Tuesday, 17 May 2005
Department of Education and Science
Question 367: To ask the Minister for Education and Science the amounts spent by her Department in 2003 and 2004 and the amount projected to be spent in 2005 on the five special schools for young offenders; the amount spent on operations, on capital works and on teaching staff; if she has satisfied herself that the budget allocations to the schools are sufficient, particularly having regard to capital development; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16313/05]
Question 368: To ask the Minister for Education and Science the state of progress of the capital redevelopment programme planned for the residential schools for young offenders at Lusk, County Dublin; the timeframe envisaged for the implementation of this programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16314/05]
Question 369: To ask the Minister for Education and Science the number of admissions of children to the special schools for young offenders and the number of personnel employed in same for the years 2003, 2004 and to date; her views on whether the staffing rate is sufficient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16315/05]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 367 to 369, inclusive, together.
The position is that €31.5 million was spent on the five special schools for young offenders in 2003 and €30.2 million was spent in 2004. Of the €31.5 million spent in 2003, €25 million was spent on operations, €4.7 million was spent on capital and €1.8 million on teaching staff. Of the €30.2 million spent in 2004, €26.2 million was spent on operations, while €2 million each was spent on capital and teaching staff. The combined projected expenditure for 2005 is expected to be in the region of €33.4 million. A considerable amount of capital investment has been undertaken by my Department and further investment is required in the schools for young offenders to ensure that they meet obligations under the Children Act 2001 in addition to ensuring they meet modern child care standards in accordance with best practice internationally.
In consultation with the joint board of management of the schools, my Department is considering the overall development needs of the campus and a firm of consultant architects has been appointed to draw up proposals. The resulting campus masterplan will take account of the anticipated number of remand and committal places required, the provision for boys and girls, their educational and recreational needs, as well as the implications of shorter periods of detention envisaged under the Children Act 2001. The intention is that the masterplan will provide the basis for the phased development of the campus on a priority basis as resources permit. In addition, there is ongoing capital expenditure on urgent interim building works.
At end of December 2003, there were 86 children in the five special schools and a total of 546 staff employed. At the end of March 2004, there were 90 children in the schools and 535 staff employed. At the end of March 2005, there were 83 children in the special schools and 526 staff employed. My Department proposes to keep the level of staffing in the schools under regular review.