Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 25 March, 1997

Written Answers. - Schools Status.

247. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Education if she will re-examine an application for disadvantaged status by Portlaw national school, Portlaw, County Waterford, in view of the difficulties being experienced in the school. [8082/97]

248. Mr. Dempsey asked the Minister for Education if she will grant a resource teacher on a shared basis to Portlaw national school and Ballyduff national school, County Waterford. [8083/97]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 and 248 together.

I am not in a position at present to allocate a resource teacher to the schools in question.

My capacity to allocate such posts in any given year is dependent on resource availability in that year. Ten resource teacher posts were recently allocated by my Department to schools in the primary sector. These posts were allocated on the basis of priority of need following the collection and analysis of data from primary schools by my Department's Primary inspectorate.

The special educational needs of pupils attending the schools mentioned by the Deputy will be considered in the context of any future allocation of resource teacher posts.

I have no plans at present to extend disadvantaged area status to additional primary schools.

[1677] Detailed studies of educational disadvantage conducted by the Combat Poverty Agency and the Education Research Centre concluded that disadvantaged area supports should be confined to 16 per cent of the school-going population. The studies noted that the disadvantaged areas scheme already extends to more than 17 per cent of pupils.

In line with the findings of these studies, I recently launched the Breaking the Cycle initiative which seeks to target a special package of supports on selected urban and rural schools which have been identified as suffering serious levels of educational disadvantage. The schools in question were selected by the Education Research Centre on the basis of priority of need as reflected under a range of criteria devised by the centre.

In the event of additional resources becoming available for special needs areas, the needs of the schools in question will be considered.

249. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education the proposals, if any, she has to extend the disadvantaged scheme for secondary schools in 1997; and, if so, if she will give favourable consideration to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 11. [8084/97]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): I have no plans at present to expand the disadvantaged scheme at second level. The position of this school will be considered when next it is possible to expand the scheme.