Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (91)

Fiona O'Loughlin


91. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if funding will be allocated to increase ASD units in a school (details supplied) in south County Kildare. [40746/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs.

This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where the NCSE identifies need.

It is open to any school to make application to the NCSE to establish a class where a need has been identified in their area. My Department is not involved in considering applications from individual schools.

The NCSE have well established structures to ensure that advance planning is in place so that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the SENO will also approach individual schools in the area to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability.

The NCSE team of locally based Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) are available to assist and advise schools to plan for special class provision and to address issues in provision that may arise from time in time at local levels.

Guidelines for Boards of Management and Principals of Primary and Post Primary schools contain information on setting up and organising special classes, including information on resources which may be provided to schools to establish special classes are available to download from www.ncse.ie.

In Co. Kildare, there are currently 4 special schools and 77 special classes in mainstream schools, including 6 ASD Early Intervention classes, 48 primary ASD classes and 16 ASD post primary ASD classes.

As the Deputy's question relates to the NCSE planning for special class provision in a particular area I have arranged for the question to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.