Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs Staff

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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204. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will respond to a query from a person (details supplied) regarding special needs assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10717/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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Schools have been notified of the arrangements for the allocation of SNA support in respect of students in mainstream classes for 2020/21.  The arrangements include the following provisions:

- 2019/20 mainstream class SNA allocations will be frozen, from the date of issue of Circular 0030/2020, and will automatically rollover into the 2020/21 school year. This means that no school will receive an allocation less than that which they have on the date of issue of this Circular and existing SNAs currently in standard SNA posts can continue in these posts for the next school year in the normal way.  

- Schools may apply to the NCSE for additionality where they can demonstrate that the current allocation does not meet additional care needs within the mainstream classes in the school. Applications for additionality arising from significant new or emerging additional care needs, which cannot be catered within existing allocations, will be dealt with by way of an exceptional review process. 

- A diagnosis of a disability, or a psychological or other professional report, will not be necessary for this process.  

- The role of the SNA to support the care needs of students in mainstream classes, as set out in Circular 0030/2014, remains unchanged.  

It is expected that schools will review and reprioritise the deployment of SNAs within mainstream settings and allocate resources to ensure those with the greatest level of need receive the greatest level of support. Providing access to SNA support continues to be based on primary care needs as outlined in DES Circular 0030/2014.

The NCSE is a separate independent statutory agency whose functions include planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs in conjunction with schools and the Health Service Executive (HSE), as Minister, I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

Detailed information on the NCSE exceptional review process is published on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie.

My Department has no role in determining individual school SNA allocations.


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