Dec 16, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the percentage of primary and secondary schools in each county operating a textbook rental or loan scheme in the 2014-15 school year.
REPLY (Minister Jan O'Sullivan):
Since 2011, my Department has gathered information from primary schools as to whether they operate book rental schemes. Returns for September 2013 indicate that 84% of primary schools operate a book rental scheme. This compares to 83% in 2012 and 77% in 2011.
The position at second level is that for September 2013, 68% of schools reported that they operate book rental schemes. A more detailed analysis of the returns show that 55% of voluntary secondary schools; 66% of Community and Comprehensive schools and 88% of Education and Training Board schools are operating book rental schemes. Responses to a survey conducted in 2012 was disappointing and does not lend itself to comparisons with the returns received in respect of 2013.
My Department will continue to request information on book rental schemes from first and second level schools annually. The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the 2014/2015 school year is not yet available. However, the information will be available in the first quarter of 2015.
As the Deputy is aware Budget 2014 provided funding of €5 million for three years to support the establishment of book rental schemes in primary schools that did not operate such schemes. DEIS schools will receive €150 per child and non-DEIS schools will receive €100 per child in seed capital to establish book rental schemes.
This will cost approximately €6.7million of the €15 million secured over the three year period, the balance of €8.3 million will be divided in 2015 and 2016 among primary schools that currently operate book rental schemes. Every primary school has now been given the opportunity to benefit from the funding secured for the School Book Rental Scheme.
The existing €15million already provided in book grants to all primary and post-primary in the Free Education Scheme will continue to be paid in 2015.
March 4, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will consider including Springboard courses under the childcare and employment training support scheme.
Reply from Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
Funding is made available by my Department to support a number of childcare programmes which provide a range of supports to parents of pre-school and after-school children, including the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme.
The CETS programme provides funding to support parents, who are participating in Solas and the Education Training Boards training and education courses, with the cost of childcare. The eligibility criteria for parents availing of this support is determined by Solas and the Education Training Boards, which come under the remit of the Department of Education and Skills. A number of new strands to the programme have been added, including an after-school programme which provides support to social welfare recipients returning to employment and a further strand which provides support to parents participating in Community Employment schemes. Eligibility for support under these strands is determined by the Department of Social Protection.
The function of my Department is to monitor the take-up of childcare places available to those parents approved for support and to administer the relevant funding. Determining which courses will enable parents to qualify for support under the CETS programme is therefore a matter for the Departments of Social Protection and Education and Skills.
February 25, 2014
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.
February 11, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding programmes that are available from his Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister Ruairí Quinn:
There are no funding programmes available from my Department designed to directly assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation and therefore no application process for such support.
In addition to funding overall mainstream provision for education my Department also provides funding of some €4million across a number of projects and centres to provide for continuum of education and to facilitate ongoing engagment with and retention of children in education.
Such supports include: Youth Encounter Projects, established in the 1970s as non-residential facilities for children at risk of coming into conflict with authority or are at serious risk of dropping out of mainstream school. There are five YEPS, three in Dublin and one each in Limerick and Cork, providing 120 places for children. The current overall enrolment is 107. YEPs receive a pay and non-pay allocation of €1.124 million to cover the employment of all ancillary staff and to cover school running costs. Permanent teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) in the school are paid through the Primary and SNA Payroll system at an overall cost of €1.85million.
City Motor Sports, Swift Alleys, Francis Street, Dublin 8, provides education and training for young people aged between 15 and 18 years. It was established in 1995 as City Motor Sports in the south west inner city as a response to widespread joyriding in the locality. The current enrolment is 14. My Department funds the cost of 51 teaching hours per week at a total cost of €90,375 in 2012 and provides a non-pay grant of €113,479 to City of Dublin ETB to meet running costs.
The Carline Project is located in a purpose built centre, in Lucan, Co Dublin. It caters for young people aged 14 to 17 years. The current enrolment is 22. My Department funds the cost of 71 teaching hours per week at a total cost of €141,787 in 2012 and provides a non-pay grant of €170,000 to County Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB to meet running costs
Life Centres are informal education centres established by the Christian Brothers in 1996, with the assistance of the Holy Faith Sisters, as a response to the needs of young people who have dropped out of mainstream education. There are two Life Centres in Dublin and Cork which receive a grant of €114,000 towards running costs and 2,768 teaching hours under the ETB co-operation hours scheme at an estimated cost of €233,000.
Matt Talbot Adolescent Service Centre in Co Cork provides residential drug and alcohol treatment for 14-18 year old boys. It provides educational courses at Junior and Leaving Certificate Level, ECDL and FETAC Levels 3 and 4. My Department provides €190,000, through Cork ETB, towards the cost of instruction staff at the centre
In addition my Department funds the Youthreach programme which provides two years integrated education, training and work experience for unemployed early school leavers with incomplete qualifications or vocational training who are between 15 and 20 years of age. There are almost 6,000 places available nationwide under the Youthreach. Almost 3,700 of these places are provided by ETBs in just over 100 Youthreach centres. Expenditure in the region of €68 million was provided for this service in 2012. The majority of the remainder of places are provided by FÁS in Community Training Centres which also provides two years integrated education, training and work experience incorporating basic skills training, practical work training and general education with the application of new technology integrated into all aspects of programme content. The overall cost for this service in 2012 amounted to some €43.3million.
A small portion of the overall funding in Youthreach includes provision for under 16's. At the end of December 2012 the number of learners under 16 enrolled in Youthreach Centers and Community Training Centres were 192 and 43 respectively.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding programmes that are available from his Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister Alan Shatter:
My Department, through the Community Programmes Unit of the Irish Youth Justice Service, manages the funding and the delivery of 100 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDP) nationwide and 5 local Drug Task Force (LDTFs) projects. The GYDPs, which are staffed by two youth justice workers, are managed locally by community based organisations working with a local project committee which is chaired by the local Garda District Officer. The LDTF projects, which work closely with their collocated GYDP projects, are staffed with a drugs and alcohol worker and operate a referral system from Gardai, parents and other sources and may also refer onwards to assessment and treatment centres. The project committees are required to submit detailed plans with budgetary costings annually to the Community Programmes Unit.
The GYDP projects are community-based, multi-agency, crime prevention initiatives which are designed to engage with and seek to divert young people from becoming involved in or further involved in anti-social and/or criminal behaviour. They operate in support of the statutory Garda Diversion Programme and aim to bring about the conditions whereby the behavioural patterns of young people towards law and order can develop and mature through positive interventions and interaction with the project. The projects are particularly targeted at 12-17 year old “at risk” youths in communities where a specific need has been identified and where there is a risk of them remaining within the justice system. The approach is supported by a risk assessment of participants designed to identify their needs and to enable a project to plan interventions that provide the best possible outcome for the participant.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding programmes that are available from her Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
My Department provides a range of funding schemes, programmes and supports to the youth sector. This includes provision for the Youth Service Grants Scheme under which funding is made available to support 31 national and major regional voluntary organisations involved in the development and provision of youth programmes and services. Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2 and Local Drugs Task Force Projects.
These schemes support some 477 projects and services, provided by the voluntary youth sector, throughout the country. There are some 1,400 youth work staff and over 40,000 volunteers involved in the provision of these services and activities for young people. In 2014, funding of €50.530m, including €750,000 for a new capital funding programme, has been provided to my Department for these schemes. In addition, capital funding of €1.5m was provided in 2013 for the start-up of new Youth Cafés and 30 applications have been approved in locations throughout the country. Details of the successful proposals are available on my Department's website - www.dcya.gov.ie. The funding for these schemes is administered, in the main, by the Education and Training Boards on behalf of my Department.
Young people are provided with a wide range of programmes and activities, which respond to their needs, interests, capacity and age profile. The supports available are complementary to the school system and to other supports in place to assist young people who are marginalised and contribute to addressing a range of issues affecting young people and their communities including early school leaving, unemployment, drug/substance misuse, youth homelessness, and the impact of problems to do with juvenile crime and anti-social behaviour.
Having regard to the difficult funding situation in recent years, no new applications have been sought for these schemes since 2008. My Department, along with all government departments, is required to deliver substantial savings on all funding programmes in line with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE). My Department, in determining the annual allocations for youth programmes, while having regard to the CRE, has sought to ensure that, as far as is possible, the focus is maintained on the front line youth services particularly those for the most vulnerable young people. This year, I secured an additional €1m in the 2014 Budget to offset the impact of the CRE on the youth services. As a result the overall reduction in 2014 budgets for the youth services at 3.75 % was significantly less had been indicated in the CRE.
Further information about the specific projects and services can be had from the projects themselves or the Youth Officer in the relevant local Education and Training Board or directly from my Department. If the Deputy has a particular case in mind and wishes to make the details available to officials in my Department, they will be more than happy to assist in providing a link to the specific project.
My colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality has overall responsibility in the area of crime and anti-social behaviour and his Department funds a range of youth services, in particular Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) and Young Person Probation Projects (YPP). I see the role of my Department as working in an integrated way to develop strong linkages between all those working in prevention and intervention, developing closer working relationships between the prevention services provided by Child and Family Agency, and services provided by the Irish Youth Justice Service, which is co-located in my Department, and the youth sector.
The main focus is on ensuring best outcomes for all our children and young people through the most efficient use of available resources thereby achieving best value for money. I want to ensure, notwithstanding the significant challenges we face, that we build on best practice and continue to innovate to ensure that young people are enabled and empowered to acquire the skills and experiences to realise their potential and to engage and develop in society.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Health the funding programmes that are available from his Department to assist projects involved in youth diversion and rehabilitation; and to whom should applications for State support be directed in each instance.
REPLY / Minister James Reilly
Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces receive annual funding from the Drugs Initiative of my Department to allocate to community based drugs initiatives in their areas. Organisations involved in providing youth diversion and rehabilitation may apply to their local Drugs Task Force for funding. A list of the Drugs Task Forces can be found on www.health.gov.ie