Written answers

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Department of Education and Skills

School Staffing

6:00 pm

Photo of Áine CollinsÁine Collins (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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Question 201: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when a special needs assistant finishes in a school will they be put on a panel for their next job; and if not, the way same will operate. [11670/11]

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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Firstly, I wish to advise 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 child's care needs may have diminished over time. There are no plans to introduce a panel for SNA's.

I wish to advise the Deputy also that the recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual Principal/Board of Management. The Board is the SNA's employer and the terms of employment are subject to the conditions of the contract of employment.

The Deputy may 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 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 issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools.

The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

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