I wish to advise the Deputy that all mainstream primary schools have been allocated additional teaching resources under the General Allocation Model (GAM) to cater for children with learning support needs and high incidence special educational needs, including mild, borderline mild general learning difficulties and specific learning disabilities. It is a matter for school authorities to determine how these hours are utilised to support eligible pupils. My Department therefore does not hold details of the number of pupils being supported within each category through this mechanism. I can, however, advise the Deputy that the General Allocation Model was designed to take into account an estimate of a prevalence of 1.5% of pupils within the school population having a mild general learning difficulty.
The NCSE recently published a report 'A study of the Prevalence of Special Educational Needs' which is available at www.ncse.ie and which contains details regarding the prevalence of special needs among the pupil population. I wish to advise the Deputy also that the NCSE report on Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs has recommended that under a proposed new allocation model, all children should be allocated additional resources in line with their level of need, rather than by disability category. The NCSE has established a Working Group to develop a proposal for consideration for a new Tailored Allocation Model, which is set out as one of the principal recommendations of the report. The Chairman of the Working group submitted his report to me on 5th March and I will now consider the report's recommendations.