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Special Educational Needs.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 17 November 2009

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Questions (424)

James Bannon

Question:

470 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the employment of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath, who has worked as a special needs assistant for the past ten years, has been terminated on the pretext that he or she is not qualified, despite doing all relevant courses and having extensive experience; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41525/09]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

From the details supplied by the Deputy it appears that the qualifications of the person in question, who is qualified to work as a special needs assistant, are not acceptable to my Department as a tutor under the home tuition scheme. The Deputy will be aware that the home tuition scheme provides a grant to parents to facilitate the provision of education at home for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme was extended in recent years to facilitate tuition for children awaiting an educational placement and to provide early intervention for pre-school children with autism.

The Deputy will appreciate that as the tuition takes place outside of school supervision there is a need to ensure that the tuition provider is a fully qualified teacher. However if it is not possible to recruit a tuition provider with a teaching qualification then alternative qualifications are acceptable as an interim measure until such time as a qualified teacher is recruited. A list of relevant qualifications may be sourced on my Department's website on www.education.ie. It is in the interests of children to expect that home tutors funded under this scheme are appropriately qualified tuition providers. It is for this reason that tuition providers will be required to meet the minimum qualification standard. The guidelines to the scheme have in recent years advised of my Department's preference for a fully qualified teacher. However it is important that the parent of the child for whom tuition has been sanctioned liaises with the relevant officials in my Department in this context, particularly if she is experiencing difficulties in sourcing a fully qualified teacher.

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