Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Staffing
156. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a special needs assistant will be assigned solely to a pupil with on the autism spectrum disorder in a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40763/15]
I wish to advise the Deputy 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 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs.
The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. The criteria by which SNA support is allocated to pupils is set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014.
Once allocated, the deployment of SNAs within schools is then a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.
All schools were asked to apply for SNA support for the 2015/16 school year by 18th March 2015. The NCSE also continued to accept applications after this date in recognition that enrolments may not have been completed or where assessments were not completed.
The NCSE has published details of SNA allocations for schools for September 2015 on its website www.ncse.ie. Details of SNA allocations for 2014/15 are also available on the NCSE website.
The website indicates that the school in question had an allocation of 24 whole time equivalent (WTE) SNA posts in the 2014/15 school year, increasing to 28 WTE posts for the 2015/16 school year.
I understand that the NCSE has recently visited the school on foot of correspondence received from the school in relation to its SNA allocation. I have been advised that the NCSE will be in further contact with the school in this regard shortly.
All schools have the contact details of their local SENO, while 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.