Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 598 No. 5

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  338.  Mr. Wall  Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   if she will report on the pension rights of special needs assistants employed in post-primary education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6567/05]

Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  I can confirm that, arising from the provisions of the Protection of Employees (Part-time [1279]Work) Act 2001, special needs assistants in second level schools are eligible for admission to pensionability in accordance with standard public service arrangements. A circular letter which will set out the detailed arrangements for such admission is being prepared and it is expected that it will be issued to schools in the next few weeks.

  339.  Mr. Wall  Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   the number of special needs assistants employed in post-primary or secondary schools in County Kildare; the rates of pay for special needs assistants; the hours they are entitled to work; the regulations that are determined by her Department in regard to the employment of special needs assistants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6570/05]

Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  To date, my Department has allocated a total of 17.39 whole-time equivalent special needs assistants at post-primary level in County Kildare, with 9.51 at VEC schools, 4.95 at secondary schools and 2.93 at community and comprehensive schools.

While approval for the post of special needs assistant is granted by my Department, the appointment of individual special needs assistants in second level schools is a matter for each school authority. With effect from 1 January 2005, special needs assistants employed in voluntary secondary, community and comprehensive schools are now paid directly through my Department’s centralised payroll system. They are paid on an incremental salary scale with part-time special needs assistants paid a salary based on the hours that they actually work. A copy of the circular outlining these arrangements is attached for the Deputy’s information. This circular also includes details of the salary scale applicable to special needs assistants from 1 December 2004.

I will provide for the Deputy’s information, a further circular issued in January advising vocational education committees of revised pay arrangements for special needs assistants.

  340.  Mr. F. McGrath  Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   the name of the second level school on the north side of Dublin that is providing a service for students with Asperger’s syndrome; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6605/05]

Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  My Department is actively engaged in pursuing the development of a second level programme for children with Asperger’s syndrome on Dublin’s north side. A letter outlining proposals regarding the establishment of a unit for pupils with Asperger’s syndrome has recently issued to St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Fairview,
Dublin 3.

  341.  Mr. P. Breen  Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   the evidence of care needs [1280]which is required by her Department in relation to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6611/05]

Minister for Education and Science (Ms. Hanafin): Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  I wish to advise the Deputy that special needs assistants, SNAs, may be approved to support pupils who have a significant medical need for assistance, a significant impairment of physical or sensory function or where their behaviour is such that they are a danger to themselves or other pupils. The criteria used for the assessment of the need for SNA support is outlined in my Department’s circular 07/02. I am making arrangements to have a copy of the circular furnished to the Deputy.


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