Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs

Photo of Denise MitchellDenise Mitchell (Dublin Bay North, Sinn Fein)
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257. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when schools can expect to receive notification of their SNA and SET allocations for the academic year beginning in September 2023; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12081/23]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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I would like to thank the deputy for raising these matters and would like to advise the following:

Enabling children with special educational needs to receive an education is a priority for this Government.

For 2023, the spend by the Department on special education will be substantially increased by over 10% on last year, meaning that for 2023 my Department will spend over €2.6 billion on special education.

This level of educational funding and support is unprecedented and represents in excess of 27% of the Department’s total allocation for 2023.

The Special Education Teaching (SET) Allocation model was introduced in 2017. When the model was introduced it was planned that each schools profile would be updated on a 2 to 3 year cycle. The model was last re-profiled in early 2022 and allocations for the 2022/23 school year were advised to schools at that point.

The next scheduled re-profiling will take place in early 2024 for allocations relating to the 2024/25 school year. Schools will receive an updated circular and resource allocation letter in 2024 – no circular or allocation letter will issue for 2023/2024 school year

Circular 0006/2023 - Staffing arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2023/24 school year issued in January 2023 and the Special Education resourcing for each primary school for the 2023/2024 school year is included in Appendix C of it.

The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) allocations for the 2023/2024 school year are presently being development by my Department and will be advised to schools as soon as is possible and in line with previous year timelines.

My Department has allocated 1,165 additional SNA’s to schools in the past year and in Budget 2023 an additional 1,194 SNA’s are being provided to support schools and will be allocated as follows: 735 to support students in new special classes, 124 to support students in new special school places and 335 to support students in mainstream classes.

In 2023, the number of teaching and SNA posts in our schools will increase with an additional 686 teachers and a further 1,194 special needs assistants in our schools next year.

For the first time ever we will have over 19,000 teachers working in the area of special education and over 20,000 Special needs assistants. Together we have almost 40,000 qualified and committed people in our schools who are focused wholly and exclusively on supporting children with special educational needs.


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