Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 07/07/2015. Tags: Education And Politics
The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, today welcomed the Cabinet decision to approve up to 610 additional Special Needs Assistant posts from September 2015 reflecting the government’s commitment to ensure that every child with an assessed need has access to a SNA.
The additional allocation follows a significant increase in assessed need, following which the Minister has requested a review by her Department and the NCSE to ensure the SNA scheme is sustainable in meeting its objectives.
According to Minister O’Sullivan, “Every child with an assessed care need will receive access to SNA support. This is an important principle and will continue in the 2015/16 school year. To achieve that goal I today received sanction from Cabinet for up to an additional 610 SNA posts for allocation to schools from September. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) will provide details of the allocations later today which can be accessed on www.ncse.ie”
Last year the Government provided for an additional 220 SNA posts for 2015. In advance of the school year starting in September the NCSE reviews the number of valid applications received and in recent weeks has reported an additional requirement of up to 610 posts above the October 2014 estimate. Approximately 55% of the additional posts will be provided to support students in mainstream classes while 45% of posts will serve students in special classes in mainstream schools or in special schools.
The Minister also announced that a review of the SNA scheme will be carried out to ensure that it is meeting its objectives and that best use is being made of the significant resources invested. Among the issues to be examined will be the reasons behind the significant increase in demand evident this year and how the timing of applications and allocations can be better aligned with the school year.
“From September there will be 11,820 whole-time SNA posts available in our primary and post-primary schools. This is an 11.7% increase since this Government came to office.
“In recent weeks my Department has also issued a circular regarding the employment of SNAs. This circular will go a long way to address concerns about casualisation and low hour contracts that have arisen within the profession and which I addressed at the IMPACT education sector conference at Easter. This circular builds on the introduction of a supplementary assignment panel process for SNAs which was introduced two years ago, giving SNAs the alternative of redeployment instead of redundancy. Both measures will operate this summer, giving SNAs greater stability, and a better chance of a full-hours contract.”
Source; Press Release