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Special Educational Needs

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 24 May 2022

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Questions (385, 386, 387, 388, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

385. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2021 in special classes in secondary schools. [26036/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

386. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2021 in mainstream classes in secondary schools. [26037/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

387. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2021 in special classes in primary schools. [26038/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

388. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2021 in mainstream classes in primary schools. [26039/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

389. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2021 in special schools. [26040/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

390. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2020 in special classes in secondary schools. [26041/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

391. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2020 in mainstream classes in secondary schools. [26042/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

392. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2020 in special classes in primary schools. [26043/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

393. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2020 in mainstream classes in primary schools. [26044/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

394. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed in September 2020 in special schools. [26045/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

395. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs currently employed since September 2021 in mainstream classes in secondary schools. [26047/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

396. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs currently employed since September 2021 in special classes in primary schools. [26048/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

397. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs currently employed since September 2021 in mainstream classes in primary schools. [26049/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

398. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs employed since September 2021 in special schools. [26050/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

399. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of SNAs currently employed in special schools. [26052/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

400. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream primary school classes receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2020. [26077/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

401. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream secondary school classes receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2020. [26078/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

402. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special classes at secondary level receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2020. [26079/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

403. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special classes at primary level receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2020. [26080/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

404. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special schools receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2020. [26081/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

405. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream primary school classes receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2021. [26082/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

406. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream secondary school classes receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2021. [26083/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

407. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special classes at secondary level receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2021.; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26084/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

408. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special classes at primary level receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2021. [26085/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

409. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special schools receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant in September 2021. [26086/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

410. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream primary school classes currently receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant. [26087/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

411. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in mainstream secondary school classes currently receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant. [26088/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

412. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special classes at secondary level currently receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant. [26089/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

413. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special classes at primary level currently receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant. [26090/22]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

414. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education the number of children in special schools currently receiving the assistance of a special needs assistant. [26091/22]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 385 to 414, inclusive, together.

I propose to take 29 of the Deputy’s PQs together, as each question relates to Special Needs Assistants.

The provision of education for children with special needs is an ongoing priority for Government. 

The State currently spends in excess of 25% of its annual education and training budget (€9.2 Billion) on making additional provision for children with special educational needs. This represents an increase of over 60% in total expenditure since 2011, at which point €1.247 Billion per annum was provided.

Budget 2022 provides funding for an additional 1,165 SNAs (in 2022) to provide support to children with special educational needs, which will bring the total number of SNAs to 19,169 at the end of December 2022.  

Provision for 19,169 SNAs as at 31st December 2022 will represent an increase of 81% since 2011 at which time 10,575 were provided.

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

When a school has been allocated an SNA, the Board of Management, as the employer, is responsible for filling the vacancy and the decision on whether to employ a full time SNA to fill a full time post or to employ an equivalent number of part time SNAs, rests with the employer.

My Department acts as paymaster to over 3,700 schools who’s Boards of Management are the direct employers of the SNAs in those schools. SNAs in the Education and Training Board sector are employed and paid by the ETBs. Information of the number of people employed to fill the posts allocated is not available. However, the NCSE publish statistics on SNA allocations to primary, post primary and special schools in tabular form, by county and by school, for each school year, this information is available on their website, www.ncse.ie or by using the following link: ncse.ie/statistics.

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. Information of the number of pupils receiving the support of an SNA in mainstream schools is therefore, not available.

The SNA allocation to a special school can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enroll in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time. There is a prescribed special class to SNA ratio. ASD special classes have an allocation of 1 teacher and 2 SNA posts to cater for the educational and care needs of 6 students. Additional SNA support above the prescribed ratio may also be sanctioned by the NCSE where there are individual children who have significant care needs which require support above the level of support already sanctioned to the school.

As this question relates to the statistics on the allocation of SNA support, I have referred the question to the NCSE for its direct reply.

Question No. 386 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 387 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 388 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 389 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 390 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 391 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 392 answered with Question No. 385.
Question No. 393 answered with Question No. 385.
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