Dáil Éireann - Volume 535 - 02 May, 2001

Written Answers - School Staffing.

224. Mr. P. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will review his Department's position regarding not allocating an additional teacher to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in view of the need to cater for the very high number of Traveller children which the school accommodates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12434/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): I launched the new programme, Giving Children An Even Break, in January to deal with educational disadvantage in primary schools. Schools participating in the new programme are eligible to receive a range of additional supports, including teacher posts and financial supports to be targeted at disadvantaged pupils. The additional supports to be provided reflect the level of concentration of pupils from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds in each school invited to participate in the new programme.

There are separate urban and rural dimensions to the new programme. Schools categorised as urban with the highest concentrations of at risk pupils will be supported where necessary over the three-year period through staff allocations to implement a pupil teacher ratio of 20:1 in the junior classes infants through second class and a pupil teacher ratio of 29:1 in senior classes third through sixth classes.

All schools participating in the new programme will also receive financial support for the delivery of targeted in-school and out-of-school activities.

The school referred to by the Deputy is included in the urban dimension of the new programme. The school will receive supplementary grant aid of £2,431 towards providing additional educational supports for the children concerned in respect of the current school year. The school in question was considered for additional teaching staff but it was established that the school already has sufficient teaching staff to implement the maximum class size guidelines of 20:1 in junior classes and 29:1 in senior classes in respect of the current and forthcoming school year.

The school referred to by the Deputy has two permanent resource teachers for Travellers. I have asked my Department's inspectorate to review the educational needs of the Traveller pupils in the school.