo to remain open for another year, as the number of students attending the school will increase in the next 12 months.More Button

In March 2001, following an assessment by my Department of enrolment trends at the school referred to by the Deputy, the board of management of the school was informed of the decision to withdraw gran...More Button

Was asked: if he will give a commitment to the parents, pupils and teachers of Derrylehane national school, Grange, County Sligo, that it will not close as it is located in an area, that is experiencing addition...More Button

In March 2001, following an assessment by my Department of enrolment trends at Derrylehane national school, the board of management of the school was informed of the decision to withdraw grant-aid wit...More Button

Written Answers - School Staffing.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the concern among parents in a school (details supplied) in County Waterford that falling pupil numbers may result in the loss of a teacher; and if he will ensure th...More Button

The staffing of a primary school is determined by reference to the enrolment of the school on 30 September of the previous school year. The number of mainstream posts sanctioned is determined by refer...More Button


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