Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (294)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

294. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if special needs assistants and other workers in the primary and second-level education system will be provided with the same entitlement to paid annual leave that is provided to teachers to allow them to serve on public bodies such as local authorities; the reason this right is denied to special needs assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28189/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Special Needs Assistants(SNAs) 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. The first priority is that the care needs of the pupils are met on an ongoing basis during the school year.

In accordance with the Education Act, the terms and conditions of employment of SNAs employed in approved posts funded by moneys provided by the Oireachtas are determined by the Minister for Education and Skills, with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

The position regarding annual leave entitlements for SNAs is set out in various circulars which have issued from my Department including Circular Letters 0017/2013; 0019/2013; 0027/2013; 0054/2015 and 0058/2016.

Circular Letter 0032/2010 sets out the brief absences provisions which may be availed of by SNAs to cater for such items as service on public bodies.