Written answers

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Photo of Áine CollinsÁine Collins (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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757. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the Special Needs Assistant panel is not done in order, with persons on the list for only a short time being allocated positions ahead of persons who have been on the list a long time; and the rules governing this process. [28306/15]

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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As the Deputy will be aware, a set of proposals for a public service agreement were put forward by the Labour Relations Commission which now form the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 (the Haddington Road Agreement). One aspect of this Agreement relates to supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and as both Unions that represent SNAs namely, SIPTU and IMPACT, have signed up to the Haddington Road Agreement, my Department has implemented supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs.

The first part of the LRC proposals for supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs outlines that the supplementary assignment arrangements only apply to current SNAs who are notified that they are to be made redundant. Accordingly, the purpose of these arrangements is to facilitate eligible SNAs who are being made redundant by one employer in filling SNA vacancies that may become available in another school/ETB.

The detailed supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) for the 2015/2016 school year are set out in Departmental Circular 0041/2015 which issued on 12 June 2015 and which is available on the Department's website at the following address:

Once an SNA with a minimum of one year's service (Service in a substitute capacity i.e. covering for maternity leave, sick leave, career breaks, job-sharing etc. does not count) is notified by his/her employer that s/he is to be made redundant then s/he shall be deemed to be a member of a supplementary assignment panel for SNAs.

The operation of this panel is described and outlined in Circular 0041/2015 and it is designed to be as flexible as possible which enables all eligible SNAs, who have the requisite Panel Form 1 completed by their former employer, to apply for any SNA position that is advertised by a school or an ETB with no sectoral, diocesan or geographical limitations imposed. It does not work on a list basis. Every eligible SNA will remain on the panel for two years with a view to getting further employment. If they are not successful over that period of time in obtaining a further SNA position then they will be eligible for a Redundancy payment. Furthermore, an SNA may opt out of this supplementary assignment panel at any point in time triggering the processing of his/her redundancy payment in line with the terms set out in the SNA redundancy scheme (DES Circular 58/06) or any revision of same that is applicable at that time.

It is important to note that when an employer has a vacancy to fill, they must undertake the recruitment process in accordance with the provisions outlined in paragraphs 15-22 of Circular 41/2015.

Finally, my Department has set up a dedicated e-mail address to deal with all queries in relation to the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel and any queries in respect of the operation of the Panel can be directed to this dedicated e-mail address: snasupplementpanel@education.gov.ie


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