Dáil Éireann - Volume 532 - 20 March, 2001

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

615. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the requirement for the provision of a resource teacher for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; the reason for the delay in appointing the teacher; if he will expedite the appointment of the teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7541/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr Woods): I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. My Department has recently sanctioned a second full-time resource teacher post to the school in question to cater for a number of pupils with special needs attending the school. The pupil to whom the Deputy refers is included on the case-load of the newly sanctioned resource teacher.

616. Mr. McDowell asked the Minister for Education and Science if his Department has had discussions with a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5 in relation to funding for the school; and if this school qualifies for an extra teacher under the new disadvantaged scheme recently announced. [7573/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr Woods): No discussions concerning funding have taken place between my Department and the school referred to by the Deputy. The Deputy will be aware of the new programme, Giving Children An Even Break, that I announced on 4 January last which will run over a three-year period and will cost some £26 million. The programme involves the creation of 204 new primary teaching posts and the allocation of cash grants to over 2,300 primary schools in respect of disadvantaged pupils.

Schools invited to participate in the new programme were identified through a survey of educational disadvantage in primary schools carried out by the Educational Research Centre for my Department last year.

A key condition of participation in the new programme is that the additional resources must be used for the provision of holistic supports for pupils from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The additional supports to be provided reflect the level of concentration of pupils from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds in each school invited to participate in the programme.

There are separate urban and rural dimensions to the programme. Schools categorised as urban with the highest concentrations of at risk pupils [1391] will be supported where necessary over the three-year period through staff allocations to implement a pupil-teacher ratio of 20:1 in the junior classes – infants through second class – and a pupil-teacher ratio of 29:1 in senior classes – third through sixth classes.

The school in question is included in the urban dimension of the programme and is eligible to receive supplementary grant aid of £1,477 towards the provision of suitable educational supports for the pupils concerned. The school was not considered eligible for additional teaching staff, based on the level of concentration of at risk pupils in the school as reflected in the Educational Research Centre survey outcome.

Where individual schools are concerned about the outcome of the survey in respect of their school, they may make a submission to my Department outlining their circumstances. These submissions will be referred to the Educational Research Centre for consideration. The situation of these schools will then be considered further.