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Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014

Written Answers Nos. 102-106

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (102)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

102. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she will restore the previous austerity cuts of 15% for the new special needs assistant programme, to ensure that the role of special needs assistant is supported rather then devaluing its importance with gross cuts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39365/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that there has not been a reduction in SNA support for schools. This year, provision is being made for up to 10,965 SNAs, of whom over 10,900 SNAs have initially been allocated to schools in September. This is an increase of 390 posts on the previous cap of 10,575 posts. This is the highest level of SNA allocation that we have ever had. The policy of the Government is that every child who is assessed as needing SNA support will receive access to such support. To support this policy, I announced as part of Budget 2015 that a further 145 SNAs will be provided to schools between now and the end of 2014, with a further 220 SNAs available to schools in 2015. This will bring the total number of SNAs to 11,330 next year.

Once SNAs have been allocated to schools, 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.

This Government has been resolutely committed to protecting the level of investment being made to support children with special educational needs at a time when there has been a requirement to make expenditure reductions across a range of areas. It is an area of spending which has been prioritised above most other areas by this Government, despite the enormous pressures on all areas of public spending.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (103)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

103. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide in tabular form for each county since 2010 to date in 2014 the number of schools that have reading recovery; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39369/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Reading Recovery is a licensed programme which has been made available to primary schools through the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). The following is a breakdown by county of the schools participating in the programme up to the end of the 2013/2014 school year.

Schools by county participating in the Reading Recovery Programme up to end of 2013/2014 school year

County

Number of schools

Carlow

8

Cavan

32

Clare

10

Cork

48

Donegal

25

Dublin

127

Galway

36

Kerry

4

Kildare

13

Kilkenny

6

Leitrim

3

Limerick

24

Longford

5

Louth

23

Mayo

12

Meath

14

Monaghan

27

Offaly

10

Laois

2

Roscommon

5

Sligo

7

Tipperary

23

Waterford

10

Westmeath

9

Wexford

14

Wicklow

7

Grand Total

504

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (104, 107, 108)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

104. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of providing the reading recovery programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39370/14]

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Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

107. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children that have entered reading recovery and have not gone on to learning support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39373/14]

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Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

108. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason all schools are not being allowed to enter the reading recovery programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39374/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 104, 107 and 108 together.

Reading Recovery is a licensed programme which has been made available to primary schools through the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

The cost of providing support in the 2013/2014 school year was €240,000. This is in addition to salary costs for six dedicated personnel supporting Reading Recovery in PDST. My Department, through the PDST, continues to prioritise support for DEIS Band 1 and DEIS Band 2 schools as well as maintaining ongoing support for other schools already participating in the programme. Since 2004 over 20,000 students have benefited from the Reading Recovery Programme together with a range of other literacy supports. Emerging evidence from work carried out by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) is positive on the range of interventions including Reading Recovery in place for DEIS schools. An evaluation by the Inspectorate in 2011 also demonstrated that the effectiveness of specialised programmes is maximised when they are integrated into the overall programme in a school. Support for all schools provided by the PDST takes this into account as part of the ongoing continuing professional development programme for "Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life - The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy for Children and Young People 2011 - 2020".

Special Educational Needs Expenditure

Questions (105)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

105. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the current cost of providing the maths recovery programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39371/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Maths Recovery is a licensed programme which has been made available to over 300 primary schools through the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). PDST is currently liaising with the programme providers to ensure continued and adequate support for DEIS schools to access the Maths Recovery programme. On the basis of the average programme costs since 2010 it is expected that the full year cost will be in the region of €250,000 should there be a similar demand from schools.

Special Educational Needs Expenditure

Questions (106)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

106. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of long-term learning support for a child in primary education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39372/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the General Allocation Model currently allocates over 4,200 Learning Support/Resource Teachers to primary schools, and is now updated annually, based on the number of mainstream teaching posts in schools in the previous school year, reflecting any growth in school size. Over 750 teaching posts are also allocated to post primary schools to provide for learning support needs at post primary schools. Schools are given guidance on how to identify pupils for learning support in my Departments Circulars 02/05 and 70/2014. These Circulars also provide guidance for schools on how learning support may be provided for pupils from a schools allocation, on a one to one basis, in pairs, or in small groups of pupils. It is a matter for schools to utilise their learning support resources to support qualifying pupils, taking into account the individual educational needs of those pupils. The teaching time afforded to each individual pupil is therefore decided and managed by schools, taking into account each child's needs. The amount of support given to a child may also vary over time, as a pupils learning needs change. It is therefore not possible to set out a definitive cost for the long term learning support per child in primary education, as the teaching time provided for each child may vary based on their individual learning needs.

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