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Special Educational Needs Staff

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 11 July 2018

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Questions (207)

Michael Moynihan


207. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is his position that in circumstances in which a school gains an extra SNA allocation the additional posts should be offered to existing SNAs to bring them up to full-time hours in the first instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31128/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

To answer the Deputy, the number of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) employed in a school depends on the allocation given to the school by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), based on its assessment of the special educational needs of pupils in the school. My Department has no control over the allocation process to schools and is not in a position to influence the allocation process in light of the fact that the NCSE is an independent statutory body.

A school’s allocation can increase or decrease and where schools receive a reduced allocation this can be for a variety of factors, such as pupils for whom the school had previously received an allocation have left, or have declining care needs.  In light of this, the employment of SNAs may be reduced from full-time to part-time or may be terminated by way of redundancy where the approved allocation of the school is reduced.  

Where a full-time SNA post within a school is reduced to a part-time post, the issue of redundancy payment in respect of the loss of hours may arise.  Redundancy arrangements for SNAs are set out in Department Circular 0058/2006.

Where a school/ETB has an additional allocation of SNA hours/posts then that additional allocation of hours/posts must be offered to an existing part-time SNAs in that school, in order of seniority, before the employer has recourse to these arrangements. This means that before an employer opts to recruit a further person as an SNA, they must ensure that all existing part-time SNAs in their employment, in order of seniority, have been offered a full-time position in the school or, in the case of ETBs, a full-time position in a school within the ETB scheme. The only exception that can be made to this rule is where a school/ETB has a determination in writing from the NCSE / SENO stating that their allocation must be split amongst a specific number of SNAs and/or stating that the allocation must be implemented in a specific fashion to address the care needs of the pupil(s).

These arrangements are set out in Department Circular 0034/2018, which can be accessed at the following link: