Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (518)

Kathleen Funchion


518. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number employed of the approximately 950 increased additional special needs assistants announced in budget 2019 for the period 2018-2019. [33095/19]

View answer

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.

Budget 2019 provided for an additional 950 SNA posts, bringing the total number of SNA posts available for allocation by the end of this year to 15,950. The number of posts allocated at the end of the 2018/19 school year was 15,030. I announced in May that a further 792 posts have been allocated for the start of the 2019/20 school year bringing the total to 15,822. It is anticipated that the remaining posts will be allocated before the end of December 2019.

Recruitment of SNAs is a matter for school management.