Thursday, 9 May 2019

Questions (58)

Charlie McConalogue


58. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will be made on an application form in respect of a student (details supplied) in County Donegal under the assistive technology scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20189/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports. SENOs also make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology/specialised equipment is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in making recommendations for support, which is set out in my Department's Circular 0010/2013.

In order to qualify for equipment under the assistive technology scheme, a student must have been diagnosed with a physical or communicative disability and must also have a recommendation in a professional assessment that the equipment is essential in order to allow the student to access the curriculum. It must also be clear that the existing I.T. equipment in the school is insufficient to meet the child's needs.

Due to obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was introduced in May 2018 a new version of the Assistive Technology application form was created. This was necessitated by the sensitive nature of personal data submitted by schools along with applications. The NCSE was informed that with effect from 1st December 2018, the older version of the application form would be returned.

On 17th January 2019 my Department received an application for Assistive Technology in respect of the child in question; however, this form was returned to the SENO, to have the school resubmit a new version of the application form in order to comply with GDPR guidelines. To date the new version of the form has not been received in my Department in respect of the child in question.

The NCSE has confirmed that the new application form has been received from the school, and the NCSE is recommending the approval of equipment for the child. The application form is being forwarded to my Department this week.

On receipt of the new version of the Assistive Technology form in respect of the child in question, the application will be processed and the school notified of the decision.