Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (527)

Jackie Cahill


527. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education if a decision will issue in respect of an application for a SNA by a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38808/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through it's network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) in special schools and special class settings. My Department does not have a role in making individual school determinations. Accordingly, the query will be directed to the NCSE for direct reply.

The NCSE allocates Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on the 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.

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. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.

The Department encourages parents and school authorities to engage locally regarding pupils' education. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child’s special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

The NCSE has published guidelines for the 2020/21 application process for Mainstream Schools with Special Classes to apply for SNA support on its website at the following link. https://ncse.ie/for-schools.

Details of the SNA allocations for each school are available on the NCSE website at https://ncse.ie/set-hours-and-sna-allocations.