Thursday, 17 October 2019

Questions (118)

Jackie Cahill


118. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of emotional behavioural units in primary schools in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42747/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Firstly, it is important to clarify that the appropriate term is special class and not 'unit' when referring to the provision of special classes in mainstream schools.

11 special classes for emotional behavioural disturbance, 8 in mainstream primary schools and 3 in mainstream post primary schools will be provided for the 2019/20 school year, compared to 7 such special classes in 2011/12 school year. 

There are currently 76 special classes in County Tipperary; 1 for emotional behavioural disturbance, 68 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), 3 Mild General Learning Disability, 1 Moderate Learning Disabiilty and 3 Specific Speech and Language Disorder.

The National Council for Special Education is an independent statutory body, whose functions include planning and coordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs in conjunction with schools and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes responsibility, through its network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SNEOs) for establishing special classes.  Applications meeting the criteria for establishment of special classes, including special classes for emotional behavioural disturbance are approved by the NCSE.  

The NCSE continues to monitor and review the requirement for special class places in particular areas and has capacity to establish such new classes or retain current classes where necessary, subject to the willingness of schools to open/retain classes.  The NCSE welcomes expressions of interest from schools in opening special classes to meet the demand for special class provision.  In deciding on the location of a special class SENOs take into account both the present and the future potential need for special class provision, and they must also be satisfied that the special class is sustainable and appropriately located.  SENOs liaise with relevant professionals in their area to arrive at an informed decision.

As the Deputy's question refers to the provision of further SSLD classes in this area, it has been forwarded to the NCSE for direct reply.