Written Answers - Special Educational Needs

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 756 No. 2

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  254.  Deputy Micheál Martin  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   asked the Minister for Education and Skills  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   if a school (details supplied) will retain all of its special needs assistant posts this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9749/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I wish to advise the Deputy that the position in relation to this matter is as set out to him in my reply of 31st January, 2012. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in allocating such support. This now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.

The NCSE has advised all mainstream schools, including the school referred to by the Deputy, of their SNA allocation for the current school year, taking into account the care needs of qualifying pupils attending the school. The NCSE recently published statistical information on SNA allocations on a county by county and school by school basis on its website www.ncse.ie.

The Deputy will also be aware that Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are recruited specifically to assist in the care of pupils with disabilities in an educational context. SNA allocations are not permanent as the level of SNA support allocated to a school may be increased or decreased as pupils who qualify for SNA support enrol or leave a school or where a child’s care needs may have diminished over time. The allocation of SNAs in each school can therefore alter from year to year.

Schools have been invited to make applications to the NCSE for SNA support for the 2012/13 school year by 16th March, 2012. They will then subsequently be advised of their allocation for the next school year, based on the number of valid applications received and the extent of the care needs of qualifying children.

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