Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Questions (195)

Niamh Smyth


195. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13002/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of Special Needs Organisers (SENOs), for fulfilling the functions of the NCSE Council within a designated area in relation to the identification of and delivery and co-ordination of education services to children with disabilities. The NCSE employs SENOs to provide a nationwide system of local services. Locally based SENO responsibility includes planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, including supporting children and parents in identifying school placement options and resource needs. Each SENO works in an assigned local area with parents, schools, teachers, psychologists, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in that area for children with special educational needs. There are currently 83 sanctioned SENO posts in the NCSE. These include 1 Head of Local Services, 9 Senior SENO posts and 73 SENO posts.

Since 2014, the number of SENO posts have increased from 67 to 73 while the NCSE's SENO management structure was strengthened in 2014, with the creation of a new professional post of Head of Local Services to directly manage the SENO grades.

From 21st March 2017, the Special Education Support Service (SESS), the National Behavioural Support Service (NBSS) and the Visiting Teacher Service for Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Children who are Blind/Visually Impaired (VTHVI) transferred from my Department to the NCSE and joined with the services already being provided by NCSE's SENOs and administrative staff to form a new NCSE Support Service. This new service aims to develop schools' capacity to include students with special educational needs and to promote a continuum of educational provision which is inclusive and responsive.

A list of SENOs and their Contact details by county is available on the NCSE website at