06 December, 2017 - Over 1,000 extra SNAs in 2018 - Minister Bruton

130 extra SNAs to be allocated in January – June

Commitment given that SNAS will be allocated earlier in the school year

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, today announced that 130 additional SNAs are being made available for allocation to schools over the remainder of the school year (January – June 2018) as part of an overall increase of 1,000 SNAs in 2018. This announcement will ensure that every child who needs SNA support, receives it.

The Minister also announced that schools will be informed of their SNA allocation for the 2018/19 school year by the end of May 2018. This fulfils a commitment that the notification of SNA allocations would be brought forward so that schools and parents can have greater certainty for the following school year.

This government is committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs are supported and given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Today’s announcement will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistants to over 14,100 by the end of this school year. In 2018, we will invest almost €1.7 billion in Special Education, nearly one fifth of the overall Education budget and €468m of this will be on the SNA scheme.

This increased investment reflects the priority which the government has put on helping children with special educational needs to fulfil their potential. It also reflects the growing participation of children with Special educational Needs in the Education System and the capacity of the Education system to better support their full participation and progression.

Speaking today, Minister Bruton said:

“I am keen to ensure, during my time as Minister, that every child has the opportunity to fulfil their full potential within our education system. We are investing nearly €1.7billion in Special Education, nearly one fifth of the total Education budget. This investment ensures that every child that needs SNA support can get one.

“I secured an additional €30m in Budget 2018 to fund the continued development of the SNA scheme with more than 1000 additional SNA posts being provided for from that funding. Today, we are announcing that 130 of these SNA posts will be available for the remainder of this school year (January 2018- June 2018).

“Furthermore, I have listened to the concerns of schools and of Special Needs Assistants themselves and we are now ensuring that SNA allocations are done earlier in the year, to give certainty to school communities for the following school year.”

 Notes to editor

Budget 2018 provided an additional €30m to fund the continued development of the SNA scheme with more than 1000 additional SNA posts being provided for from that funding.

A Comprehensive Assessment of the SNA Scheme is currently being undertaken by the NCSE, in consultation with other relevant Departments and State Agencies, including the National Disability Authority (NDA), to identify the most appropriate form of support options to provide better outcomes for students with Special Educational Needs, having regard to the significant amount of State investment in this area. The Comprehensive Assessment is expected to be finalised and submitted prior to the end of the first quarter of 2018.

In 2017 the Department of Education and Skills will invest €1.68 billion in special education, almost one fifth of the entire education budget. This is a 32% increase since 2011.

The estimated total Students with SEN across school settings have increased by some 21% since 2011.The number of Special Needs Assistants has increased by 32%, from 10,575 to 13,990 since 2011. 

The number of Special Classes has increased by 120% with over 600 new special classes opened since 2011, bringing the total number of such classes to over 1,100.

The new model for allocating Resource Teachers to schools has been successfully introduced, with 900 additional teacher allocated from September 2017 to support the model and to ensure that children with special needs can access additional teaching supports.

There are 700 more children with special needs entering third level now than two years ago, up 31%.