Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (358, 359)

John McGuinness


499 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will review immediately the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if the appropriate supports will be put in place as soon as possible. [24993/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

My Department has sanctioned a special needs assistant to cater for the care needs of the pupil in question. The school authorities were informed of this decision recently.

Thomas P. Broughan


500 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will review the decision to cut the allocation of special education teaching resources at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 13 under circular 23/04; if she will take steps to ensure that this primary school retains its current allocation of special education teachers through the 2005-06 school year and beyond. [24994/04]

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The school currently has the services of one full-time resource teacher and two full-time learning support teachers. Under my Department's weighted system of allocation, the appropriate level of special needs teaching support is determined by a schools' enrolment figures and based on the following criteria. In the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher incidence special needs. In all-boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils and in mixed schools, or all-girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils. In all-girls schools including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, the ratio will be one teacher for every 200 pupils.

The revised system has been developed in consultation with representative interests. It is a genuine effort to improve the special education resource allocation process. The differentiation under the general weighted allocation reflects the experience of needs both within this country and internationally. Pupils with lower-incidence special needs will continue to receive individual allocations of special educational needs resources as appropriate. I will continue to work for improvements in the provision of education services for children with special educational needs and in this context will monitor the implementation of the new system to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness.