My Department has regard to all aspects of demand when allocating the resources which are made available to it, including as part of the annual Budgetary Estimates process. This includes examining demographic needs and demands for special educational provision when allocating mainstream teaching posts, special education teaching posts and special needs assistant posts, which together make up a significant proportion of all employment in the sector.
With this in mind, the Department has invested heavily in additional recruitment over the past number of years to meet these demands. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, staffing numbers in the education sector stood at 107,209. This represents an increase of over 10,500 compared to the same period in 2016.
As part of Budget 2020, I announced further announcements, including an additional 581 teaching posts to bring the number of teachers next year to 71,473 and over 1,000 additional SNA posts, which will bring the total number of SNAs in the school system to 17,000.