I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 and 132 together.
In January 2003 my Department advised all primary schools that responses to applications for special educational needs support for the final term of the 2002-03 school year would be issued in the week commencing 7 April 2003. All applications made by schools up to and including 14 February 2003 were to be considered in that context. A further communication to schools in March 2003 included a request for professional documentation in support of the applications to be submitted to the national educational psychological service. Schools were reminded that any delay in submitting this documentation to NEPS might result in a delay in reaching a decision regarding the allocation of resources.
During the week commencing 7 April 2003, my Department wrote to all schools which had applied for SEN supports by the previous 14 February. Schools which had made a full and complete application were given a definitive response and the remainder of the applicant schools were advised as to the general reasons it was not possible to issue a decision within the timeframe in their cases. The main reasons for the delays were that professional reports were not submitted by schools to NEPS as requested; reports were sent to wrong addresses, resulting in delays; and certain schools omitted any reference to roll number or county on envelopes or contents, as requested. Schools which had failed to submit the professional documentation to NEPS were requested to do so by 16 April 2003. My Department is now finalising its examination of this batch of applications for SEN supports and responses will issue to schools shortly, including the school referred to by the Deputy.