Dáil Éireann - Volume 466 - 13 June, 1996
Written Answers. - Remedial Teacher Appointment.
Mr. B. Smith Mr. B. Smith
103. Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Education if she will sanction the appointment of a remedial teacher for five schools (details supplied) in County Cavan with effect from September 1996; if her attention has been drawn to the urgent need to provide such a service on a shared basis between these schools in view of the fact that it was understood that this teaching appointment was to have been sanctioned from September 1995; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12448/96]
Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach) Niamh Bhreathnach
Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): I am not in a position at present to make additional remedial teacher posts available to primary schools.
I am aware of the case made by the school in question in support of its application for a remedial teacher service in 1995. The needs of this school were considered when 55 remedial posts were allocated at that time. Unfortunately, the needs of the school were not considered to be of such priority as to warrant its inclusion on that occasion. I will continue to review needs in this area and consider how best these needs  can be addressed within available resources.
Since my appointment as Minister for Education, I have allocated an additional 241 remedial teachers to the primary sector. A total of 1,188 remedial teachers are now in place and the percentage of pupils who have access to a remedial service has increased from 77 per cent to 87 per cent.
I consider that the substantial improvements which I have already achieved in this area provide practical confirmation of my commitment to the needs of the children in question. However, as Minister for Education I have to consider how best to deploy available resources across a wider range of special needs. I have to determine priorities and try to allocate resources to best effect.
During the period 1994-95, in addition to allocating an extra 155 remedial teachers, I adopted a particular focus on the needs of children attending special schools and classes. In addition to reducing the pupil teacher ratios in all such facilities, I provided a very substantial increase in the special capitation rates applicable in such cases.
In the current year, I have adopted a particular focus on children who suffer from educational disadvantage and have sought to target resources into this area in an effort to break the cycle of disadvantage. As part of this approach, I recently launched a major new initiative aimed at bringing special targeted assistance to children in selected urban and rural areas who suffer serious educational disadvantage.
I am satisfied that since my appointment as Minister for Education I have achieved substantial advances across the entire spectrum of special needs, including the remedial area. It is my intention to continue this process.
Dáil Éireann 466 Written Answers. Remedial Teacher Appointment.