Dáil Éireann - Volume 669 - 04 December, 2008
Written Answers. - Departmental Statistics.
Deputy Kathleen Lynch Deputy Kathleen Lynch
Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason his Department claims to compile statistics on primary schools on a county basis, as in Parliamen tary Question No. 173 of 20 November 2008, yet cannot compile statistics on the number of prefabs each school has; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44341/08]
Deputy Batt O’Keeffe Deputy Batt O’Keeffe
Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: The types of data collected in my Department’s Annual Census of Primary schools include information on pupils’ age, standard and class, data on entrants, leavers, learning support, pupil retention and teacher data. The Census also collects information on pupils with special educational needs in special classes and special schools.
When all school returns have been processed, a series of statistical tables is produced giving information on indicators such as overall enrolment in primary schools, average class size, teacher numbers and pupil teacher ratios. Schools in my Department’s database are coded fully by county and data are currently published on a county by county basis.
In designing the census to be completed by schools, it is necessary to strike a balance between gathering a large amount of information and reducing the administrative burden on schools by ensuring that the census is not unnecessarily onerous or time-consuming to complete. In this regard, my Department focuses on key data which is known to change on an annual basis, such as pupil numbers.
While it may be desirable to gather other data, this must be done in a cost effective manner. Similarly, the information gathered must be managed effectively and my Department has been developing its information management systems, within the context of the limited administrative and financial resources available.
As part of the Data Strategy, my Department has committed to reducing the administrative burden on schools where possible. To ask schools to supply data regarding their school buildings on an annual basis would significantly increase their existing administrative burden.
While comprehensive information on temporary accommodation in schools is held on individual school files, my Department did not in the past have these details available in a format that provided readily accessible cumulative information on the overall position regarding temporary accommodation. However, this issue is being addressed and work on compiling a comprehensive database of such information will be completed shortly. This work is part of a general review of rental policy being undertaken. Information has already been collected and is being collated on approximately 900 schools which had received approval from the Department for temporary accommodation — including but not limited to prefabs.
The database of temporary accommodation that is currently being finalised will inform my Department’s future decision-making in this area.
Dáil Éireann 669 Written Answers. Departmental Statistics.