Schools to get 1,000 ex­tra spe­cial needs as­sis­tants

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Lisa O’Don­nell

SCHOOLS across the coun­try are set to be as­signed al­most 1,000 ad­di­tional spe­cial needs as­sis­tants by the end of the year.

This will bring the cur­rent num­ber of SNAs work­ing in schools up to 15,000, an in­crease of over 40% since 2011. The an­nounce­ment will see 800 ex­tra SNAs al­lo­cated to schools for the be­gin­ning of the next school year, with a fur­ther 140 due to be al­lo­cated be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Around 36,000 pupils will have ac­cess to SNA sup­port fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s al­lo­ca­tion, com­pared to 22,284 in 2011.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Richard Bru­ton said that SNAs played a ma­jor part in en­sur­ing that chil­dren with spe­cial needs can fully par­tic­i­pate in school and ful­fil their po­ten­tial.

‘Spe­cial needs as­sis­tants have con­tin­ued to play a key role in help­ing chil­dren with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs who have ad­di­tional care needs to at­tend school and par­tic­i­pate in ed­u­ca­tion,’ he said.

‘The ex­tra posts I am an­nounc­ing to­day will en­sure that ev­ery child that needs ac­cess to SNA sup­port can re­ceive this sup­port.’

In Septem­ber 2016, the Na­tional Coun­cil for Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion was di­rected to review the Spe­cial Needs As­sis­tant Scheme to rec­om­mend what could be done to pro­vide bet­ter out­comes to stu­dents with spe­cial needs. The re­port was sub­mit­ted to the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

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