Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
166. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision for a special needs assistant; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44324/15]
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 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, which is set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014.
All schools were asked to apply for SNA support for the 2015/16 school year by 18th March 2015. The NCSE has 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 now published details of SNA allocations for schools for September 2015 on its website at www.ncse.ie.
Once allocated, the deployment of SNAs within schools is 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.
Details of the manner in which a school or parent may appeal the level of SNA or resource teaching allocation which has been made to support a child in school, to the NCSE, is set out on the NCSE website.
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 the NCSE website.
As this question relates to an allocation for an individual child, I will arrange to have the matter referred to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply to the Deputy.