Special Schools are funded in the same manner as all recognised schools and I have no plans to change this.
Capitation Grants are paid to all schools including those with special classes, and to Special Schools, on the basis of enrolments. Additional funding has been made available to provide for a 5% increase in capitation funding for primary and post primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2019/20 school year. Over the course of the school year 2019/20, an additional €10 million will be allocated to primary and post primary schools, of which €4 million will be allocated in 2019.
Enhanced capitation rates are payable in respect of pupils attending special schools and special classes attached to mainstream schools to assist with the extra costs associated with the running costs of classrooms with a small number of pupils operating specialist provision.
The rates vary, depending on the particular category of disability from €544 per pupil with mild general learning disability to €840 per pupil with complex special educational needs.
The ancillary services grant is intended to assist schools to provide secretarial and/or caretaking assistance.
Special schools are paid the ancillary services grant based on the number of authorised full-time teaching staff approved by the Department for the school compared to mainstream schools, which are paid based on their enrolment figures. The method of payment to special schools is in recognition that special schools generally have smaller enrolments and have a greater administrative burden due to a larger staffing including SNAs and bus escorts.
The maximum grant of €95,500 is paid on a ceiling of 16 teachers.
Funding provided for caretaking and secretarial services may be regarded as a common grant from which the Board can allocate according to its own priorities.
The NCSE is currently undertaking Policy Advice on Education Provision in Special Classes and Special Schools to examine whether placement in specialist settings brings about improved educational
outcomes and experiences, relative to their ability, for students with special educational needs. This Policy Advice is to be completed and a report submitted to the Minister no later than June 2020.