Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (303)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

303. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special educational needs organisers, SENOs, in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18919/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of Special Educational 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. Each SENO has responsibility for specific schools, primary, post primary and special, within their area. In general, the role of the SENO ensures that a child with special educational needs receives the supports they are entitled to.

SENOs are available to advise parents in relation to supports which may be available to support children with special educational needs. The local SENO contact details are available on the NCSE’s website at

http://ncse.ie/seno-contact-list.

In 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, which significantly increases the NCSE's support service by over 100,  not only expanded the supports NCSE provide in terms of additional teaching and behavioural supports to schools and families but NCSE now provides professional development opportunities to teachers and schools to build their capacity to support students with special educational needs.

The aim of this new Support Service to develop schools’ capacity to include students with special educational needs and to promote a continuum of educational provision which is inclusive and responsive.

The matter raised by the Deputy in relation to the current number of SENOs from 2016 to 2019 has been referred to the NCSE for direct reply.