Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Department of Education and Skills
245. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools which have appealed their allocation under the new resource allocation model; the number that have been received by his Department; the timeframe for processing appeals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16200/17]
I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools were published on 7th March 2017.
These Circulars set out the details of the new model for allocating special education teachers to schools.
The aim of this new model is to deliver better outcomes for children with special educational needs. Substantial research, analysis, consultation with service users and stakeholders, and piloting have gone in to the development of this model and all of the evidence points to the fact that this new system will deliver better outcomes for children.
No school will lose supports as a result of the implementation of the new model. In addition, no school will receive an allocation, for the support of pupils with complex needs, less than the allocation they received to support such pupils during the 2016/17 school year. No allocation made for such pupils by the NCSE will be removed from schools as long as that pupil remains in the school.
An additional 900 teaching posts have been provided to support the introduction of this new allocation model. The provision of an additional 900 teaching posts is a very significant investment in the provision of additional teaching support for pupils with special educational needs in our schools. This is additional to an increase of 41% in the number of resource teachers allocated to schools annually by the NCSE since 2011.
The additional funding will provide additional supports to over 1000 schools who are identified as needing additional supports as a result of the new model. Supports for children with special educational needs is a key priority for this Government.
The revised allocation model replaces the generalised allocation process at primary and post primary school level for learning support and high incidence special educational needs, and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocation process which provided additional resource teaching supports to schools, to support pupils assessed as having Low Incidence disabilities.
Schools have been advised that they will be able to appeal whether the data used to calculate their school profile was correct and complete and whether it was correctly applied in the calculation of their 2017/18 allocation.
DES Circulars 0013/2017 and 0014/2017 outline the basis on which the Education Research Centre determined the allocations for all schools.
In advance of the submission of an appeal, schools were asked to read carefully the DES circulars and in particular the relevant section, which relates to the breakdown of the allocation, which may be under consideration for appeal.
The NCSE has published details of the appeals process on the NCSE website: www.ncse.ie.
Schools were advised that should a school wish to appeal they should do so by March 31st 2017.
519 schools had submitted appeal applications to the NCSE by 31st March, 2017, while some appeals are still being received. The appeals process is being administered by the NCSE as opposed to my Department.
The NCSE has advised schools that all appeals will be processed by 31st May, 2017, however, some of the appeals may also be concluded before that date.
The model will also allow for some additional provision for exceptional circumstances or where a school’s enrolment levels increase very substantially prior to the next review of the model. The National Council for Special Education will support schools in managing their special education teaching allocations in the first instance. Only in very exceptional circumstances, where it can be demonstrated that the schools profile has changed very significantly since the allocation was made to the school, may an additional allocation of hours be made to the school.
Guidelines for schools on the organisation, deployment and use of their special education teachers to address the need of pupils with special educational needs are also being prepared and will be published shortly.
The Guidelines will support schools to reflect on how they can review and manage their timetabling practices to ensure the timetable is sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of all pupils in their school who have special needs. The Guidelines encourage schools to ensure they deploy their resources appropriately to meet the needs of all of the children in their school who require additional teaching support, including pupils with emerging needs, or new entrants.