Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (355)

John McGuinness

Question:

355. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if in-class supports and learning support hours are being provided for students in need at a school (details supplied); the reason a SNA was not provided for a person when it was recommended for them on professional advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13522/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Information on how additional teaching resources to support children with special educational needs are allocated to primary and post schools are outlined in circulars 0013/2017 and 0014/2017 issued by my Department. Revised allocations for 2019/20 recently issued to schools and Circulars 0007/2019 for primary schools and 0008/2019 for post primary schools provide the details.

The Special Education Teaching allocation provides a single unified allocation for special educational support teaching needs to each school, based on each school’s educational profile.

Under the allocation model, schools have been provided with a total allocation for special education needs support based on their school profile.

The provision of a profiled allocation is designed to give a fair allocation for each school which recognises that all schools need an allocation for special needs support, but which provides a graduated allocation which takes into account the level of need in each school.

Schools, including the school the Deputy has referred to are frontloaded with resources, based on each school’s profile. The allocations to schools include provision to support all pupils in the schools, including where a child receives a diagnosis after the allocation is received by a school, or where there are newly enrolling pupils to the school.

Both my Department and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) are committed to ensuring that all schools are treated equally and fairly in the manner in which their school profiles have been calculated.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible 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 enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.