Written Answers - School Staffing.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 666 No. 2

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  272.  Deputy Tony Gregory  Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the number of private fee-paying second levels schools here; and cost of State funding including salaries of staff to these fee paying schools. [39104/08]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  There are 56 fee-paying schools in the State, of which 21 are Protestant, two inter-denominational, one Jewish and the remainder Catholic.

With the exception of the Protestant and Jewish fee-charging schools, fee-paying schools do not receive capitation or related supports.

Protestant fee-charging schools receive, and will continue to receive, the Protestant Block grant, which amounts to €6.25 million in the current school year. This payment covers capitation, tuition and boarding grants.

A similar arrangement exists for the Jewish school and amounted to €43,684 in the 2007/08 school year. This arrangement will continue also.

The arrangements for minority schools reflect the importance the Government attaches to ensuring that students can attend schools that reflect their denominational ethos.

Prior to Budget 2009, minority religion schools were eligible other non-pay grants. It is estimated that savings of €2.8 million will accrue to the Department from their withdrawal in 2009.

Teachers in all fee-charging schools are paid by the State, and this arrangement pre-dated the introduction of free education arrangements. The cost for the 2007/08 school year was €100.12 million.

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  273.  Deputy Frank Feighan  Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Roscommon. [39164/08]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  The mainstream staffing of a primary school is determined by reference to the enrolment of the school on 30th September of the previous school year. The actual number of mainstream posts sanctioned is determined by reference to a staffing schedule which is issued to all primary schools each year.

The detailed staffing allocation for the school in question for the academic year 2009/10 cannot be determined until the allocation process has fully concluded. The allocation process includes appellate mechanisms under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. At primary level the final allocation to a school is also a function of the operation of the redeployment panels which provide for the retention of a teacher in an existing school if a new post is not available within the agreed terms of the scheme.

Schools are currently returning data to my Department in relation to their enrolment as of 30 September. My Department has commenced processing this data although all schools have not yet made their returns. The allocation process including notification to all primary schools will commence early in the New Year.

  274.  Deputy Ruairí Quinn  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the number of additional teachers that will be hired at primary and post primary level in order to deal with the increase in school enrolments as estimated in budget 2009; the amount the additional primary school teachers will cost; the amount the additional post-primary teachers will cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39166/08]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  Overall the number of primary and post-primary teachers in schools in September 2009 is projected to be about 200 fewer in each sector compared to September 2008.

The estimates are calculated on the basis that approximately 900 additional posts in primary schools and 320 such posts in post-primary schools are needed due to demographics and the continued growth in provision for children with special educational needs in schools.

The estimates are also calculated on the basis that the 900 additional primary posts will reduce by 340 (to 560) as a result of the reducing demand for language support teachers and reduced requirements because of decreases in pupil numbers in certain special classes.

In addition to the normal increases and decreases set out above, there are also policy changes announced as part of the Budget and 2009 estimates that provide for decreases in teaching post numbers arising from changes to the staffing schedules that allocate teachers to schools, the re-imposition of the ceiling on the number of language support teachers per school and the withdrawal of teaching posts which have been historically provided under previous disadvantage schemes to non-DEIS schools. It is estimated that these will decrease the number of teaching posts by approximately 760 posts in primary education and 560 in post-primary education.

Thus while it is estimated that there is of the order of a 200 net decrease in the number teaching posts in both primary and post-primary education, this also means that there will be a higher turnover of teachers to reflect the overall changes of allocations and teachers moving to new posts as a consequence of reflect the changes. The figures, both for increases and decreases in the estimated number of teaching posts, relate to possible ranges for the impact of changes to the staffing schedules and the effectiveness of redeployment. The net pay allo[493]cation for teachers’ salaries and pensions will increase by almost €300m in 2009 as a result of a combination of pay increases, increased pension costs, increased enrolment in 2009 and the full year costs of the salaries of extra teachers appointed in September 2008.

An additional €40m has also been allocated for the continued growth in the provision for special needs in primary and post-primary schools providing for the full year costs of additional Special Needs Assistants in the system this September as well as provision for additional posts next September.


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