Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Ceisteanna (377, 378, 379, 380)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

436 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will appoint more resource teachers and special needs assistants; the reason there is a delay in processing applications for these posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11984/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

SER applications received between 15 February and 31 August 2003 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 nationwide census of SER provision.

My Department is at present reviewing existing arrangements for the allocation of special educational supports to primary schools. In that context, my officials have been involved in on-going discussions on a weighted system of allocation of resource teaching support with representative interests. At this stage, it would be premature to anticipate the outcome of these discussions. However, the basic purpose of the new system is to ensure that each school has the level of resources required to cater for its pupils with special educational needs.

This process 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.

The arrangements for processing applications received after the 31 August 2003 will also be considered in the context of the proposed new weighted system of allocation. A further communication will be sent to schools in this regard.

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

437 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received an application for a special needs teacher from a school in order to assist a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; when this application will be dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11985/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

My Department has no record of having received an application for special education resources, SER, for the pupil referred to by the Deputy.

Any application received will be considered in the context of the criteria set out in the relevant Department circulars and the existing level of SER provision in the school.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

438 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding the evaluation of special educational resource applications received between 15 February and 21 August 2003; if decisions have been made with regard to these applications; and the position with regard to completion of the evaluation. [11986/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

SER applications received between 15 February and 31 August 2003 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 nationwide census of SER provision.

My Department is at present reviewing existing arrangements for the allocation of special educational supports to primary schools. In that context, my officials have been involved in on-going discussions on a weighted system of allocation of resource teaching support with representative interests. At this stage, it would be premature to anticipate the outcome. However, the basic purpose of the new system is to ensure that each school has the level of resources required to cater for its pupils with special educational needs.

This process 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.

The arrangements for processing applications received after the 31 August 2003 will also be considered in the context of the proposed new weighted system of allocation. A further communication will be sent to schools in this regard.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

439 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Education and Science the procedure for recruiting special needs assistants. [11987/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The procedures for the recruitment of special needs assistants in primary schools are outlined in circular SNA 3/03. The title of the circular is "Appointment Procedures for Special Needs Assistants".

The circular is on my Department's website, www.education.ie. It may be accessed by entering the website then entering “Education Personnel” and “Special Needs Assistants”.

I will arrange for a copy of the circular to be forwarded to the Deputy.