Header Item Written Answers Nos. 142-155
 Header Item Literacy Programmes
 Header Item Teachers' Professional Development
 Header Item School Costs
 Header Item Post-Leaving Certificate Courses Fees
 Header Item School Transport Data
 Header Item Literacy Programmes
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Data
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Data
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Data
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Home Tuition Scheme
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Data
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Data

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 947 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 97 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 142-155

Literacy Programmes

 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 budgetary allocation to each scheme which provides education and training places to persons with literacy problems and learning difficulties; the number of places available on each scheme, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18515/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Education and Training Boards, funded through SOLAS, provide a range of programmes to cater for literacy and learning needs of adults, details of which are published in the annual FET Services Plan. The number of places planned and the allocation for each of these programmes in 2016 are set out in the following table:

Programme*Planned Beneficiaries of FET Provision in 2016Funding Allocation
Adult Literacy Groups (incl Family Literacy)37,928€24,897,653
ESOL13,232€1,363,375
ITABE2,960€1,955,781
Refugee Resettlement (ESOL)559€1,281,273
Voluntary Literacy Tuition2,625€0
Total57,304€29,498,081
*Final figures FOR 2016 are not yet available to SOLAS and may vary slightly when year end figures are complete.

Teachers' Professional Development

 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 budgetary allocation to the employee assistance programme for teachers; the details of the support services provided under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18516/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department has also put in place an Occupational Health Strategy as a supportive resource for teachers and special needs assistants (SNAs), to promote their health in the workplace, with a focus primarily on prevention rather than cure. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises of the Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme and Occupational Health Services. These services cater for about 64,000 teachers and 10,000 SNAs in some 4,000 primary and post-primary Schools.

The Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme is a confidential service accessible by means of a freephone telephone helpline available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing counselling on a range of personal health and well-being issues given by qualified clinicians. Up to 6 face-to-face counselling sessions are available to provide supportive and solution-focused care based on an individual’s clinical needs. The telephone service also provides specialist information, support and advice in relation to family, financial, legal, work-related and consumer information services as well as providing management support.

The Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme is currently provided at a total cost of €395,512 (ex VAT) per annum.

School Costs

 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 implementing the joint Oireachtas report on school costs as published in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18519/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Joint Oireachtas Report on school costs was published in 2013.

  "Irish educational policy must return to the value of free education, an ideal which must drive educational policy at local and national level.

  Given the wide ranging nature of the issues raised in the report it is not feasible to provide an estimated cost for its implementation.

  Notwithstanding this, I wish to make clear that I strongly support any measures that can be put in place to reduce costs for parents.  

  All schools must be sensitive to the financial pressures on parents in making decisions, not just about school uniforms or books, but about any matter that has cost implications for parents. 

  The Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 outlines hundreds of actions to be implemented over the 3 year period 2016 to 2019. Some of the actions as part of the plan are to strengthen the focus on reducing school costs for parents by:

  - Restoring capitation funding over a three-year period as resources permit

  - Increasing the financial support for book rental schemes, in order to reduce or eliminate school book costs for parents

  - Issuing a new circular to school authorities and ETBs regarding school uniform policy and other costs and the need to put a greater emphasis on reducing the cost of school uniforms and other costs.

  Budget 2017 represents the start of a major programme of reinvestment in education, and the first phase of implementation of the Action Plan for Education, aimed at becoming the best education system in Europe within a decade. 

  In relation to capitation funding and book rental schemes these remain a priority for me to address during the lifetime of the Action Plan. 

  My Department’s position in relation to voluntary contributions is that they are permissible provided it is made absolutely clear to parents that there is no question of compulsion to pay. I have no plans to alter this position so long as schools ensure that the contributions are sought in a manner that makes this clear to all concerned.

  The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill, which was published on 6 July 2016 and is shortly due to progress to Committee Stage, contains a provision prohibiting the charging of fees or seeking payment or contributions for an application for admission to a school or for the enrolment or continued enrolment of a student in a school.

  On 5 December 2016, I published the General Scheme of an Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill 2016. The Government have approved the draft outline of a new law, which will require every school to consult with parents and students, and publish and operate a Parent and Student Charter.

  The draft legislation defines the principles that will guide how schools will engage with students and parents, ensuring parents and students have a say in key decisions like school uniform costs, etc.

  Following consultation with our education partners, including the National Parents Council (Primary), National Parents Council (Post Primary) and the Irish Second-level Students Union, I will finalise national guidelines on a Parent and Student Charter. 

  The draft Bill has now gone to the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills for pre-legislative scrutiny. Pre-legislative scrutiny began on 7 March with officials, NGOs and some of the education partners, followed by a second session on 21 March which was attended by other education partners.

   I believe that these actions will significantly strengthen the focus on reducing school costs for parents.

Post-Leaving Certificate Courses Fees

 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 abolishing PLC and apprenticeship fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [18520/17]

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 PLC participant contribution is set against the amount to be paid in enhanced capitation grants to ETBs. The estimated cost of removing the PLC participant charge is approximately €3 million annually.

In relation to Apprenticeship fees an Annual Student Contribution is levied on all students attending Institutes of Technology (IoTs). Previously this Annual Student Contribution was paid by FÁS/SOLAS with apprentices themselves paying the part of the contribution relating to examination fees. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS ceased making payments to IoTs and apprentices pay the full pro rata Annual Student Contribution.

The amount charged to apprentices is calculated on a pro rata basis of the time which they spend in IoTs during the academic year. This cost would typically be one third of the Annual Student Contribution paid by students attending for the full academic year, currently €3,000 and would amount to approx. €1,000 per student per annum. 

The cost of not charging the Annual Student Contribution to apprentices in 2017 is estimated as €3.8 million.

I have no plans to abolish either the PLC participant charge or the Annual Student Contribution for apprentices.  

School Transport Data

 146. 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 amount allocated to the school transport scheme over each of the past ten years; the total revenue generated each year in charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18521/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

  Currently almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

  Total expenditure on the school transport scheme and revenue received from school transport charges for the past ten years are provided in the following table:

YearTotal Expenditure

€’000
Receipts from Charges

€’000
2006€159,685€6,634
2007€172,106€6,626
2008€185,725€8,751
2009€177,567€11,628
2010€181,409€11,651
2011€171,483€11,486
2012€168,464€12,570
2013€170,750€12,772
2014€172,081€13,057
2015€172,962€13,707
2016€182,188€14,000*
  *Estimated – subject to audit

Literacy Programmes

 147. 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 total budgetary allocation to adult literacy programmes over each for the past ten years in tabular form; the average cost per participant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18522/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available. My Department and SOLAS will collate the information and forward it directly to the Deputy. 

Special Educational Needs Data

 148. 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 cap in place for special needs assistants; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the NCSE will provide a SNA only in cases in which there is an assessed need; the number of SNAs required over the next five years to maintain the current level of support taking into account demographic increases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18523/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The purpose of the Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme is to provide schools with additional adult support staff who can assist children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs. The scheme provides for the allocation of a quantum of SNA support to schools, taking into account the assessed care needs of individual children with disabilities, or severe medical needs. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocates SNA support to schools, in accordance with the criteria set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.  

  Responsibility for deciding on the quantum of educational supports and resources to be allocated to schools to support individual pupils rests with the NCSE. SNA allocations are not made to individual children, but are made to schools, to support the care needs of children with assessed special educational needs, as and when support is needed. Schools who wish to make applications for SNA support should apply to the NCSE.

  There are 13,015 SNA posts available for allocation to schools to June 2017; this represents an increase of almost 23% or 2440 posts since 2011/12, when 10,575 posts were available. Last year alone I secured an increase of almost 1000 additional SNAs.

  The Irish Government Economic & Evaluation Service (IGEES) published a Focused Policy Assessment (FPA) of Data on Special Needs Assistants in August 2016 which is available at: http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Value-For-Money-Reviews/. This FPA forms part of my Department’s commitment to the Public Spending Code (PSC) and evidence informed policy making.

  One of the objectives of the FPA was to identify what is required to develop the forecasting capacity of the Department and the NCSE in order to anticipate the level of demand and cost of future SNA requirements and that the provision of this data would be aligned with the planning needs of my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the NCSE with specific reference to the annual budgetary process.

  Through analysing growth in metrics, such as the age profile of students accessing SNA supports, the growth in the numbers of students accessing SNAs as a proportion of the primary and post-primary education, and levels of enrolment in special classes, the FPA estimated that future demand of the number of additional SNAs likely to be required to 2019 will be in the order of between 1,300 and 5,400 posts, which is estimated to cost between €47m and €183m. The report noted, however, that this is an indicative estimate and that it is unrealistic to assume that the report can predict exactly the quantum of future student demand of SNAs. 

  The extent of funding required to provide for SNA support in future years will, therefore, take into account the actual demand which transpires annually, while also taking into account the significant increases in SNA numbers already provided.

  The FPA report recommended that the NCSE provide an End of Year Statement of Demand and a forecast of future demand in mid-April each year, with an updated forecast by mid-June to take account of trends arising during the current year’s application process.

  The SNA demand for 2017/18 school year will not be known until the NCSE application process is complete. Demand over the next 5 years can not be accurately estimated until the NCSE provides its forecast of future demand for consideration in each of the next 5 years.  

Special Educational Needs Data

 149. 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 number of special needs assistants and the budgetary allocation for SNAs over each of the past ten years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18524/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Funding for special education provision in 2017 will amount to some €1.68 billion, which is equivalent to approximately 19% of the gross overall current allocation for education and training and represents an increase in spending in this area of 12% over the last two years.

  This year, 13,015 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are available for allocation to primary and post primary schools to the end of the 2016/17 school year, which is an increase of almost 23% in the number of posts available since 2011.

  As committed to in the Programme for a Partnership Government, the adequacy of the present policies and provision and their scope for improvement is being examined.

  At my request, the NCSE are currently undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme and I have specifically asked the NCSE to identify the most appropriate form of support options to provide better outcomes for students with Special Educational Needs, having regard to the significant amount of State investment in this area.

  I can confirm that this Government will continue to ensure that the supports required, to ensure that all children with special educational needs can continue to participate in education, will be provided.

  Details of the number of special needs assistants and the budgetary allocation for SNAs over each of the past ten years are given in the following table:

  Budgetary allocation and Nos. of SNAs over the last 10 years

Year€  MNumber of SNAs
2008298.770 10442
2009328.66010342
2010314.450 10543
2011340.860 10575
2012339.850 10575
2013347.310 10745
2014349.720 11330
2015386.890 12040
2016401.95013015
2017Data not available  Data not available

Special Educational Needs Data

 150. 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 cost of hiring ten additional special needs organisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18525/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is the statutory body with particular functions including planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for the provision of a range of educational services at local and national level for students with special educational needs.

SENO responsibility includes planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs. Each SENO works in an assigned local area with parents, schools, teachers, psychologists, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in that area for children with special educational needs.

The cost of appointing 10 additional SENOs would be in the region of €540,000 per annum.

A new Regional Support Service has been established within the National Council for Special Education was announced to assist schools in supporting children with special education needs. This service is operational from March 2017

The service includes the Special Education Support Service (SESS), the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS) and the Visiting Teacher Service for children who are deaf/hard of hearing and for children who are blind/visually impaired (VTHVI service).

Considerations with regard to the full staffing implications which may arise from the amalgamation of these bodies and the incorporation of the new Regional Support Service within the existing NCSE operational structures are ongoing and will be established during the course of the integration of the services.

Consideration regarding new recruitments and the filling of any vacancies will form part of this process. However, a fully comprehensive service will continue to be in place for the new school year.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 151. 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 cost of extending the July provision to all children with special educational needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18526/17]

 152. 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 cost of extending the July provision to all children with a low incidence disability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18527/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to examine the adequacy of current special education access and funding provision.

In addition the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders was published in July 2016.

In developing this policy advice, the NCSE reviewed the Department's July Provision scheme. The NCSE consulted widely with parents, professionals and other stakeholders and interested parties while also conducting research. The Policy advice is available on the NCSEs website www.ncse.ie

The policy advice recommends that relevant stakeholders should discuss the development of a national, day activity scheme that provides a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs for one month of the summer holidays.

My Department has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the NCSE, NEPS, the Inspectorate and external representatives to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered and that a timetable for implementation is prepared. The work of the Implementation Group is ongoing.

My officials will engage with officials in the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Health and other relevant stakeholders in regard to implementing the recommendations in relation to July Provision. 

I have no plans to extend the existing July Provision Scheme to all children with Special Education Needs and indeed this was not a recommendation of the NCSE in their policy advice. 

It is not possible to estimate the cost of extending this provision to all children with Special Educational needs. Such an estimate would require analysis of the availability and willingness of schools to provide for this and also the availability of suitably qualified tutors to be available for home based July provision.

Home Tuition Scheme

 153. 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 if there is currently a cap in place for the number of hours that can be accessed by a child under the home tuition scheme; the savings from such a cap; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18528/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The purpose of the Home Tuition Grant Scheme is to provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for

  1. Early educational intervention for children with autism who meet the schemes eligibility criteria

  2. Students with special educational needs seeking an educational placement in a recognised school 

  3. Students, enrolled in schools, with significant medical conditions which has caused, and is likely to continue to cause, major disruption to their attendance at school

  The preferred approach is that children are educated in school settings where children may have access to fully qualified teachers, individualised education programmes, special needs assistants, school curriculum with the option, where possible and appropriate, of full or partial integration and interaction with other pupils.

  Accordingly, Home Tuition is provided as an interim measure only for children for whom a placement in a recognised school is not available and should not be regarded as an optional alternative to a school placement. 

  Each of the strands of the scheme prescribe the hours available for allocation. For children with Autism aged from 2.5 years to 3 years the number of hours allocated is 5. From 3 years, for children with Autism for whom school placements are not available, the number of available hours is 20 per week. For children with medical conditions the hours granted are reflective of the time the child has been absent from school and these are listed in the Department's Home Tuition circular. 

  Section 4 of the Department's circular sets out the number of hours applicable under each of the schemes strands. No cap has been applied to the hours set out in the scheme and accordingly no savings can be calculated as there has been no cap applied. 

Special Educational Needs Data

 154. 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 budgetary allocation for special educational equipment such as assistive technology over each of the past five years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18529/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department provides funding to schools towards the cost of assistive technology, for educational purposes, to assist children with special educational needs in Primary, Post Primary and Special schools, in accordance with the criteria set out in my Department's Circular 0010/2013.

  In order to qualify for equipment under the scheme, a child must have been diagnosed with a physical or communicative disability and must also have a recommendation in a professional assessment that the equipment is essential in order to allow the child to access the curriculum.   It must also be clear that the existing IT. equipment in the school is insufficient to meet the child's needs. 

  Equipment such as FM Radio systems and Soundfield systems for children with a hearing impairment, Braille equipment to assist children with a visual impairment as well as personal computers and specialist software are amongst the items funded by my Department. Schools apply to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through their local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) for such support. SENOs make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in making recommendations for support in the form of Assistive Technology. 

  Details of the funds that have been spent on the Assistive Technology Scheme, in primary and post primary schools in each year from 2012 to date in 2016, are included in the following table:

Assistive Technology GrantsTotal
2016€2,279,658
2015€1,775,361
2014€1,575,594
2013€1,448,866
2012€1,442,857

Special Educational Needs Data

 155. 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 level of grant funding allocated to a group over each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18530/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department provides a range of resources for pupils with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), of which Dyslexia is one such SLD.

  My Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides an educational psychology service to all primary and post primary schools through an assigned NEPS psychologist and in some cases through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA), full details of which are on the Department's website.

  Funding is provided for Special Schools and Special Classes attached to mainstream primary schools which have been sanctioned to meet the needs of children with SLD, including Dyslexia. 

  All mainstream schools have been allocated significant additional teaching resources to cater for children with high incidence special educational needs, including SLD. It is a matter for individual schools to use their professional judgment to identify pupils who will receive this support and to use the resources available to the school to intervene at the appropriate level with such pupils. Schools are supported in this regard by the NEPS.  

  Schools are not required to apply directly to my Department for learning support for SLDs.  Schools should monitor and utilise their allocation of additional teaching support to best support the needs of identified pupils, in accordance with my Department's guidance. The teaching time afforded to each individual pupil is decided and managed by schools, taking into account each child's individual learning needs.

  A new model for the allocation of teaching resources for children with special educational needs will be implemented from September 2017. Under the new allocation model schools will be provided with a total allocation which includes a baseline allocation for the school and an allocation based on the school profile. The provision of a profiled allocation will give a fairer allocation for each school which recognises that all schools need an allocation for special needs support, but which provides a graduated allocation which takes into account the actual level of need and pupils in each school. 

  Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools, which were published on 7 March 2017, set out the details of the new model for allocating special education teachers to schools.  Allocations based on the school profiles were issued to all schools on 7 March. Details of the special education teaching allocations have also been published on the NCSE website. Schools will also receive guidance as to how they should deploy their resources to provide additional teaching support for pupils taking into account their individual learning needs. 

  Funding is also available to schools for the purchase of specialised equipment such as computers and/or software to assist children with special educational needs, including children with SLDs, where relevant professionals recommend the equipment as being essential for the provision of education. Schools apply to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through their local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) for such support. SENOs make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology is required in accordance with the criteria set out in my Department's Circular 0010/2013.  

  Further supports which are provided to support pupils with Dyslexia include an information resource pack on Dyslexia which has been made available to all primary and post-primary schools as well as provision for continuing professional development for teachers with additional training needs in the area of Dyslexia through the Special Education Support Service (SESS). The SESS manages, co-ordinates and develops a range of professional development and supports in response to identified teacher training needs. During the current school year (2016/17), specific courses were aimed at mainstream primary and post-primary classroom teachers, Learning Support and Resource Teachers who work with pupils with identified or unidentified specific literacy difficulties including dyslexia. These courses are designed to support teachers with appropriate and practical strategies to implement with their pupils across the school context. 60 teachers also availed of training this year in the Wilson Reading System which is a highly-specialised intensive programme on the development of reading for students with dyslexia.

  My Department has provided funding to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland at national level which helps the organisation operate an information service for members and the public as well as assisting in meeting the costs associated with the attendance of some children from disadvantaged backgrounds at workshops and programmes organised by the association.

  The total grant-aid provided by my Department to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland for the past 10 years, including funding provided to the Association for further education programmes, is as follows: 

YearAllocation €
2007183,500
2008188,000
2009183,500
2010183,500
2011180,500
2012200,500
2013200,500
2014200,500
2015193,180
2016192,772


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