Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (213, 214, 215)

Michael McNamara

Question:

213. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants in primary and secondary schools in County Clare; the number of children to whom they provided support in 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22323/14]

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Michael McNamara

Question:

214. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of full-time and part-time special needs assistants posts to which the 10,965 whole-time equivalent posts allocated to County Clare schools translates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22324/14]

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Michael McNamara

Question:

215. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department or the National Council for Special Education operates a county cap or ceiling limiting the number of special needs assistants that can be appointed in a county; the county cap or ceiling for County Clare for 2013-2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22325/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 to 215, inclusive, together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the previous Government capped the number of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts at 10,575 in December 2010. That cap remained in place until December 2013. In December 2013, this Government increased the cap on the number of SNA posts by 390 posts to 10,965 at the end of 2014. The total number of Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) SNA posts currently allocated by the NCSE is 10,656 posts. Over 23,000 children currently access SNA services. The total number of WTE SNA posts at the end of the 2011/12 school year was 10,320 with over 22,000 children accessing SNA services, and 10,487 WTE posts at the end of the 2012/13 school year with over 23,000 children accessing SNA services. A Whole Time Equivalent SNA post equates to 32 hours per week.

A breakdown of the number of SNA posts allocated to each school, on a per county basis, including County Clare, for the 2013/14 and 2012/13 school years is available at the NCSE website www.ncse.ie. This list details the total number of Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) posts allocated to schools in County Clare. It is then a matter for each school to recruit persons, either on a whole or part time basis, to fill this total WTE allocation. I can advise the Deputy that there is no cap in place on the number of SNA posts which may be allocated within any individual County.

The NCSE allocates a quantum of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support. The deployment of SNAs within schools is then a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management. 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. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.