Written answers

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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965. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will confirm that she no longer intends to establish special education centres for children with autism and other disabilities. [29354/22]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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Special Education has been prioritised by Government in recent years.

This year, the Department of Education will spend in excess of €2 Billion, or over 25% of the Department’s budget on providing additional teaching and care supports for children with special educational needs.

This represents an increase of over 60% in total expenditure, since 2011.

This will bring the total number of Special Education Teachers in the mainstream school system to 14,385 in 2022, an increase of 48% since 2011 when 10,575 were funded.

An additional 380 teachers are also being provided to support students to be enrolled in new special classes and new special schools for the 2022/2023 school year.

Over 1,700 additional places in 287 new special classes will become available in 2022. Since 2011, the number of special classes has increased by 386%. Since 2011, the number of special classes in mainstream schools has increased from 548 to 2,148 for the 2021/2022 school year.

Provision has been made for 19,169 SNAs by the end of 2022, which will represent an increase of 81% since 2011.

The Department of Education and the NCSE are working closely to maximise the number of new special classes that can be established in Dublin for the start of 2022/23 school year. A number of new special classes have been provided in recent weeks and intense efforts to provide additional classes will continue.

I have also recently announced the commencement of a new Section 37A process in Dublin in an effort to provide even more special class and special school places.


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