Dáil Éireann - Volume 523 - 11 October, 2000
Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.
Mr. Wall Mr. Wall
296. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide an interpreter to a school (details supplied) in County Kildare to permit the school personnel deal with a new pupil who has no English; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21686/00]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): My Department does not provide funding in respect of interpreters in mainstream primary schools. However, earlier this year a major new initiative to ensure that there is appropriate educational provision in place for non-English speaking pupils at primary school level was announced.
 The new initiative ensures that primary schools that have 15 or more non-national pupils with significant English language deficits are automatically entitled to an additional temporary teacher for a period of up to two years. Schools with 30 or more such pupils are entitled to two temporary teachers. Where two schools operate on one campus and have 15 or more such pupils they are entitled to an additional temporary teacher on a shared basis. Schools eligible for additional teacher(s) also receive a once-off grant of £200.
Primary schools in which between four and 14, inclusive, non-English speaking non-national pupils are enrolled receive grant assistance from my Department. Schools with between four and nine such pupils receive grant assistance in the amount of £5,000 while schools with between ten and 14 receive grant assistance in the amount of £7,500. This grant aid is intended to enable schools to take appropriate measures to improve the standard of English of non-national pupils with significant English language deficits.
Schools with three or fewer such pupils would be expected to provide for the educational provisions of those pupils from their existing resources.
The school referred to by the Deputy has not, to date, applied in writing for funding under the terms of this scheme although I understand that the terms of the scheme were explained to it in a telephone call to officials in the primary administration section of my Department in Athlone.
It would seem from the information available to me that the school does not qualify for funding under the terms of the scheme as it has less than four non-English speaking non-national pupils enrolled. However if the school wants to submit an official application for assistance to my Department, any such application will receive due consideration.
Dáil Éireann 523 Written Answers. Special Educational Needs.