My Department’s capital allocation for the school sector in 2019 amounts to €622m. I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has received an application for additional accommodation from one of the schools in question. The application is currently being assessed. As soon as this is completed a decision will be conveyed to the school authorities.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its national network of Special Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for planning and coordinating education provision for children with special educational needs including granting approval for the establishment and resourcing of special classes.
Special classes for students with ASD are staffed with a lower pupil–teacher ratio of 6:1 at primary level and 6:1.5 at post primary level, and also have a minimum of two SNAs for every class of 6 children.
When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation. There are standard arrangements in place for the funding, design and delivery of these projects.
Other resources which are provided to schools to support children with Special Educational Needs, including Autism, include the following:
- Professional development for teachers.
- The National Educational Psychological Service
- Assistive technology.
- Access to the Special School transport scheme.
- Access to special equipment and furniture where required.
- Enhanced capitation grants at primary level
- Adapted school buildings/Additional accommodation
- ICT Grant for new classes
- Start Up grant for new classes
- Access to the extended school year scheme. (July Provision).