The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of students with special educational needs in special schools, in accordance with the policies of my Department. Special school staffing allocations are reviewed and updated each year by the NCSE.
Since 2012, special schools are staffed on the basis of their actual student profiles and the disability category of each student, as opposed to being based principally on school designation, in accordance with my Department's Circular 0042/2011. It is a matter for special schools to deploy their teaching staff to cater for the needs of the student cohort and to ensure age appropriate placement.
The NCSE has confirmed that having complied with the recommendations of the Section 29 Appeals Board in relation to the student referred to by the Deputy, they have had ongoing engagement with the school to date, with regard to the student's re-integration back to school, which includes the development of a re-integration plan.
A number of steps have been taken as part of this process, including adaption to the school's physical environment in order to accommodate the student which is nearing completion.
An additional teaching allocation has also been sanctioned to the school, as a short term intervention, to support the student's re-integration and in order to meet the identified needs of the student concerned. The purpose of this allocation to the school is to compliment the teaching and SNA provision already allocated to the school. The plan for re-integration will include one to one support and some periods supporting the student in the school community. The additional allocation and some of the existing staffing allocation will be deployed to support the student in this way.
The NCSE has advised that a plan is in place for the student to transition back to school full time within four weeks. The NCSE will review the additional allocation to the school on a regular basis.