Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way Tramore’s new co-educational secondary school and its ancillary facilities will operate under the PPP Programme, including the contract payment mechanism; and the input his Department has had in the management plan being put in place by BAM Building covering the 25-year concession period.
Reply from Minister Ruairí Quinn:
Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore was procured as part of my Department's Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme. The school was designed, built, financed and shall be maintained by BAM Schools Bundle Three Limited for a period of 25 years.
At the outset of the project the Department established an output specification for the project including its requirements for ongoing building management and maintenance. The project was then referred to the National Development Finance Agency ("NDFA") to manage the procurement and delivery of the PPP contract. In managing the delivery of the contract, the NDFA worked closely with the appointed PPP Company (BAM Schools Bundle Three Limited) to agree service delivery plans which detail the systems required to manage my Department's output specifications. Throughout the 25 years contract period monthly meetings are held with the PPP Company to review and assess ongoing performance as reported by the school and PPP Company.
The payment mechanism set out in the contract governs the terms and conditions of payment for the delivery of the school and for the provision of the building management and maintenance services. It incorporates a payment deduction regime in the event services provided do not meet the service levels required in the output specification, with ongoing performance being monitored by the schools and the PPP Company.
The school's Board of Management remains responsible for all matters associated with the day-to-day running of the school and with the delivery of educational services therein.
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of full-time and part-time teaching, clerical and maintenance staff that will be directly employed at the new Ardscoil na Mara campus in Tramore, County Waterford.
Reply from Minister Ruairí Quinn:
Teacher allocations to all second level schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. The criteria for the allocation of posts are communicated to school managements annually and are available on the Department website.
In accordance with these rules each school management authority is required to organise its subject options within the limit of its approved teacher allocation. At post primary level and in accordance with existing arrangements, where a school management authority is unable to meet its curricular commitments within its approved allocation, my Department considers applications for additional short term support i.e., curricular concessions.
The allocation process also includes an appeals mechanism under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The appeal procedures are set out in the published staffing arrangements. The Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.
The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012).
The deployment of teaching staff in the school, the range of subjects offered and ultimately the quality of teaching and learning are in the first instance a matter for the school management authorities.
The staffing and redeployment process for the 2014/15 school year is currently underway in my Department. The final staffing position for all schools at post primary level will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and any appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board will have been considered.
My Department will provide capitation funding to the school referred to by the Deputy for caretaking and secretarial services. The staff to be employed will be a matter for the Board of Management.