Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 27 June, 2007
Written Answers. - Languages Programme.
Deputy James Reilly Deputy James Reilly
Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will examine and reconsider the regulations regarding the supply of language support teachers for national schools to help them cope with the range of nationalities attending the schools in particular the regulation regarding 13 pupils per language teacher; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18175/07]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: In order to meet the language needs of students in our schools whose first language is not English or Irish, additional support is given to their schools which can take the form of financial assistance, additional teaching posts or portions of posts.
The level of extra financial or teaching support provided to any school is determined by the numbers of eligible non-English speaking students enrolled. I indicated in January last that the limit of two teachers per school and the limit of two years’ support to an individual pupil which had applied up to then, will no longer apply. As a result, an individual school may be allocated up to six language support posts under the arrangements now in place.
Schools with between 3 and 13 eligible pupils receive grant assistance towards the cost of employing part-time teachers. Schools with 3 to 8 such pupils receive a grant of over €6,300, while schools with between 10 and 13 such pupils receive over €9,500. Schools with 14 or more such pupils are entitled to one or more language support teachers, the number of which has increased dramatically in recent years. There are now approximately 1,450 language support teachers in our schools. This compares with just 262 posts in the 2001/02 school year.
In line with the Government’s commitments under the ‘Towards 2016’ partnership agreement, a further 350 language support teachers will be provided between 2008 and 2009. In order to ensure that schools can accurately and objectively assess the language requirement of children, my Department will be sending to schools assessment materials which have been developed by Integrate Ireland Language and Training (IILT). The assessment materials will enable schools to ensure that the specific language requirements of children needing support are met in a targeted way. The IILT materials will also enable accurate initial and on-going assessment of the language proficiency of the child and his or her need for continued language support.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. Languages Programme.