Dáil Éireann - Volume 546 - 13 December, 2001
Written Answers. - Educational Disadvantage.
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
291. Mr. McDowell asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to an application for assistance by a school (details supplied) in Dublin 3 under a new scheme, entitled Giving Children an Even Break by Tackling Disadvantage; and if it is possible for an appeal to be heard. [32338/01]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The Deputy refers to the new pro gramme, entitled Giving Children an Even Break by Tackling Disadvantage, which I launched earlier this year to deal with educational disadvantage in primary schools. The schools targeted under the programme were identified through a comprehensive and objective survey of all primary schools carried out in March/April 2000 by the Educational Research Centre, Drumcondra, on my Department's behalf.
There are separate urban and rural dimensions to the 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 to second class, and a ratio of 29:1 in senior classes, that is third class through to sixth class.
Schools participating in the 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 programme. Schools already in receipt of additional resources under the disadvantaged areas scheme, including the school in question, will retain their entitlements.
The school referred to by the Deputy is included in the urban dimension of the new programme. The school has received supplementary grant aid of £1,860 in respect of the 2000-2001 school year and it is eligible to receive £1,733 in respect of the 2001-2002 school year, towards providing additional educational supports for the children concerned. This funding is in addition to the £7,020 for 2000-2001 and £6,540 for 2001-2002 that the school received under the disadvantaged areas scheme. The school was not considered eligible for additional teaching staff based on the level of concentration of at-risk pupils in the schools as reflected in the ERC survey outcome.
Where schools expressed concern about the outcome of the survey in respect of their school, they were advised to make representations to my Department outlining their circumstances. Schools were informed that these representations would then be referred to the ERC for consideration and my Department would then consider the position of these schools. My Department has now received a report from the ERC. The position of those schools that made representations is currently under consideration.
There is no record of representations having been received from the school until recently and, accordingly, the position of the school was not considered. The circumstances of the school may fall to be considered again in the context of any future modifications to the programme.
Dáil Éireann 546 Written Answers. Educational Disadvantage.