Written answers

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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234. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the allocation of a special needs assistants in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; when they will be entitled to a review of the latest decision in relation to the allocation of their SNA hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25141/13]

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools. SNAs are allocated to schools in order to provide for the care needs of children with special educational needs attending such schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department.

The NCSE allocates a quantum of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the care needs of all of the qualifying children enrolled in the school, and on the basis of the assessed care needs of the children. It is a matter for schools to then allocate and manage these resources to assist children as their needs arise. All schools were advised to apply to the NCSE for SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March 2013. The NCSE are currently processing these applications and schools will be notified by SENOs of their SNA allocations for 2013/14 in advance of the coming school year, based on the number of valid applications received.

Where a school considers that it has not received a sufficient quantum of SNA support to cater for the care needs of all qualifying children, the school may apply to the NCSE for additional SNA support or for a review of their SNA allocation. Whereas there is no prescriptive timeframe before which a review may take place, it will be expected that schools, before requesting any such review, will be in a position to demonstrate that they have made every effort to manage any SNA allocation that has already been made to their school to best effect. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

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