Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
239. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the primary schools in Kinsealy, Malahide and Portmarnock, County Dublin, that have ASD units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3039/20]
240. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to establish additional ASD units in the primary schools in Kinsealy, Malahide and Portmarnock, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3040/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 240 together.
Since 2011, the number of special classes in mainstream schools has increased almost threefold, from 548 to 1,618 for the 2019/2020 school year; with 1,353 of these catering for children with autism.
167 new special classes have been established nationally for 2019/20 school year of which approximately 156 will be new autism special classes, comprising 6 Early Intervention, 100 primary, and 50 post-primary autism classes.
A list of special classes for September 2019 is available on the NCSE website at: .
Budget 2020 provided for an additional 265 special class teachers in 2020, which will allow for the opening of additional classes where required.
The NCSE has responsibility for coordinating and advising on the education provision for children nationwide; has well established structures in place for engaging with schools and parents; and seeks to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.
It is open to any school to make an application to the NCSE for the establishment of a specialised provision and where sanctioned, a range of supports, including capital funding, is made available to the school. My Department works closely with the NCSE in this regard.
The NCSE is planning a further expansion of special class and school places nationally to meet identified need for next year. This process is ongoing.