Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Special Educational Needs

10:50 am

Photo of Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireDonnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Perhaps it is the NCSE that applies the criteria, but the buck stops with the Minister of State in terms of policy and the terms and conditions and pay of SNAs. They have a significant impact on whether we can get SNAs through the system, that is, whether we can recruit and keep them. She mentioned that in the case of new and developing schools, the allocation has been frozen, but that is precisely the problem. There is a degree of additionality but nothing near what is required. There are schools that are growing year on year which, at the start of Covid, may have had only two year groups and that have expanded well beyond that. The additionality they have been able to get is nowhere near enough. New schools that are growing fast are at the sharp end of this. They do not have anywhere near enough, in most instances. The Minister of State mentioned the course in UCD and there have always been issues with its accreditation. We need to start showing SNAs more respect if we want to keep them in the system in order that we will have the SNAs we need to support children.


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