Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (517)

Kathleen Funchion


517. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants employed for the 2018-2019 school year; and the projected number of SNAs to be employed for the 2019-2020 school year. [33094/19]

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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.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The number of SNA posts allocated at the end of the 2018/19 school year was 15,030. As I announced in May, a further 792 posts have been allocated for the start of the 2019/20 school year with up to a further 128 posts expected to be allocated by the end of December, bringing the total allocation at the end of 2019 to 15,950.

Recruitment of SNAs is a matter for school management.