Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (194)

Gerard Murphy

Question:

274 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science if a person (details supplied) in County Cork will continue to have a full time special needs assistant with them during all school hours for the remainder of the year in senior infants and when they progress to first class in June 2004. [6972/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I am most anxious that all children, including children with autistic spectrum disorders, receive education appropriate to their needs. I am aware that five hours per week resource teaching support and a full-time special needs assistant was sanctioned for the pupil concerned on 13 June 2002.

My Department is reviewing the existing arrangements for the allocation of special educational supports to primary schools. In this context, my officials have initiated discussions on the matter with representative interests. At this stage, it would be premature to anticipate the outcome. I can confirm, however, that the basic purpose of that review is to ensure that each school has the level of resources required to cater for its pupils with special educational needs.

Pending the conclusion of discussions with the representative interests, schools are advised to refer to circular 24/03 which issued in September 2003. This circular contains practical advice on how to achieve the most effective deployment of resources already allocated for special educational needs within the school.

The level of special educational resources allocated to pupils may be subject to review from time to time by my Department's professional staff and the level of these resources may be adjusted, depending on the specific needs and progress being made by the pupils in question.