28 December 2016 - Minister Bruton announces 115 extra Special Needs Assistants

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, today announced the provision of 115 additional Special Needs Assistants which will be available for allocation to schools over the period January to June 2017, in order to meet the level of stated demand.

This will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistants to 13,015, bringing the total level of investment in SNAs to €429m. This increase reflects the growing participation of children with Special Needs and will support their full participation and progression within the educational system.

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:

“Special needs assistants have continued to play a key role in helping children to participate and progress in education. The number of Special Needs Assistants has increased by 22%, from 10,575 to 12,900 since 2011.”

“It is essential that we continue to provide for children and young adults with special educational needs (SEN) so they can reach their full potential.”

“I announced earlier in the year that an extra 860 SNAs would be hired to support increased numbers of children with Special Educational needs, who benefit hugely from this support. 

“Today I am announcing a further 115 posts which will bring the number to unprecedented levels which reflects this Government’s commitment to use our economic success to create a fair and compassionate society. These posts will be allocated to schools over the period January to June 2017, in order to ensure that every child that needs an SNA can get one.” 

“The National Council for Special Education have advised me that they are making significant progress on their comprehensive assessment of the SNA scheme, aimed at providing better outcomes for students and maximising the impact of the State’s investment and I have asked the NCSE to provide me with regular updates.”

“This Government remains fully 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 remainder of the 2016/17 school year.

The NCSE will invite applications for SNA supports from schools for the 2017/18 school year early next year.

Notes to editor

The number of Special Needs Assistants has increased by 22%, from 10,575 to 12,900 since 2011.  The 115 new posts will bring the total number of SNAs to over 13,000 –the highest ever level. The total level of investment in SNAs is €429 million per annum. 

The number of special classes with over 600 new special classes opened since 2011, bringing the total number of such classes to over 1,100. 

The number of resource teachers has increased since 2011 to over 7,500 (a 41% increase).