Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs

Photo of Pauline TullyPauline Tully (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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252. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if an autism spectrum disorder, ASD, unit will be provided at a school (details supplied); the timetable for this to be announced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49185/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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My Department generally include a Special Education Needs (SEN) Base in all new schools, as well as replacement school buildings and major extensions.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive. This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE takes account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to accommodate the class under the Additional School Accommodation scheme.

My Department has not received an application for an ASD unit from the school in question but has recently approved funding for the provision of permanent additional accommodation for mainstream and resource teaching in the school. The NCSE has confirmed that there is available places in ASD special classes in the Milltown area for September 2022 and if there is a demand for additional places, the NCSE will be in contact with the school authority in question.

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