Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Questions (102)

John Halligan


102. Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that in certain incidents where a secondary school pupil has been assessed by a National Educational Psychological Services psychologist and resource hours have been sanctioned by the Special Educational Needs Officer on that basis due to a reduction in funding/available services certain schools have been absorbing these hours into the main school timetable which results in the child in question not having access to their individual resource hours; if his attention has been drawn to this practice; if it is legitimate for the school to absorb these hours; if he will now make a commitment to investigate this practice and prohibit the absorption of these hours into the main school timetable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29553/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants to schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. Resource teaching hours are allocated to schools for the specific purpose of providing additional teaching supports for children with special educational needs, in accordance with my Departments Circular Sp Ed 02/05. It is not appropriate for schools to absorb these hours into the main school timetable, resulting in the children for whom the hours have been allocated not having access to resource hours.If the Deputy has any information regarding schools who have been engaging in this practice, I would be grateful if he could bring it to the attention of my Department so that this matter can be investigated.