I wish to advise the Deputy that Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are allocated to schools by the National Council for Special Education in order to provide for the care needs of children with special educational needs attending such schools. The policy of my Department in relation to the SNA scheme is set out in Circular 07/02, which also provides details regarding the role and duties of an SNA.
My Department's Circular 0071/2011 provides further details in relation to the terms and conditions of employment for SNAs, including clarification in relation to SNA duties and work which may be performed during non instructive days, or delivered by an SNA outside of normal school opening hours and/or the normal school year. Once an SNA allocation has been made to a school, the recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual Principal/Board of Management of a school. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated, and in accordance with the terms of the scheme as set out in my Departments Circular. In circumstances where a parent may have a concern about the manner in which an SNA is being deployed in a school, they should raise this matter with the school Principal/Board of Management of the school in the first instance.