Update: Schools Catering for Special Needs Students – Education 8th October, 2014

8th October 2014 - Bernard Durkan TD


Ceist Pharlaiminte

Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools currently
catering for special needs students at primary and second level schools
throughout the country; if additional staffing is required; when she expects to
be in a position to respond favourably to any such requests from the various
school authorities; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8th October, 2014.
Reference Number: 38454/14


Minister Jan O’Sullivan

The policy of my Department is that children with special educational needs
should be included in mainstream placements with additional supports provided.
In circumstances where children with special educational need require more
specialised interventions, special school or special class places are also

All State funded primary and post primary schools have been allocated
additional resources to provide for children with special educational needs
enrolled in school. For children for whom mainstream provision is not
appropriate, placement may be made in one of the 125 special schools which have
approximately 1,000 teachers and approximately 860 special classes and units
located around the country.

Primary and Post Primary schools have a permanent allocation of additional
teaching supports to provide for children whose educational psychological
assessment places them in the high incidence, or less complex, disability

Separately, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocates Special
Needs Assistants (SNAs) for children with additional care needs, as outlined in
Circular 00030/2014 and additional resource teaching hours to schools for
children who have been assessed within the low incidence, or more complex,
category of special need, as defined by my Department’s Circular Sp Ed 02/05.
The NCSE operates within my Department’s established criteria for the
allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available
to my Department.

The total number of Resource Teaching posts which the National Council for
Special Education (NCSE) may allocate to schools to support children with
special educational needs for the 2014/15 school year is presently set at 6,225
WTE posts.

The NCSE are continuing to process applications for Resource Teaching support
for the 2014/15 school year, where the necessary supporting documentation was
not made available for the 26 March 2014 deadline. Decisions in relation to the
remaining applications received by 22 September 2014 are expected to issue to
schools in mid October.

To date, the NCSE has allocated over 10,900 Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts
to schools supporting students with special educational needs for the 2014/2015
school year. As the SNA allocation process is still ongoing, the exact numbers
of SNAs and pupils being supported will become clear following the finalisation
of enrolments of students in mainstream schools as at 30th September.

Should a school wish to make an application for additional SNA support for a
child who was not previously considered for SNA support or who is due to enrol
to a school, they may do so to the NCSE.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may
also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child’s special
educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

It is a matter for schools to monitor and utilise their allocation of
additional staffing resources to best support the needs of identified pupils,
in accordance with my Department’s guidance.

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