Written answers

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Department of Education and Skills

Home Tuition Scheme

Photo of Thomas ByrneThomas Byrne (Meath East, Fianna Fail)
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90. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of home tuition grants which were not processed within two weeks of receipt; the number of applications received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39172/19]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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My Departments Special Education Home Tuition Grant scheme provides funding towards a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement for whom such a placement is not available. The scheme also provides for early intervention for children with Autism.

The application forms and related Circular for this year’s scheme were published on the 8th August 2019. Last year, the forms and circular were published on the 26th July 2018.

Applications forms must be signed by the NCSE local SENO to confirm that no placement is currently available for a child. SENOs are processing home tuition applications as a matter of urgency.

My Department also provides a Home Tuition Scheme for students, enrolled in schools, with significant medical conditions which has caused, and is likely to continue to cause, major disruption to their attendance at school. These applications can be complex and need to be considered on their individual merits.

The Home Tuition Schemes outline that it may take my Department up to 15 working days to process complete home tuition applications. All complete applications have been processed within this timeframe.

My Department has prioritised the processing of home tuition applications and the vast majority of complete applications were processed within a shorter timeframe.

Details of the number of complete applications received and processed are outlined in the following table.

Number of completed receivedApproved Being Processed
Medical 14566
Early Intervention 27524
SEN school aged no placement12414
Total 54483

The operation of the Home Tuition Grant Scheme is reviewed annually. Officials in my Department will review the operation of the 2019/20 Home Tuition Grant Scheme which will take into consideration any issues arising during the school year.


Sinead C Kavanagh
Posted on 30 Sep 2019 4:59 pm (Report this comment)

Thomas Byrne, perhaps you could also ask Minister McHugh, what he is going to do with all the money his Department has saved in home tuition payments that will never be paid to the tutors, nor spent on additional hours sanctioned for the students involved in the unacceptable delays.
At a rough guestimate, based on previously given figures of 584 under 5's and a guess at 1,500 students over the age of 5 years, there has been a potential saving of over €4m to the Department over the past three weeks. These are very rough estimations but suffice to say the 'savings' have been considerable. Where can these students expect to see their unused tuition fees, reallocated to? Will they see more school places in special units of special education schools? Will the students' parents receive a once-off grant in order to purchase vital educational equipment which they cannot access outside of the school settings? Will Home Tutors receive a tax break for the loss of earnings due to the inefficiencies of the grants office in Athlone? Perhaps tutors will be given the opportunity to provide a reduced amount of cover during mid-terms and holidays in order to recoup some of their lost earnings?
Or will the Department just keep the money? Let it be reabsorbed into the black hole of the Children's Hospital Money Pit?
Please ask Minister McHugh, what he plans to do with all that money he has 'saved'.

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