Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Education Policy

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Dublin Bay South, Labour)
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383. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department plans to undertake a universal design review of all further education and higher education institutions in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49199/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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In higher education, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning has been working to support higher education institutions in embedding universal design for learning (UDL) principles in teaching and learning practices. Student Success is one of the Forum’s priority areas, and under this strand a number of projects focusing on universal design for learning have been funded to implement UDL in specific curricula in higher education institutions.

The National Forum have incorporated a strong link to universal design in the new Seven Cs for Embedding Student Success: A Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions, which was launched in recent days. Full details available at .

To build staff capacity in UDL, a Digital Badge for UDL has been developed by Ahead and UCD for the National Forum. Last year, 650 participants took part in the Open Course developed through this initiative. The course is currently being delivered with over 1,200 participants from FET and HE.The National Forum is also currently working with UCD and AHEAD on the possible development of another course Universal Design of Student Services with an aim for it to be delivered in Autumn of 2022. A number of professional development seminars on the theme of UDL have also been delivered with support from the National Forum.

The next National Access Plan is currently in development following an extensive consultation process earlier this year. Inclusivity will be central to this Plan and the application of UDL principles in teaching and learning will be considered within this.

In further education, SOLAS, Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), and the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) across the country have progressed a series of actions to support the goal of Fostering Inclusion through the development and roll-out of a series of good practice guidelines to promote inclusion throughout FET. This included the development and publication of a conceptual framework for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for the FET Sector and a guide on UDL for practitioners. A UDL approach aims to reduce obstacles to learning by taking into account the needs of learners such as their age or the levels of their ability. This will help all learners in FET, whatever their particular needs, and will make FET as widely accessible as possible .

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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384. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which projects that fall within the aegis of his Department and are within the revised National Development Plan are at an advanced stage at present or are in course thereof; the extent to which preliminary work has taken place or on-site works are in hand or proposed; the expected delivery date of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49255/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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There are currently 74 projects at various stages of the project lifecycle across the further and higher education sectors, as set out in the table below.

While a small number of further education projects are excepted to be completed by the end of 2021 the majority of projects are due to be completed across 2022 and 2023.

Lifecycle Stage Higher Education SectorNo. of Projects Further Education SectorNo. of Projects
Design 8 22
Procurement 18 4
Contract Stage 1 1
Implementation 12 8
Totals 39 35

Photo of Cormac DevlinCormac Devlin (Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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385. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the breakdown of the proposed development of further educational and training colleges of the future specifically in relation to campuses and colleges across Dublin city and county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49274/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The new National Development Plan (NDP) provides for a step up in capital funding for the further education and training (FET) sector. It is envisaged that expenditure will increase from less than €20m last year to approximately €100m by 2025. While the previous NDP introduced, for the first time, a dedicated capital envelope for the FET sector, the new NDP will now enable a transition to a more ambitious and strategic approach to the development of FET infrastructure.

The new NDP will support the development of FET Colleges of the Future, to consolidate high quality provision in key locations, while retaining a strong community-based presence.

Significant planning work and capacity development is now required to underpin this major programme of FET investment. Specific projects will be identified following review and appraisal in line with the requirements of the Public Spending Code.

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