Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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295. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her views on whether the needs of children that have moderate to severe requirement for additional speech and language and occupational therapy are being met by placing them in a mainstream or mainstream ASD class settings in which none of those needs are met; and when this matter will be fully addressed. [49635/21]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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My Department aims to ensure that all children with special educational needs are provided with an education appropriate to their needs.

Where possible, children with special educational needs are educated in mainstream classes alongside their peers unless to do so would not be in the best interests of the pupils concerned or the other pupils in the class. This approach is consistent with the provisions of Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004.

Children with special educational needs in a mainstream classes receive additional supports including teaching and care in line with their level of need.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), an agency of my Department provides evidence based policy advice on special educational matters and the nature and scope of education provision and supports required to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs.

In circumstances where children with special educational needs require more specialist placements, special school or special class places are provided for. These placements cater for designated categories of educational need including speech and language. These settings have reduced pupil:teacher ratios and allocations of SNA in accordance with the level of complexity of need. A recommendation by an appropriate professional is required to access a specialist placement.

In general, speech and language and occupational therapy supports are provided by the HSE.

Currently, my Department’s budget for special education exceeds €2bn which funds the costs of almost 14,000 special education teachers and 18,000 SNAs which supports a broad continuum of education for children with special needs.

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