Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Education and Skills
405. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties that a school (details supplied) is experiencing recruiting a teacher to staff a new autism classroom; and if her Department has a role in assisting and facilitating schools with the recruitment of such personnel to avoid the need for the application of the 37a process. [62800/21]
Enabling children with special educational needs to receive an education is a priority for this Government.
The State currently spends in excess of 25% of its annual education and training budget (€9.2 Billion) on making additional provision for children with special educational needs.
This includes funding for a wide range of schemes and supports including special classes, special school places, SNAs and teachers.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has responsibility for coordinating and advising on the education provision for children nationwide. The NCSE through their network of local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO), is available to support both families and schools regarding a suitable placement.
My Department and the NCSE are grateful to those schools that have responded, and continue to respond positively to meet the educational needs of children in their communities.
The NCSE offers additional supports and advice to schools opening special classes through seminars, Teacher Professional Learning and in school support through their network of Advisers. My Department also provides additional supports in the form of staffing, accommodation and financial resources.
While the recruitment of staff for any class is a matter for the school Board of Management, I am aware this can present challenges. It is important that the Board of Management make every effort to fill vacancies to ensure that they have a full complement of staff to respond to the needs in the school. I am aware that the school referred to by the Deputy has experienced difficulty in this matter but are continuing with the recruitment process.
Finally, I can reassure the Deputy that the local SENO's continue to be available to assist and advise both schools and the parents of children with special educational needs. Parents may contact SENOs directly using the contact details available at: ncse.ie/regional-servic.