Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
217. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of early intervention places for children of pre-school age that are on the autism spectrum for school years (details supplied) in tabular form. [9522/19]
219. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications received for early intervention places for children of pre-school age that are on the autism spectrum for school years (details supplied) in tabular form. [9524/19]
221. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the educational alternatives provided for children with autism that are unable to secure an ASD unit place and are unable to attend a mainstream primary school due to the degree of their disability. [9526/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 216 to 219, inclusive, and 221 together.
The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter, in the first instance, for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment in schools or keeping waiting lists.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.
Since 2011, the NCSE has increased the number of ASD special classes from 330 in 2011 to 1,196 across the country now. This includes 131 ASD early intervention classes, 743 primary ASD classes and 322 post-primary ASD, providing approximately 786 Early Intervention placements, 4,458 primary ASD class placements and 1,932 post-primary ASD class placements.
124 special schools provide specialist education for those students with the most complex special educational needs, including students diagnosed with ASD.
Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs for the years referred to by the Deputy are available by county in tabular form on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie
The NCSE is aware of emerging need from year to year, and where special class provision, is required, it is planned and established to meet that need. This process is ongoing.
Accordingly, the NCSE advises parents, to seek to enrol their child, by applying in writing, to the school/s of their choice as early as possible. Where parents have been unsuccessful in enrolling their child in a school, they should update their local SENO to inform the planning process.
From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved. This process is ongoing and the NCSE are actively engaging with schools in relation to establishing ASD classes where there is an identified need for the 2019/2020 school year.
Section 8 of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, which commenced on the 3rd of December 2018, provides the Minister with a power, after a process of consultation with the NCSE, the board of management and the patron of the school, to compel a school to make additional provision for the education of children with special educational needs.
In circumstances, where the NCSE confirm that there is no school placement available for a child with Special Educational Needs, my Department's Home Tuition Grant Scheme will provide funding towards the provision of 20 hours tuition per week as an interim measure until a placement is available.
I wish to advise the Deputy the budgetary allocation for the provision of ASD units in 2016, 2017 and 2018 are as follows:
|2016||€960,000 (470m2)||1,120,000 (552m2)|
|2017||€1,020,000 (470m2)||€1,190,000 (552m2)|
|2018||€1,100,000 (439m2)||€1,300,000 (524m2)|