Thursday, 23 March 2006

Questions (200)

Eoin Ryan

Question:

200 Mr. Eoin Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will make resources available to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 16 to provide special needs tuition to a pupil. [11527/06]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

My Department provides a range of supports to second level schools to enable them to cater for pupils with special educational needs. The supports in question include remedial and resource teaching support, special needs assistant support and funding for the purchase of specialised equipment.

The National Council for Special Education, NCSE, has been established as an independent statutory body with responsibilities as set out in the National Council for Special Education (Establishment) Order, 2005. Since 1 January 2005, the NCSE, through local special educational needs organisers, SENOs, is responsible for processing resource applications for children with special educational needs.

The level of teaching and special needs assistant support for special educational needs is determined by the SENO in accordance with my Department's resourcing policy for special educational needs. In this case the SENO recommended a total of 35.5 teaching hours and 28 hours special needs assistant support to cater for the special educational needs of pupils at this school, including the pupil referred to by the Deputy.

In situations where schools have surplus teaching posts, my Department routinely requires that these posts be utilised to meet new and emerging needs within such schools, including those of pupils who have special educational needs, where appropriate. In the case of the school in question, my Department decided that the teaching hours recommended by the SENO should be met from within the school's existing resources, which included 2.89 surplus teaching posts.

An independent appeals committee is available to school authorities who wish to appeal the adequacy of their teacher allocation. The school in question appealed this decision to the independent appeals committee. The appeals committee decided that an allocation of a further 0.23 whole-time teacher equivalents was warranted and this allocation was granted by my Department for the 2005-06 school year. This committee operates independently of my Department and its decisions are final.