Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Dáil Eireann Debate
Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Coughlan): The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) was established to co-ordinate the delivery of services at local and national level for students with special educational needs. This co-ordination occurs through a network of 89 Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) posts, including 12 Senior SENO positions based in over 40 NCSE offices throughout the State.
SENOs are employed by the NCSE. The NCSE is also responsible for the deployment of SENOs. I understand that there has been a SENO vacancy in the area referred to by the Deputy, arising from a resignation in August 2009. The NCSE has advised my Department that it arranges for appropriate cover in circumstances where SENO vacancies arise. The NCSE has also advised my Department that it has recruited an additional SENO and is currently in the process of assigning a member of staff to fill the vacant post in question.
The Deputy is aware that Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 provides for the independent assessment of health needs of persons arising from a disability and also, where appropriate, the education services to be provided. The Act sets out the role of the NCSE in this regard. In June 2007, Part 2 of the Act was commenced for children less than 5 years of age. The NCSE processes requests for assistance for such children following receipt of applications submitted by Health Service Executive (HSE) Assessment Officers. The Deputy may wish to contact my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children or the HSE directly in relation to the reference to children awaiting assessments in the details provided with his question.
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