Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Department of Education and Science
Question 247: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if a new school (details supplied) in County Offaly only in operation since September 2004, will be able to retain its second teacher; the criteria being applied to this school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28532/04]
Question 250: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if the second teacher allocated to a school (details supplied) in County Offaly can be retained in view of the fact that pupil numbers are high enough to warrant two teachers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28542/04]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 and 250 together.
The enrolment required on 30 September 2004 for the appointment of the first mainstream class teacher in new schools for the 2004-05 school year is 20 pupils. This is in accordance with guidelines agreed between my Department and the education partners. The enrolment of the school referred to by the Deputy on 30 September 2004 was 17 pupils, which entitled the school to a staffing of a principal teacher only.
To ensure transparency and openness in the system, an independent appeals board is now in place to decide on any appeals on mainstream staffing. The staffing of the school in question for the 2004-05 school year was considered by the appeals board on 21 October 2004. The board rejected the appeal and the board of management of the school was notified accordingly. The decision of the appeals board is final and must be implemented. However, to allow for an orderly implementation of that decision, I have decided that the mainstream class teacher post will not be withdrawn from the school until the end of the current school term.