Written answers

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Photo of Fiona O'LoughlinFiona O'Loughlin (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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116. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a special needs school will be considered for an area (details supplied). [21070/19]

Photo of Fiona O'LoughlinFiona O'Loughlin (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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117. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if more ASD units will be allocated for County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21071/19]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 117 together.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs.

The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class and school placements.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has formally advised me that there is insufficient ASD post primary special class capacity in Kildare.

The NCSE is actively engaging with patron bodies in Kildare for the purpose of providing the required placements from September.

The NCSE is also engaging directly with the Parents of the children concerned and will keep in regular contact with them to advise of progress and identify placements as they become available.

Since 2011, the number of special classes in mainstream schools has increased from 548 to 1,459 this year. Of these 1,196 special classes cater for students diagnosed with ASD.

Provision in special schools has increased from 6,848 placements in 2011 to 7,872 this year.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

Similarly, where special schools wish to expand provision, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to accommodate additional placements.

As the Deputy's question relates to special school placements in a specific area, I have forwarded it to the National Council for Special Education for direct reply.

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