14 June, 2016 - Minister Bruton announces 860 extra Special Needs Assistants by end 2016

7% increase in number of SNAs to meet level of need

Government also agrees to carry out comprehensive assessment of the SNA scheme under National Council for Special Education aimed at providing better outcomes for students with special educational needs

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, today (Tuesday) announced the provision of 860 additional Special Needs Assistants which will be available for allocation to schools over the period September to December 2016, a 7% increase, in order to meet the level of assessed demand.

This will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistants to 12,900, at a total gross annual cost of €425m. This increase reflects the growing participation of children with Special Needs and will support their full participation and progression within the educational system.

The Government also today decided to proceed with a comprehensive assessment of the SNA Scheme, to be carried out by the National Council for Special Education. The aim of this process will be to provide better outcomes for students with special educational needs and to ensure that we are making the best form of additional investment for children with special needs.

Today’s announcement reflects the Programme for Government commitment to ensure that all children with special needs can maximise their potential.

Speaking today, Minister Bruton said:

“The aim of this Government is to use our economic success to create a fair and compassionate society. In few areas is this more important than in making sure that children with special educational can fully participate in schools and maximising their chances of going on to other opportunities.

“That is why I am very happy to announce today that 860 additional Special Needs Assistants will be available to allocate to schools by the end of this year.  That’s a 7% increase to meet the level of stated demand”.

“I am also requesting the National Council for Special Education to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the SNA scheme, aimed at providing better outcomes for students and ensuring that we are making the best additional investment for children with special educational needs. This Government is committed to providing the best possible results for the children and students in this area, and this process is the best way of ensuring that we deliver on that”.

The NCSE will now proceed to notify schools of their SNA allocations for the coming 2016/17 school year and will publish details of these allocations on their website www.ncse.ie

The NCSE will also notify schools in respect of new special classes which will be opened for 2016/17 and special schools staffing allocations for 2016/17. Details of these allocations will be published on the NCSE website.

Notes to editors

This decision is being made now to ensure that there is sufficient time available to ensure that the recruitment of SNAs takes place in time for the commencement of the new school year. This will ensure that children with special educational needs may be enrolled and take up their places in September.

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