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

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he appreciates the practical
difficulties which arise when the number of hours required by pupils for
Special Needs Assistant support is greater than the number of hours allocated
to a school, that the sharing of hours by one Special Needs Assistant between
children who are often in different classes can prove counter productive; and
if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 13th January, 2016.
Reference Number: 46872/15

Minister Jan O’Sullivan

Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are allocated to schools to assist children
with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care
needs. Such support is provided in order to facilitate the attendance of those
pupils at school and also to minimise disruption to class or teaching time for
the pupils concerned, or for their peers, and with a view to developing their
independent living skills.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its
network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating
Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special
educational needs.

The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in allocating such support,
which is set out in my Department’s Circular 0030/2014.

The deployment of SNAs within schools, once allocated, is then a matter for the
individual Principal/Board of Management. SNAs should be deployed by the
school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the
children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is
a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of
individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is

Details of the manner in which a school or parent may appeal the level of SNA
or resource teaching allocation which has been made to support a child in
school, to the NCSE, is set out at www.ncse.ie.

All schools have the contact details of their local SENO, while 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.