Dáil Éireann - Volume 525 - 07 November, 2000

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

872. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the criteria used by his Department in its decision to refuse the application for a resource teacher to a national school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if a decision on this application had already been made by his Department when he [753] responded to Parliamentary Question No. 1073 of 3 October 2000; if full consideration has been given to the data submitted in support of eleven children with learning difficulties attending this school; and the reason the report of the local inspector, which recommended the application, was disregarded. [24247/00]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Resource teacher support is allocated to assist children with special educational needs who are attending mainstream schools on a fully integrated basis and where such support is necessary to enable the children to function successfully in the integrated setting. The level of support provided in any individual case is determined by reference to the professionally assessed needs of the individual child or children involved.

All applications for resource teacher support are initially examined by the school's district inspector whose recommendation in each case is forwarded to the relevant senior inspector for final adjudication. Throughout this process, full regard is had to the assessed needs of the individual children.

In the case in question, I understand an application was received seeking resource teacher support for eight pupils attending the school in question. I further understand that all members of the inspectorate involved in assessing the application were agreed that resource teacher support was only warranted in respect of one of the children mentioned. In the case of that child, an allocation of resource teacher support has been made. The needs of the other children were not considered to be such as to warrant resource teacher intervention. A final decision on the case in question had not been taken when I responded to the Deputy's parliamentary question of 3 October, 2000.

The school authorities are free to appeal this decision to my Department's special education section. I can assure the Deputy that any such appeal and all documentary evidence supporting the appeal will be given full consideration by officials in my Department.

873. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the criteria used by his Department in their decision to refuse the application for a resource teacher to a national school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if consideration has been given to the reports of a clinical psychologist in relation to one particular pupil with a learning difficulty; and if so, the reason his Department cannot see fit to approve this appointment. [24248/00]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): I am pleased to inform the Deputy that resource teacher support has now been sanctioned by my Department for the child in question.

[754] Resource teacher support is allocated to assist children with special educational needs who are attending school on a fully integrated basis and where such support is necessary to enable the children to function successfully in an integrated setting. The level of support provided in any individual case is determined by reference to the professionally assessed needs of the individual child or children involved.

All applications for resource teacher support are initially examined by the school's district inspector whose recommendation in each case is forwarded to the relevant senior inspector for final adjudication. Throughout this process, full regard is had to all available assessment reports.