Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (80)

Clare Daly

Question:

80. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the contracts of special needs assistants whose pay has been reduced due to their post now being considered a percentage of a full post of 32 hours per week; and if he will initiate reforms to end this practice. [42652/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports including Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support, to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of such supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. It is important to note that SNA allocations are not permanent, as the level of SNA support allocated to a school may be increased or decreased as pupils who qualify for SNA support enrol or leave a school. They are also decreased where a child's care needs may have diminished over time.

Special need assistants are employed by the managerial authorities of the individual primary and second level schools or by Education and Training Boards (ETBs).The recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual Principal-Board of Management. The Board is the SNA's employer and the terms of employment are subject to the conditions of the contract of employment. The exact hours of work will normally be specified by the Board of Management in the SNAs contract of employment and may vary from school to school depending on the requirements of the school. Where a Board or ETB are obliged to reduce the hours of an existing SNA, the conditions governing that are currently set out in Departmental Circulars 58/06 and 59/06. SNAs who are employed in a part-time capacity are paid on the agreed divisor rate for pay purposes for part-time SNAs which is 32 hours.

Questions Nos. 81 and 82 answered with Question No. 78.