Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ceisteanna (185)

Colm Brophy


185. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of ensuring that each special school has access to behavioural therapists. [53766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

On 27th March I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model, a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs, which is being piloted in 75 schools in the Kildare/Wicklow/South Dublin region in the current school year.

The pilot will include four behaviour practitioners as part of a National Council of Special Education (NCSE) Regional Support Team. These practitioners will be employed on a salary scale of €52,162 to €61,418 (exclusive of employer's PRSI).

The School Inclusion Model aims to build schools’ capacity and to provide the right supports at the right time for students with additional needs.

The School Inclusion Model pilot comprises:

- a frontloaded SNA allocation model based on schools’ profiled need having regard to the special education teacher allocation model introduced in 2017;

- an expanded National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) to support pilot schools;

- the continuation of the Pre-school and In-school Therapy Demonstration Project in the pilot area to ensure a wrap-around service for the pilot schools;

- the establishment of an NCSE Regional Support team in the pilot area to include speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour practitioners, in order to inform teacher Continuing Professional Development and best practice in schools;

- the development of a national training programme for SNAs with pilot roll-out; and

- the provision of nursing support for children with complex medical needs in schools.

Budget 2019 provided €4.75 million to support implementation of the recommendations of the NCSE Comprehensive Review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme, including the implementation of the new service pilot.

As the above is a pilot, the current position is that the provision of behavioural therapies falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Health and the service is provided through the Health Service Executive (HSE).