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Special Educational Needs Staff

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 December 2020

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Questions (435)

Peadar Tóibín


435. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education the circular under which special needs assistants can insist on a two-to-one ratio of two SNAs per one child to assist with toileting in schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40377/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are employed by the managerial authorities of individual schools or by Education and Training Boards (ETBs). The Board of Management/ETB is the SNA's employer and the recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual Principal/Board of Management, subject to Departmental guidelines.

Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support is provided specifically to assist recognised primary, post primary and special schools to cater for the care needs of students with disabilities with significant care needs.

My Department’s Circular 0030/2014 sets out details of the primary care needs for which SNA support will usually be provided and details the types of secondary care associated tasks which SNAs may often perform.

Schools are required to have a care plan for each student for whom SNA support is provided and the SNA role in supporting the student should be agreed with parents as part of the care plan.

Where specific training is required, the School Board of Management should liaise with the parent or Health Service Executive (HSE) as necessary.

With regard to how many SNAs or adults should be present when intimate care needs are being carried out, there is no requirement for two SNAs to be present. In this regard, there is a need to balance the requirement to ensure child protection procedures are adhered to and to preserve the dignity of the child involved.