Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (134, 135)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

134. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream primary school classes receiving the assistance of an SNA in September 2019. [7501/21]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

135. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream secondary school classes receiving the assistance of an SNA in September 2019. [7502/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134 and 135 together.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) have provided figures for Primary and post primary pupils in main stream classes recieving assistance from Special Needs Assistans at the end of the 2018/19 school year. The information is provided in the table below.

Pupils

Post Primary

4853

Primary

15697

Grand Total

20550

The NCSE has responsibility for planning and coordinating school supports for children with special educational needs including the allocation of SNAs and reviews. My Department does not have a role in making individual school determinations.

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. 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.

SNA support is allocated to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which provides details of the primary care needs for which SNA support will usually be provided and sets out the types of secondary care associated tasks which SNAs may often perform, but only once they have been allocated on the basis of a requirement to provide for primary care needs.

The NCSE has published details of SNA allocations for all schools which are available to view on a per county basis. Details can be accessed on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie or by using the following link: http://ncse.ie/statistics.