Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (190)

Joe O'Brien


190. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Education if data exists or an assessment has been conducted on the need for an ASD unit in a school (details supplied). [29313/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Ensuring that every child has a suitable school placement is a key objective of my Department. Significant resources are allocated each year to ensure that appropriate supports are available for children with special educational needs.

Children with special educational needs are supported through placement in mainstream classes, special classes and special schools. At school, they receive a range of supports provided by teachers and SNAs. Other professional supports, including training for teachers, are provided by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) to enable each school provide a holistic educational experience for each child. The HSE is responsible for the delivery of therapeutic supports.

NCSE has responsibility for coordinating and advising on the education provision for children nationwide; has well established structures in place for engaging with schools and parents; and seeks to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special education placements. The NCSE is planning a further expansion of special class and school places nationally to meet identified need. This process is ongoing

It is open to any school to make an application to the NCSE for the establishment of a specialised provision and where sanctioned, a range of supports, including capital funding, is made available to the school. School transport is also available. My Department works closely with the NCSE in this regard.

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy includes the provision of a 4 classroom SEN base. This project is in the process of being devolved for delivery to the local Education and Training Board (ETB).

The first step in this process is the execution of a Service Level Agreement between my Department and the ETB and this is being arranged. Thereafter, the ETB will procure a Design Team for the project to design the buildings, obtain the necessary statutory planning permissions and move the project onward to construction in due course. As the project is at an early stage in the delivery process, it is not possible at this time to give a date for its completion.