Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs
Enabling children with special educational needs to receive an education appropriate to their needs is a priority for this Government.
This year, just under 25% of the total Education budget or €2bn will be invested in supporting children with special educational needs. As a result, the numbers of special education teachers, SNAs, special class and special school places are at unprecedented levels.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has responsibility for coordinating and advising on the education provision for children nationwide. The NCSE, through their local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) network, is available to support both families and schools regarding a suitable placement.
As the query refers to an individual placement case, I will arrange to have it referred to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.
264. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the opening of autism classes (details supplied) in Dublin 12; the expected date for opening autism classes in each of these locations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49246/21]
269. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the delay in opening autism classes in schools (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and when they are now expected to open. [49297/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 264, 266, 269 and 270 together.
Updates in respect of the four schools referred to by the Deputy are as follows:
St Damien's, RN 19943M
This school was granted approval for conversion works and a partial new build to create a 1 class SEN Base in March 2021 under the Additional Accommodation Scheme 2021. It is currently at design stage and the School Authorities and their Design Team are to submit a design plan and costings to the Department for assessment. It is at the moment too early to predict when the build will commence and when the class will be open for students.
Marist School, RN 18386B
An Additional Accommodation project that includes a two classroom special needs unit and one WCAU was approved at the school. The most recent contact from the school sought an increase in Design Team fees which is being reviewed by the Department and a response will issue to the school when the review has been completed. The project is at an early stage of the design process and it is not possible at this point to give an estimation of project completion.
Holy Spirit JNS, RN 20463F
An Additional Accommodation project that includes a one classroom special needs unit was approved at the school and the project was approved to proceed to construction stage. Some issues emerged subsequently at Design Team and approved contractor level and a solution was implemented. The project is being delivered by the school authority and the Department subsequently advised the school as to how the project should be progressed. The school has advised that the project is currently being re-tendered and construction companies have until the 18thOctober to respond to the invitation to re-tender. An estimated completion date will be available once a contractor has been appointed.
Scoil Una Naofa, RN 20488V
My Department has been in contact with the school in question in the context of the school establishing a special class. The school has indicated that it will furnish an application for grant to the Department to facilitate the establishment of the class. The application will be considered when received and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority subsequently.