Thursday, 15 October 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Home Tuition Scheme
178. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will address matters raised in correspondence (details supplied); her plans to change the home tuition scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30688/20]
Ensuring that every child has a suitable school placement is a key objective of this Department. Significant resources are allocated each year to ensure that appropriate supports are available for children with special educational needs.
It is the policy of my Department that all children with Special Educational Needs can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.
Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.
My Department’s policy focuses on ensuring that all students with special educational needs can have access to an education appropriate to meeting their needs and abilities.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of Special Needs Organisers (SENOs), for the development and delivery and co-ordination of education services to children with Special Educational Needs, including the establishment of special class and special school placements.
In circumstances, where the NCSE confirms that no placement is available for a child with special educational needs, my Department can provide Home Tuition grant funding towards the provision of 20 hours home tuition per week as an interim measure until the NCSE confirms that a placement is available.
Subject to conditions, Parents are free to use the grant to engage tutors to deliver tuition in their home or group providers to deliver tuition in a group setting.
It is important to note that Home tuition funding is not an alternative to a school placement, by its nature it is intended to be a short term intervention.
For this reason home tuition will not be available where a school placement has been identified by the NCSE.
Similarly, failure to enrol a child in school will not give rise to eligibility under this scheme.
I have no plans to change this approach.
Where the NCSE have identified an available school placement for a child, the local SENO will continue to be available to engage with the family and the school concerned to ensure that the child's needs are addressed.