Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
111. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if there will be extra special needs assistant allocations to a school (details supplied) from the increased number announced in view of the specific needs of children in this school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43714/19]
Budget 2019 provided for 950 additional SNA posts. To date over 900 of these posts have been allocated with the remainder expected to be allocated by the end of the year.
By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.
Budget 2020 has provided for 1,064 additional SNAs posts which will bring the total number of SNA posts in schools to over 17,000 in 2020, an increase of over 60% since 2011.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.
The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.
In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.
SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.
SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.
The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.
Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.
As this question relates to a particular school, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.