Written Answers - School Staffing.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 682 No. 4

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  183.  Deputy Frank Feighan  Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   if he will guarantee that the present complement of special needs assistants will be retained in schools in County Roscommon and County Leitrim; and if he will provide a breakdown of the number in each school. [19570/09]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  As the Deputy will be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers, for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special needs. The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in allocating such support. Applications for SNAs may be considered by the NCSE where a pupil has a significant medical need for such assistance and where there are identified care needs arising from a diagnosed disability. A pupil’s level of care may diminish over time as the child matures. Pupils may move to a different school or to post-primary school. In such situations, the NCSE will review and adjust the SNA support required in the school. This may mean that some pupils who had previously been supported by a full time SNA may have their needs met through the shared support of an SNA or perhaps they may have no need for SNA support. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may contact their local Special Educational Needs Organiser directly to discuss their child’s special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie. There are 55 and 126 whole-time equivalent SNAs in primary and post-primary schools in counties Leitrim and Roscommon respectively. My Department will be in further contact with the Deputy in relation to a more detailed breakdown.

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