Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (300)

Dessie Ellis


300. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way the recent cuts to special needs assistants will affect schools in Ballymun and Finglas, Dublin. [31544/13]

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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 (SNAs) 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.

Whereas the allocations of SNA support for individual schools may change each year in line with a school's enrolment of children with care needs, there has been no reduction to the overall number of SNA posts being provided for schools for the coming school year. This provision remains at 10,575 posts, which is the same number as in recent years, and will ensure that all children who qualify for access to SNA support for the coming school year will receive access to such support. There has been no cut to the number of SNA posts available for allocation. Allocations are made to schools annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support each year. Where a school may receive a reduction in SNA support in a given school year, this is not a cut to support, but a reflection of the number of qualifying children and the extent of care support that they require.

Details of the SNA allocations which have been made to schools by the NCSE for the 2013/2014 school year are available on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie, which provides details of the SNA allocations for each school on a school by school and per county basis, including schools in Ballymun and Finglas, Dublin.