Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Education and Skills
Dara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
Question 168: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will advise of the panel rights of special needs assistants and the level of job security an SNA may expect after three or four years service. [17014/11]
Ruairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
Firstly, I wish to clarify for the Deputy that Special Needs Assistant (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. They are also decreased where a childâ€™s care needs may have diminished over time. There is therefore no panel system in place for SNAs.
A Special Needs Assistant whose post is surplus to the approved allocation to the school may be entitled to a redundancy payment under the terms of circular 58/2006 - titled Redundancy Arrangements for Special Need Assistants. Support to SNAs who may have been made redundant is provided for within the terms of this scheme.
The recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual Principal/Board of Management. The Board is the SNAâ€™s employer and the terms of employment are subject to the conditions of the contract of employment.
The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Departmentâ€™s criteria in allocating such support, which now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.
The NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for SNA support for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of SNA support to eligible schools.
The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and are currently in the process of informing schools of their annual SNA allocation for the coming school year.