Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (217)

John Paul Phelan

Question:

217. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a pupil (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who has been receiving the help of a special needs assistant since 2009 has had their special needs assistant hours taken away in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24217/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support. Where children have significant care needs whereby they may need additional support to be able to attend school, the NCSE may make an allocation of SNA support to the school to assist that child.

The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. The criteria by which SNA support is allocated to pupils is set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014.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.

The NCSE invited schools to make applications for SNA support for children who have assessed care needs for the coming 2014/15 school year by 26th March 2014, for their consideration. Details of the NCSE application criteria are available at www.ncse.ie.

The NCSE intend to advise all schools of their SNA allocations for the coming school year before the end of the current school year.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.