Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 30 June, 1999

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

187. Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for Education and Science if an assistant teacher will be retained at Drumgossett national school, County Monaghan, in view of the special circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16832/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The staffing of primary schools is determined by reference to the enrolment of the school on the 30 September of the previous school year. This is in accordance with guidelines agreed between this Department and the education partners.

The current staffing of Drumgossett national school is a principal and two mainstream class teachers based on an enrolment of 55 as at 30 [752] September 1997. The school also has the services of a shared remedial teacher.

The enrolment as at 30 September 1998, on which the staffing for the 1999-2000 school year is based, was 51 pupils. Despite the significant improvement I have implemented in the staffing schedule for the 1999-2000 school year, this enrolment does not meet the retention requirement for the second mainstream teacher.

The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced a major new initiative in the special education area under which all children in the primary system assessed as having special needs arising from a disability will be entitled to an automatic response to those needs.

The level and nature of the response in each case will depend on the assessed needs of the child or group of children involved. The response may take the form of a full or part-time resource teacher or childcare support depending on the number of children involved and the nature of their needs.