I propose to take Questions Nos. 252, 308 and 309 together.
My Department does not hold information in relation to the number of children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in school.
The National Council for Special education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, co-ordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The NCSE’s policy advice on Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2016) noted a national ASD prevalence rate of 1.55% or 1 in every 65 students.
There were 567,772 students enrolled in Primary schools and 362,899 students enrolled in Post Primary schools in the 2018/19 school year. Enrolment data for the 2019/20 year will be available later in the year.
167 new special classes will be opened for the 2019-20 school year, which means there will be 1,622 special classes in place, compared to 548 in 2011. 1,355 are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) special classes, including 134 ASD early intervention classes, 849 primary ASD classes and 370 post-primary ASD classes in mainstream schools.
124 special schools also provide specialist education for those students with complex special educational needs.