Education Minister cannot allow current impasse at St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point to continue – BREEN.

September 29th, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen is urging the Education and Science Minister Batt O’Keeffe to meet a delegation comprising the four Clare Oireachtas Members and representatives of the Management, Staff and Board of Management of St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point in an effort to resolve the on-going situation at the School.

Deputy Breen’s calls follow last Friday night’s public meeting at the School.

“The Minister must sit down with all interested parties with a view to resolving this matter. The current impasse simply cannot continue and is an unwelcome distraction to the students and teachers at the school at the beginning of the new school term.”

“I raised this matter by way of parliamentary question with the Minister for Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe last week. In his response the Minister lays the blame with the School saying that “it is a matter for the school to employ teachers up to the limit of its approved allocation”, however, the Minister cannot wash his hands of this situation particularly in the absence of National Redeployment Scheme which would go a long way in resolving the current situation.”

“Withdrawing the subjects of music, metalwork, technical graphics, technical drawing and engineering is a retrograde step for the students who want to pursue careers in these areas. This year for instance students studying these subjects received outstanding results and in my view both of the teachers who have achieved these results should be reinstated at the school so that this good work can continue.”

“The Minister has agreed to reinstate these subjects to Exam Students at the School, this does not go far enough, he must now review this decision and make all four subjects available for all students attending the school.”


See Parliamentary Question Underneath for your information.



Ceist Pharlaiminte



Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha

To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Science if he will reinstate classes in

four subjects to all students at a school (details supplied) in County Clare;

and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point



* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 25th September, 2008.

Reference Number: 31822/08




Minister for Education and Science (Batt O’Keeffe, T.D.)

Teacher allocations to all second level schools are approved annually by my

Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil

enrolment. In accordance with these rules each school management authority is

required to organise its subject options within the limit of its approved

teacher allocation. It is a matter for the school to employ teachers up to the

limit of its approved allocation and at its discretion to deploy those teachers

to the subject areas that the school chooses to provide.


A school authority may from time to time encounter unanticipated difficulty

which it has not been in a position to immediately resolve, through its school

planning and management processes in meeting essential curricular commitments

to pupils within the normal staffing allocation. In such circumstances, my

Department will consider requests by a school authority for a staffing

concession as short-term support.

Over the past five years the school referred to by the Deputy had on average

four teachers more than it was entitled to for a school of its size. Over and

above that, the Department granted additional teaching hours to the school to

enable particular subjects to be taught. These concessions were approved on

the basis of allowing the school time to action a plan of curricular and

timetable adjustments to enable the school to operate within its approved

allocation limits.


This year such a request was not approved for this school on the basis that the

school had been allocated concessions in previous years, had adequate

opportunity to re-organise its subject options, had taken no effective action

to operate within its allocation and continued to have more than three teachers

in excess of its entitlement.


An Independent Appeals Committee considers appeals by school authorities

against decisions of my Department in regard to allocations of teaching staff.

The Appeals Committee operates independently of my Department.

The school appealed to the Independent Appeals Committee and its appeal was not


The school continued to make representations and has not given any indication

that it is prepared to contemplate making any adjustments now or in the future.

The school’s inaction has resulted in a situation where a number of students

preparing for the State Examinations could be left without teachers in certain

subjects. Notwithstanding the fact that the Appeals Committee had completed

its work, my Department as a totally exceptional measure has made additional

teaching hours available to the school to enable it cater for examination

students in these classes. This has been done in the interest of the students

concerned while the Department continues to have an ongoing concern about the

failure of this school to manage within its approved teacher allocation.