Categories
Education Local Issues Press Releases

25 Tipperary Schools to share in €47 million Summer Works Scheme,” Mattie McGrath 

03-05-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he is delighted to confirm that The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton will today announce the provision of €47 Million through the Summer Works Scheme, to provide for major improvements in primary and post primary schools, 25 of which are in County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking as 18 Primary and 7 Post Primary Schools within the county are set to have improvement works commenced ranging from sanitation, and mechanical to vital roof repair: 

“I am very happy for the schools that have been successfully selected for inclusion in this year’s Summer Works Scheme.

Many of the schools have been seeking funding for some considerable time and have been in urgent need of a favourable response from the Department.

The schools have tried their best to continue operating to the highest standard in the period prior to this announcement and have they demonstrated amazing determination not to let sub-standard conditions interfere with the excellent work they do for the children and pupils.

We need this kind of Scheme expanded however and we need to develop a more efficient fast tracked approach for schools that are in urgent need of repair.

The grants announced today will certainly go some way toward bringing relief to so many Principals throughout the county who are trying to juggle school priorities with applications of this sort,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END

 

Categories
Community Education Local Issues Press Releases

“25 Tipperary Schools to share in €47 million Summer Works Scheme,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“25 Tipperary Schools to share in €47 million Summer Works Scheme,” Mattie McGrath

03-05-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he is delighted to confirm that The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton will today announce the provision of €47 Million through the Summer Works Scheme, to provide for major improvements in primary and post primary schools, 25 of which are in County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking as 18 Primary and 7 Post Primary Schools within the county are set to have improvement works commenced ranging from sanitation, and mechanical to vital roof repair:

“I am very happy for the schools that have been successfully selected for inclusion in this year’s Summer Works Scheme.

Many of the schools have been seeking funding for some considerable time and have been in urgent need of a favourable response from the Department.

The schools have tried their best to continue operating to the highest standard in the period prior to this announcement and have they demonstrated amazing determination not to let sub-standard conditions interfere with the excellent work they do for the children and pupils.

We need this kind of Scheme expanded however and we need to develop a more efficient fast tracked approach for schools that are in urgent need of repair.

The grants announced today will certainly go some way toward bringing relief to so many Principals throughout the county who are trying to juggle school priorities with applications of this sort,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END

 

Categories
Education

PQ on New DEIS Programme

QUESTION NO: 182

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton) 

by Deputy Mattie McGrath

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 21/02/2017  

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide all of the information used in the assessment of primary schools in County Tipperary under the new DEIS programme; the reason the five primary schools in Tipperary town were excluded from the programme; if these schools can be reexamined for inclusion under the DEIS programme in view of the level of disadvantage in Tipperary town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

REPLY.

A key element of DEIS Plan 2017 Plan is the availability of a new identification process for the assessment of schools for inclusion in DEIS using centrally held CSO and DES data.

The key data sources are the DES Primary Online Database (POD) and Post-Primary Online (PPOD) Databases, and CSO data from the National Census of Population as represented in the Pobal HP Index for Small Areas which is a method of measuring the relative affluence or disadvantage of a particular geographical area. Variables used in the compilation of the HP Index include those related to demographic growth, social class composition and labour market situation. This data is combined with pupil data, anonymised and aggregated to small area, to provide information on the relative level of concentrated disadvantage present in the pupil cohort of individual schools. Further information on the development of the identification process is available in the DEIS Review report which can be found on my Department’s website at http://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/

In its initial application, the new identification model has identified that there are schools in disadvantaged areas, not previously included in DEIS, whose level of disadvantage is significantly higher than many schools already in the programme. Accordingly, we are moving as a first step to include these schools within the DEIS School Support Programme.

Schools included in the list published by the Department on 13th February are those whose level of concentrated disadvantage has been identified as being at the same level as the current DEIS category for schools serving the highest concentrations of disadvantage.

Schools which have not been included at this stage, including the schools referred to by the Deputy, are those which have not been identified as having the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage amongst their pupil cohort, under the new model which is fair and objective.

The new DEIS Plan provides for a verification process and any school wishing to seek verification of the information used to assess the level of disadvantage of its pupil cohort may submit an application for same to social_inclusion@education.gov.ie

It is important to note that the school details published on 13th February represent a first step in the application of the assessment process to support pupils in schools with the highest concentrations of disadvantage. I am fully aware that there are further schools whose concentrated level of disadvantage may not be at the highest level, but may nevertheless be at a level which warrants additional supports for pupils under DEIS.

However, as noted in the DEIS Plan, the implementation of a new objective central data-based model of identifying levels of disadvantage within school populations will be followed by a further programme of work to create a more dynamic model where levels of resource more accurately follow the levels of need identified by that model.

Once this work has been completed, consideration will be given to extending DEIS supports to a further group of schools as resources permit.

In delivering on the DEIS Plan 2017 we must be conscious that there are ongoing changes in demographics which may be more marked in some areas than others. Populations in some areas have changed considerably since schools were originally evaluated for inclusion in DEIS in 2006. The new model may reveal that some schools currently included in DEIS have a level of disadvantage within their school population much lower than that in some schools not included within DEIS. If this turns out to be the case, then we must consider whether it is fair that those schools continue receiving these additional resources, using resources that may be more fairly allocated to the schools with greater levels of disadvantage.

It is important to note that the fact that a school has not been included in the DEIS programme on this occasion does not preclude its inclusion at a later date, should its level of disadvantage warrant the allocation of additional resources.

 

Categories
Education Local Issues Press Releases

“DEIS Plan announcement is a hammer blow to Tipperary Schools,” Mattie McGrath 

14-02-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton to conduct an immediate review of the criteria under which schools are included in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) Plan. Deputy McGrath was speaking after 5 schools in Tipperary Town were controversially excluded from the new DEIS school support programme which will be implemented from September 2017:

“I think yesterday’s announcement by the Minister was the clearest indication yet that the criteria used to select schools for DEIS status are bordering on useless.

The Department of Education itself acknowledges that the methodology used to assess the schools is flawed and incomplete and does not accurately represent the level of need that exists in certain educational communities.

The five schools in Tipperary Town that were desperately hoping for the increased resource allocations are left completely distraught at this decision not to included them.

We know that areas of North Tipperary and indeed South Tipperary suffer from severe levels of deprivation. This decision by the Department and the Minister will do absolutely nothing to try and reverse that situation.

I can understand the enormous frustration that is being felt but I want to assure all the schools who were excluded that I will work, in conjunction with all my Tipperary colleagues to ensure that this situation is remedied at the earliest opportunity,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

 

Categories
Community Education Health Local Issues Press Releases

“Schools faced at least 900 Critical Incidents in less than a decade,” Mattie McGrath

25-01-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton to guarantee all necessary funding that Primary and Post –Primary Schools may require for the implementation of the Critical Incident Policy (CIP) mechanism. Deputy McGrath was speaking after figures provided to him following a Parliamentary Question to the Minister showed that since 2009 schools have implemented the CIP 899 times excluding 2016, figures for which are not yet available: 

“A Critical Incident is defined as an incident, or series of events, that overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school.

The kinds of critical incidents experienced by schools includes suicide or suspected suicide, death due to violence, accidental death including road traffic accidents and drowning, and death through illness.

The ultimate aim of the process is to return the school to normality.

What I want to ensure that is the Minister will respond positively to any request from schools seeking to develop strategies relating to positive mental health for children and young adults and suicide prevention approaches.

We know that some of the recent very high profile cases involving the tragic deaths of children by murder-suicide have triggered the Critical Incident Policy.

What is less appreciated is that schools have been facing over a hundred very traumatic events every year since 2010/11.

I would like further guarantees that any costs incurred by implementing the CIP will not fall back on already over-stretched schools.

In the meantime I can only salute the absolute professionalism and compassion of the Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)and those teachers who respond to these events right across the country,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

25-01-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton to guarantee all necessary funding that Primary and Post –Primary Schools may require for the implementation of the Critical Incident Policy (CIP) mechanism. Deputy McGrath was speaking after figures provided to him following a Parliamentary Question to the Minister showed that since 2009 schools have implemented the CIP 899 times excluding 2016, figures for which are not yet available: 

“A Critical Incident is defined as an incident, or series of events, that overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school.

The kinds of critical incidents experienced by schools includes suicide or suspected suicide, death due to violence, accidental death including road traffic accidents and drowning, and death through illness.

The ultimate aim of the process is to return the school to normality.

What I want to ensure that is the Minister will respond positively to any request from schools seeking to develop strategies relating to positive mental health for children and young adults and suicide prevention approaches.

We know that some of the recent very high profile cases involving the tragic deaths of children by murder-suicide have triggered the Critical Incident Policy.

What is less appreciated is that schools have been facing over a hundred very traumatic events every year since 2010/11.

I would like further guarantees that any costs incurred by implementing the CIP will not fall back on already over-stretched schools.

In the meantime I can only salute the absolute professionalism and compassion of the Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)and those teachers who respond to these events right across the country,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

 

Categories
ASD Autism Education Local Issues Press Releases

Parliamentary Question on the need for further ASD Units in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

QUESTION NO: 105

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton) 

by Deputy Mattie McGrath

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 18/01/2017  

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the efforts being made to ensure that children that are currently attending an ASD unit at preschool level will have their needs met in their communities at primary school level; his plans to develop ASD Units at primary level in Clonmel, County Tipperary; his further plans to develop an ASD unit at second level which is accessible for girls in Clonmel, County Tipperary; the detail of the current need for such units based on the number of children diagnosed with autism in Clonmel, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

REPLY.

The Deputy will be aware that this Government is committed to ensuring that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.

In respect of children with ASD who cannot be accommodated in mainstream education, they may be enrolled in special classes or special schools where more intensive and supportive interventions are provided.

There are approximately 14,000 students with ASD in the school system.

• 63% are educated in mainstream classes

• 23% are educated in special classes in mainstream primary and post-primary schools; and

• 14% are educated in special schools

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource teachers and special needs assistants to schools to support students with Special Educational Needs, including Autism. It is also the role of the NCSE to make appropriate arrangements to establish special classes in schools in communities where the need for such classes has been identified.

Special classes for children with ASD within mainstream schools are intended for children who, by virtue of their level of Special Educational Needs, cannot reasonably be educated in a mainstream class setting, but who can still attend their local school in a special class with a lower pupil–teacher ratio of 6:1 at primary level and 6:1.5 at post primary level, and also have Special Needs Assistant support normally amounting to 2 SNAs for a class of 6 children.

Progress in developing this network has been significant and in addition to the special school placements there are currently 1,153 special classes throughout the country at primary and post primary level of which 889 are for children with Autism. Of these, 127 are ASD early intervention classes, 525 are primary ASD classes and 237 are post-primary ASD classes.

There are 42 ASD classes in Co. Tipperary, including 8 Early Intervention Classes for children who are not yet school going age, 20 primary school classes and 14 post primary level classes in mainstream schools. This results in the provision of 48 places in early intervention classes, 120 places for primary school pupils and 84 places for post primary pupils in Co. Tipperary. There are currently 5 ASD special classes at primary level in Clonmel.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs, including those in Co. Tipperary, are available on www.ncse.ie in county order.

The NCSE, in consultation with the relevant education partners, must take into account the present and future potential need, location and sustainability in looking to establish special classes in certain areas. In this regard the NCSE has advised that they are continuing to engage with schools in the area referred to by the Deputy in opening special classes where there is an identified need for special class provision.

The NCSE recently launched guidelines for Boards of Management and Principals of Primary and Post Primary schools which provide information on setting up and organising special classes. These guidelines are available to download from www.ncse.ie.