Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (308)

Michael Lowry


308. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education the status of an application by a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary for additional special education teacher hours, given the hours it currently has do not suffice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2515/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

DES Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools set out details of a new model for allocating special education teachers to schools.

DES Circulars 0007/2019 for primary schools and 0008/2019 for post primary schools also provide details of how the allocations are being updated for schools from September 2019, based on updated profile data.

All schools received revised allocations from September 2019.

The Special Education Teaching allocation provides a single unified allocation for special educational support teaching needs to each school, based on each school’s educational profile.

Under the allocation model, schools have been provided with a total allocation for special education needs support based on their school profile.

The provision of a profiled allocation is designed to give a fair allocation for each school which recognises that all schools need an allocation for special needs support, but which provides a graduated allocation which takes into account the level of need in each school.

Schools are front-loaded with resources, based on each school’s profile. The allocations to schools include provision to support all pupils in the schools, including where a child receives a diagnosis after the allocation is received by a school, or where there are newly enrolling pupils to the school.

A process is also in place to address circumstances where the school profile significantly changes following the allocation process e.g. a developing school where the net enrolment numbers significantly increased.

The criteria for qualification for mainstream school developing school posts are set out in the Primary and Post Primary School Staffing Schedule each school year.

Schools who qualify for additional mainstream developing school posts in accordance with these criteria also qualify for additional Special Education Teaching Allocations to take account of this developing status and these allocations are automatically applied for schools.

Finally, it is acknowledged that there are some circumstances, which may arise in schools, which fall outside the appeals process, or allocations for developing school status.

These relate to exceptional or emergency circumstances which could not have been anticipated e.g. where the school profile changes very significantly, or where other exceptional circumstances have arisen in a school and which may require a review of schools capacity to provide additional teaching support for all pupils who need it in the school, or of their utilisation of their allocations.

Schools who wish to seek a review of their special education teacher allocations may apply here

An application for an Exceptional Needs Review was made by the school referred to by the Deputy in this question, in December 2020. The NCSE is currently processing review applications and the result of this review will be communicated directly to the school in due course.