Header Item Written Answers Nos. 134-145
 Header Item Apprenticeship Programmes
 Header Item Post-Leaving Certificate Courses Fees
 Header Item Third Level Fees
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme
 Header Item School Services Staff
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme
 Header Item School Patronage
 Header Item Post-Leaving Certificate Courses
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Third Level Staff

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 910 No. 2
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 134-145

Apprenticeship Programmes

 134. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of removing apprenticeship college fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12181/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan The annual Student Contribution is levied on apprentices and students attending Institutes of Technology.

This contribution has been levied by Institutes of Technology in respect of apprentices since 2004, with FÁS/SOLAS paying 70% of the contribution and apprentices themselves paying the remainder. Following a Budget 2014 decision, SOLAS ceased making this payment to the Institutes of Technology and apprentices themselves now pay the full pro rata Annual Student Contribution.

Apprentices undertake two phases of their apprenticeship training in IOTs, phase 4 and phase 6. The average cost per student of the Annual Student Contribution is €1,000 per term for these two phases. There are 2,999 apprentices undertaking these two phases for the academic year 2015/2016 at a cost of €2,999,000. The estimated cost of removing apprenticeship college fees annually is approximately €3 million.

Post-Leaving Certificate Courses Fees

 135. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of removing post-leaving certificate participation fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12182/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan The 2011 Budget provided for the introduction of a €200 annual Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme participant contribution. This was introduced at the start of the 2011/2012 academic year and the same charge has applied each year since then.

Full medical card holders, in their own right as well as their dependent children, those eligible under the student grant scheme and those in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) or Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) allowances are exempt from paying the contribution. Approximately 60% of PLC learners in any given year are exempt from paying the charge.

The estimated cost of removing the PLC participant charge is approximately €3 million annually.

Third Level Fees

 136. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of reducing the student contribution fee by €250; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12183/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Based on the current number of students that qualify under the Free Fees Initiative, it is estimated that the net cost to my Department of reducing the Student Contribution by €250 would be of the order of €16 million.

  This figure takes into account the resulting saving to my Department's Student Grant Scheme. It does not however take account of any increase in student numbers in future years.

Student Grant Scheme

 137. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of providing an additional top-up for students on the special top-up rate on the non-adjacent student grant of €30 per week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12184/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton There were 10,626 students in receipt of the non-adjacent special rate for the 2015/16 academic year. Paying each of these students an additional €30 per week for 36 weeks would cost in the region of €11.5 million. If the €30 per week was calculated over a 52 week period then the cost would be in the region of €16.5 million.

School Services Staff

 138. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of ensuring that each school has the necessary funds to employ at least one full-time secretary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12185/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I assume the Deputy is referring to primary schools.

  The amount of grant paid to an individual primary school for capitation and ancillary services is determined by the school's enrolment, subject to a minimum grant for both capitation and ancillary services in respect of schools with enrolments up to 60, and a maximum ancillary services grant in the case of schools with enrolments of 500 or more.

  Boards of Management have autonomy on how they use and prioritise this funding to meet their day to day running costs including for the provision of secretarial, caretaker and cleaning services.

  The position therefore varies between schools and accordingly it is not possible to provide an estimated cost of employing a full-time secretary in each individual school.

Student Grant Scheme

 139. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of reversing the change to the adjacent rate of the student grant, reducing it from 45 km to 28 km; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12186/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The cost of reversing the change to the adjacent rate of the Student Grant, reducing it from 45 kilometres to 28 kilometres; is estimated to be in the region of €27 million.

Prior to the introduction of the 45 km rule, circa three-quarters of all maintenance grant holders qualified for the higher non-adjacent grant support. The above costing assumes that a change to the 28 km rule will result in a similar number of students qualifying for the higher non-adjacent grant support.

School Patronage

 140. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of divesting patronage from 500 primary schools to multi-denominational or non-religious bodies over a five year period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12187/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Government is committed to progressing the patronage divesting process to provide greater choice to parents in areas of stable population, as well as ensuring that parental preferences are key to patronage decisions on new schools established in areas of demographic growth. Since 2011, the arrangements for the establishment of new schools in areas of growing population have resulted in the majority of these having a multi-denominational ethos.

In this regard, 39 of the 42 new schools (24 primary schools and 18 post-primary schools) have a multi-denominational ethos. The Programme for a Partnership Government reflects the Government's objective of strengthening parental choice and further expanding diversity in our school system, specifically by increasing the number of non-denominational and multi-denominational schools with a view to reaching 400 by 2030.

In addition to the phased transfer of Catholic schools to new patrons already under way, this will require considering new ideas and new approaches to substantially accelerate the changes in school provision in order to achieve greater diversity. The Government is committed to working with all stakeholders to facilitate this process and I will be progressing these matters as a priority.

It is not possible at this point to estimate the costs involved, given that a number of factors, including the location, nature and condition of the properties being offered for divestment and the particular circumstances applying to each project will impact on the costs involved in each case.

Post-Leaving Certificate Courses

 141. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of establishing an Irish language post-leaving certificate college; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12188/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Post Leaving Certificate programme is delivered in schools and colleges operated mainly by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) with a small number in Voluntary Secondary and Community and Comprehensive schools. PLC provision has developed over the years in response to demand and the requirements for particular courses in different parts of the country.

Approximately half of PLC provision is delivered in schools along with second level provision while the remainder is delivered in stand alone PLC schools/colleges. Stand alone PLC colleges have developed where the increased demand for PLC provision has made it necessary to separate it from the second level provision in order that both sectors can be managed effectively, or where second level enrolments have ceased. It is open to ETBs and schools to offer PLC courses through the Irish Language if a requirement for such provision is identified in an area.

It is not possible to quantify the cost of establishing an Irish Language PLC College but it would be similar to that of establishing any new school and would include accommodation costs, fit out costs, teacher pay costs, support staff costs and capitation costs.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 142. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of reducing the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools by one pupil, two pupils, three pupils, four pupils and five pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12189/16]

 145. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of reducing the pupil-teacher ratio in schools with DEIS status by one pupil, two pupils, three pupils, four pupils and five pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12192/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 145 together.

The Programme for Government has a commitment to reduce class sizes at primary level.

Budget 2016 provides for a one point adjustment to the staffing allocation to primary schools, which will be implemented for the 2016/17 school year. This will see the primary staffing schedule operate on the basis of a general average of 1 classroom teacher for every 27 pupils. Lower thresholds apply for DEIS Band 1 schools, ranging from 20:1 to 24:1 depending on the type of school. The pupil teacher ratio in the current school year is 1 classroom teacher for every 28 pupils. Staffing arrangements for the 2016/17 school year are available in Circular 0007/2016, which is published on the Department website.

Each 1 point adjustment to the staffing schedule is estimated to cost between 250-300 additional posts, at a cost of circa. €15 million-€18 million.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 143. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of reducing the pupil-teacher ratio in post-primary schools by one pupil, two pupils, three pupils, four pupils, five pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12190/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton 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 my Department's website.

Each one point adjustment to the pupil teacher ratio (ptr) at post-primary level is estimated to cost in the order of 1000 teaching posts (i.e. €63 million).

Third Level Staff

 144. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the estimated cost of reducing the staff student ratio in third level institutions by one student, two students, three students, four students and five students; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12191/16]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton In the 2014/15 academic year, there were just over 18,000 core staff across the higher education system (whole-time equivalents). This figure encompasses some 9,800 academic staff and 8,300 non-academic staff. These figures do not include contract research staff. There were just over 190,000 students (whole-time equivalents) enrolled in 2014/15 giving an average academic staff:student ratio across the higher education system is 1:19.6.

  The following table provides estimated costings for reducing the academic staff:student ratio. These costings are based on 2014/15 student numbers and on a continuation of the current academic:non-academic staffing ratio of 1:0.85. An average salary (including PRSI costs) of €63,000 has been used.

   Costings for reducing the Academic Staff: Student Ratio:

Reduce by 1€61 million
Reduce by 2€130 million
Reduce by 3€207 million
Reduce by 4€293 million
Reduce by 5 €392 million

  Question No. 145 answered with Question No. 142.


Last Updated: 09/08/2017 11:28:28 First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page