Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Staff Data
184. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to increase the management supports available to special schools by providing for the appointment of additional administrative deputy principals. [53765/19]
There are 124 special schools providing specialist education for approximately 7,500 pupils annually with over 1,400 teachers.
Budget 2020 provides for an additional 23 teaching posts for special schools, designed to meet expected increases in enrolments in 2020, providing over 8,000 pupil places in special schools. It also provides for the continued provision of administrative deputy principal posts in special schools with 15+ teaching posts, introduced in special schools for the first time from September 2019 - at present 22 special schools qualify for an administrative deputy principal post.
Where an administrative deputy principal is appointed, the school may appoint a replacement teacher. The average cost of a new entrant primary school teacher, inclusive of employer PRSI, is €46,487.
The allowance for administrative deputy principal, inclusive of employer PRSI, ranges from €3,967 up to €19,964, depending on the number of authorised teachers in the school.
On 27thMarch I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model, a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs, which is being piloted in 75 schools in the Kildare/Wicklow/South Dublin region in the current school year.
The pilot will include four behaviour practitioners as part of a National Council of Special Education (NCSE) Regional Support Team. These practitioners will be employed on a salary scale of €52,162 to €61,418 (exclusive of employer's PRSI).
The School Inclusion Model aims to build schools’ capacity and to provide the right supports at the right time for students with additional needs.
The School Inclusion Model pilot comprises:
- a frontloaded SNA allocation model based on schools’ profiled need having regard to the special education teacher allocation model introduced in 2017;
- an expanded National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) to support pilot schools;
- the continuation of the Pre-school and In-school Therapy Demonstration Project in the pilot area to ensure a wrap-around service for the pilot schools;
- the establishment of an NCSE Regional Support team in the pilot area to include speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour practitioners, in order to inform teacher Continuing Professional Development and best practice in schools;
- the development of a national training programme for SNAs with pilot roll-out; and
- the provision of nursing support for children with complex medical needs in schools.
Budget 2019 provided €4.75 million to support implementation of the recommendations of the NCSE Comprehensive Review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme, including the implementation of the new service pilot.
As the above is a pilot, the current position is that the provision of behavioural therapies falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Health and the service is provided through the Health Service Executive (HSE).