Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (121)

Kathleen Funchion


121. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the criteria for a child with additional needs to access a special needs assistant, SNA, in cases in which there are varying levels of need among children in one or various classrooms in one school; the method used to decide the way in which the time of a SNA is divided among several children; the process by which it is decided in a school in which a SNA is employed; and the minimum and maximum ratio of SNAs to children permitted per school. [22800/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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.

SNAs should be deployed by schools in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate the support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.