Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

John McGuinness

Question:

596 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science if further financial assistance will be offered to persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny towards the provision of home tuition for their son; when their son was last at school; when he was last assessed by his Department; the reasons for the delay in providing some form of education for this person; the steps which will be taken to cover the cost of the tuition required; the time frame involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7441/01]

I understand that the pupil in question has not attended school since the end of the last school year when he completed transition year. I further understand that following consultations between the national educational psychological service, health board officials and the child's parents, it was decided that the pupil would be most suitably placed in a vocational training centre. Such centres cater for young adults, from school leavers up to 25 years of age, and are funded primarily by the Department of Health and Children. My Department funds the delivery of tuition services at such centres.

My Department sanctioned eight hours home tuition per week in early February 2001 for the pupil in question as an interim measure while arrangements are being made for his placement in a vocational training centre. I have asked my officials to pursue this placement.

The current rate payable for home tuition services is £19.09 per hour. There are no plans at present to increase this rate. However, I understand that inquiries are being made into the possibility of addressing the shortfall to which the Deputy refers.
I understand that my Department has not received any request to carry out an educational psychological assessment on the child in question. However, I understand that the child has been assessed by the relevant health board and that the national educational psychological service has played an advisory role in this regard.