Written Answers. - School Absenteeism.

Paul McGrath

Question:

997 Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath has not attended school since September 1997 as a result of the absence of a child care assistant; and if he will confirm sanction of this position to enable this person to complete his education. [1809/99]

Willie Penrose

Question:

1009 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received correspondence from a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath seeking to have a full-time child care assistant provided for her son; if he will attend to this reasonable request by making this appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1884/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 997 and 1009 together.

The student in question currently attends school for 12 hours per week. I understand that it was considered by the professionals dealing with this child that he was only able to cope with this level of attendance. However, the question of increasing his level of attendance with a view to eventual full-time attendance at the school is being reviewed at present. My Department has received a request to provide a full-time special needs assistant for this pupil. This matter is being considered in the context of the current review. I can assure the Deputies that my Department will sanction a full-time special needs assistant for this student if deemed necessary following the review.