Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Ceisteanna (106)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

106. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills when hours for children with autistic spectrum disorders who are awaiting home support hours will be sanctioned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37795/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Home Tuition Grant schemes application forms and related Circular were published on 8th August 2019 this year. Last year, the forms and circular were published on 26th July 2018.

The scheme provides funding towards a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement for whom such a placement is not available. The scheme also provides for early intervention for children with Autism.

Where the NCSE confirms that there is no suitable school place available for a child, the Department can provide Home Tuition Grant funding towards a compensatory educational service for the child until a school placement is available.

By its nature, the grant is intended to be a short term intervention and should not be regarded as an optional alternative to a school placement.

The application forms and related Circular for this year’s scheme were published on 8th August 2019. Last year, the forms and circular were published on 26 July 2018.

Applications forms are signed by the NCSE local SENO to confirm that no school placement is currently available for a child. SENOs are processing home tuition applications as a matter of urgency.

It is an essential condition for the approval of grant funding that tutors engaged by Parents are registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland and vetted by the National Vetting Bureau via the Teaching Council of Ireland’s online vetting process, prior to the commencement of the delivery of tuition.

The Department has no flexibility in this regard and cannot approve the Home Tuition grant until it verifies that these conditions are met.

The same conditions apply whether Parents use the grant to engage tutors to deliver tuition in their home or private providers to deliver tuition in a group setting.

The Home Tuition Application form outlines that it may take the Department up to 15 working days to process home tuition applications.

The Department is prioritising the processing of Home Tuition applications with a view to processing completed applications within 7 working days.