Thursday, 18 October 2007
Mary Hanafin (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
The allocation was made on the condition it would reach the required enrolment by 30 September 2007. The school wrote to the Department stating it had not reached the enrolment.
Notwithstanding this, there is an independent appeals process. There are two times when this adjudication panel meets: the first is when the original allocations are made early in the summer and the second when schools apply for a review in the first week of October, as I understand it. The independent panel is genuinely independent of the Department of Education and Science and the Minister. Were any Minister to get involved with an individual school, not only would the Minister have 4,000 schools coming after him or her, but 165 Deputies, 60 Senators and everyone else would do so also. That would not be an objective way to allocate teachers.
The allocations are not made on the basis that the pupils are newcomers or do not have English as a first language. There are classes throughout west County Dublin which hardly have native-born Irish pupils due to arrival of many newcomers. Teachers are not allocated on that basis.
I suggested to the principal of the boys school that he should indicate increased numbers were arriving and that he knew this for a fact. He indicated to me that the class guidelines under the Giving Children an Even Break scheme would be broken but that he still would not have very large classes when compared to others. However, he is making his appeal on the basis of newcomers arriving and the fact that he genuinely thought he would have them. Many schools——