Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Questions (158, 159, 160)

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

178 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 3 June 2010, if she will direct the National Council for Special Education to issue a reply to this matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27077/10]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is an independent agency with responsibility for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream and special schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's policy in allocating this support. I understand from the NCSE that a response will be issued directly to the Deputy by them in the coming days.

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

179 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will ensure that the funding for the special needs assistants at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5 will be maintained in order that the children in this special needs unit have access to the supports that they require; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27098/10]

View answer

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource teachers and special needs assistants to schools to support children with special needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. I have arranged for the details supplied to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie. I wish to assure the Deputy that SNA support will continue to be made available to schools which have enrolled pupils who qualify for such support.

John McGuinness

Question:

180 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if an appeal lodged by the board of management of a school (details supplied) against the decision of her Department, relative to the three special needs assistants attached to the school, will be expedited; if the evidence of the educational and care needs of the children attending the school will be examined; if a positive decision in respect of the school will be arrived at; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27124/10]

View answer

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is an independent agency with responsibility for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs in all mainstream and special schools. This includes determining the level of SNA support in schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's policy in allocating this support. Neither I, nor the Department of Education and Skills, interfere with the allocation decisions taken by the NCSE in schools — whether such decisions result in an increased or reduced allocation to the schools.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie. I understand that the school concerned has contacted the SENO regarding this matter and that considerations are ongoing regarding appropriate staffing levels for special needs assistants at the school.