Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Questions (356)

Mark Ward

Question:

356. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Education if she will respond to correspondence (details supplied) in relation to the allocation of special needs assistants and rectify discrepancies in the allocation. [31475/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The NCSE has responsibility for planning and coordinating school supports for children with special educational needs including the allocation of SNAs and reviews.

The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme is designed to provide schools with additional adult support staff who can assist children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs. Such support is provided in order to facilitate the attendance of those pupils at school and also to minimise disruption to class or teaching time for the pupils concerned, or for their peers, and with a view to developing their independent living skills.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource. The deployment of SNAs within schools is a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management of the school. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated.

When a school has been allocated an SNA, the Board of Management, as the employer, is responsible for filling the vacancy. Details of the recruitment process which applies to SNAs is detailed in Department Circular 0051/2019: Recruitment and Appointment Procedures for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), which is available on the Department’s website at: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Employing-Special-Needs-Assistants-SNAs-/Special-Needs-Assistant-Recruitment-and-Qualifications.html

Circular 0051/2019 sets out the role of the Board of Management in the appointment of SNA’s. The circular states that the Board of Management, in accordance with the procedures set out in the circular, is responsible for the appointment of SNAs in schools. Any such appointment is subject to the prior approval of the school’s Patron/ETB.

The Circular further sates that an SNA shall only be appointed to a post which is to be filled within the allocation of posts approved by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

The matter of Lucan Community National School increased SNA allocation approval is a matter for the NCSE. The Departments payroll only funds SNA posts sanctioned by the NCSE.

The query raised refers to the School's SNA allocation and related communications. Accordingly, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. As Minister, I have no role in making determinations in individual cases.