Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (505)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


505. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of resource teachers employed in primary schools over the past five years; the number of resource teacher vacancies; the unmet need of resource teachers; the estimated cost of employing an additional 100 resource teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32872/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

From September 2017, a new model for allocating special education teachers was introduced. This model allocates special education teachers to schools based on the profiled needs of schools, as opposed to the assessed needs of individual children.  

The revised allocation process replaced the generalised allocation process at primary and post primary school level for learning support and high incidence special educational needs, and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocation process which provided additional resource teaching supports to schools, to support pupils assessed as having Low Incidence disabilities.

The previous system which provides allocations of resource teaching support for individual pupils in particular disability categories, guided by the Report of the Special Education Review Committee (SERC Report), therefore no longer applies.

The new Special Education Teaching allocation provides a single unified allocation for special educational support teaching needs to each school, based on each school’s educational profile.

1,000 additional special education teachers have been provided for schools since 2017, while the total number of special education teachers has increased by 37% since 2011, from 9,740 in 2011, to over 13,400 at present.

9285 special education teachers were allocated to primary schools for the 2018/19 school year. For the 2017/19 school year, 9235 were allocated. For the 2016/17 school year there were a combined total of 8682 Resource Teachers and Learning Support Teachers allocated to primary schools. For 2015/16 this figure was 8238, and for 2014/15, a total of 7775 Resource Teachers and Learning Support teachers were allocated.

Once allocations of Special Education Teachers are made to schools, it is a matter for individual school Boards of Management to employ the teachers. My Department therefore does not have details of the number of temporary vacancies that may arise in schools while posts are being recruited.   

Adding an additional 100 special education teachers to the current level of provision would cost approximately €6 Million per year.