Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (191, 193, 194)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

191. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) can take a career break to study and work part-time. [16096/19]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

193. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if career breaks for special needs assistants, SNAs, will be changed to allow them to work in other fields during their break; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16109/19]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

194. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if allowances will be made to allow special needs assistants, SNAs, to take a career break for upskilling and to work part-time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16110/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 191, 193 and 194 together.

Special Needs Assistants are recruited specifically to assist in the care of pupils with disabilities, who have additional and significant care needs, in an educational context. They may be appointed to a special school or a mainstream school to assist school authorities in making suitable provision for a pupil or pupils with special care needs.

In June 2012, my Department, following consultation with the School Management Bodies and the relevant Trade Unions, issued a Career Break Scheme for Special Needs Assistants in Recognised Primary and Post-Primary Schools, the provisions for which are contained in Circular Letter 22/2012 which is available on my Departments website. 

Paragraph 1.2 of the Circular states:

“The main objectives of this scheme below which are not exhaustive, is for employers, wherever possible to facilitate applicants in the areas of:

- Personal Development

- Education (including teacher training)

- Public Representation

- Childcare/Dependent care

- Self-employment”

The Career Break Scheme therefore is applicable to Special Needs Assistants who wish to pursue further education.

Paragraph 7.1 of the Circular states:

“The taking up of regular paid employment of any kind elsewhere in the State while on career break would be contrary to the objectives of the scheme and shall lead to refusal of an application or withdrawal of approval already given”.