In recognition of the fact that remote learning is particularly challenging for children with complex special educational needs, my Department put in place the supplementary programme in February to support the education and/or care needs of pupils with complex needs during the period of extended school closures and phased reopening. It commenced on 11February for primary students and on 22 February for eligible post-primary students.
My Department’s approach was intended to be flexible so as to maximise the number of students participating. To this end the hours could be used by families at any time before 30 April 2021, including during the Easter holidays.
The programme is structured in similar way to my Department’s home based summer programme. Parents engage either a teacher or an SNA in a private arrangement. When the programme is complete parents return a grant claim form to my Department. The closing date for receipt of completed claim forms was 14 May 2021.
The processing of applications for the Supplementary Programme is broadly similar to that of the home based summer programme. As with the home based summer programme, there is a very high volume of claims for the supplementary programme and as such the timeline for payment of teachers/SNAs is similar.
Processing of the approx. 13,800 applications is ongoing and the Department is working towards an initial pay date of 5 August 2021.