I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 to 177, inclusive, together.
I wish to advise the Deputy 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.
Circular 0042/2011 provides information to schools regarding the staffing arrangements which apply in special schools in the current school year and for the 2012/13 school year.
The Circular sets out that, for the 2012/13 school year, schools will be staffed based on their pupil profiles and the disability category of the pupils enrolled as opposed to being based principally on school designation. It is intended that staffing levels will reflect the complexity of need that exists within schools rather than being determined solely by a school's designation, as many Special Schools now enrol students from disability categories other than from those provided for by their school designations.
The NCSE will, in future, suppress posts in schools which have excess teaching posts in order to create a post in a school which does not have excess posts and which has growing pupil numbers. The NCSE has identified that the school in question had a surplus teaching post in accordance with the school's pupil profile and therefore suppressed a post in the school.
The NCSE has confirmed that the school has an appropriate level of teaching staff to cater for all of the children enrolled in the school from September.