Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (367, 368, 369)

Jack Wall

Ceist:

476 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a child (details supplied) who was granted resource teaching hours in their previous school has not had the hours allocated granted in their new school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1692/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

My Department has received a number of applications for special educational needs, SEN, supports from the school referred to by the Deputy, including the application for the pupil in question.

SER applications received between 15 February and 31 August 2003, including the one made by this school, are being considered at present. In all, more than 5,000 such applications were received. Priority was given to cases involving children starting school last September and all these cases were responded to at or before the commencement of the current school year.

The balance of more than 4,000 applications has been reviewed by a dedicated team comprising members of my Department's inspectorate and the national educational psychological service, NEPS. These applications are being further considered in the context of the outcome of surveys of SER provision conducted over the past year or so. Account is also being taken of the data submitted by schools as part of the recent nationwide census of SER provision.

The processing of the applications is a complex and time-consuming operation. However, my Department is endeavouring to have this completed as quickly as possible and my officials will then respond to all applicant schools. Pending a response, schools are advised to refer to circular 24/03, which issued in September, 2003. This circular contains practical advice on how to achieve the most effective deployment of resources already allocated for special educational needs within the school.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Ceist:

477 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of pupils in national schools and secondary schools in County Kerry that are awaiting the services of an occupational therapist and a speech therapist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1693/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Responsibility for the delivery of the therapy services referred to by the Deputy rests with the relevant health authorities who are allocated funding for this purpose. My Department does not hold the statistical information requested by the Deputy and she may wish to pursue the matter with the health board concerned.

Question No. 478 answered with QuestionNo. 374.

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

479 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Education and Science the level of cut-back to funding for resource teaching support by his Department in the year to December 2003; the level of cut-back anticipated in 2004; if his attention has been drawn to the consequences of these cutbacks on schools such as Ardee community school, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1715/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The level of resource teacher support being made available to students with special educational needs in the second level system has been increased by approximately 300 whole-time equivalent teacher posts for the current school year.

The school to which the Deputy refers has been allocated 2.08 whole-time equivalent teacher posts and three whole-time special needs assistant posts for the current school year. This compares with an allocation to the school in question of 1.62 whole-time equivalent teacher posts and three special needs assistant posts in the 2002-03 school year. There are no proposals to reduce allocations in respect of special needs for the coming school year.