Written Answers. - Classroom Assistants.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

153 Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will make available classroom assistants for children with physical and sensory disabilities. [8352/98]

My Department's capacity to allocate additional child care assistant posts in any year is entirely dependent on resource availability and the level of competing demand across the special needs area. Where such posts do become available, they are allocated on the basis of priority of need. In recent years, available posts have generally been allocated to special classes which cater for children with a severe or profound mental handicap.

I am at present reviewing provision across the special needs area to ensure that all available resources, including child care support, are deployed as effectively as possible. I assure the Deputy that the needs of children with physical and sensory disabilities will be considered in this context.