All Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are required to be available for a number of days at the start and finish of each school term not exceeding 12 in total. Under the Croke Park Agreement it was agreed to introduce greater flexibility to the use of these 12 days. Accordingly, DES Circular 71/2011 was issued on 15 December 2011 which outlined that these 12 days now equate to 72 hours (pro-rata for part-time SNAs) to be used by schools as an additional bank of hours to be utilised and delivered outside of normal school opening hours and/or the normal school year.
The scope of this circular is for all SNAs employed in recognised Primary, Secondary, Community and Comprehensive Schools and by ETBs. It doesn’t make any distinctions between any SNAs (whether standard or cover posts), except to provide for part-time SNAs only doing pro-rata Croke Park hours (i.e. percentage of the total 72-hours commitment).
While my Department published the Circular 71/2011 concerning Croke Park Hours for SNAs (a link to which is provided below), it does not get involved in the local management of how schools (as the employers) arrange the delivery of the hours from their staff (including SNAs). However, point 9 of Appendix 1 of this circular does provide possible examples (not an exhaustive listing) of the type of work that maybe undertaken by SNA’s to meet their Croke Park hourly obligations.
Link to DES Circular 71/2011 is as follows: