Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 02 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

  436. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Education and Science if the National Educational Psychological Service advised against, or voiced concern regarding the weighted system that is now being used to allocate resource hours to schools; if so, the nature of those concerns; the reason her Department chooses to ignore them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26779/04]

  Ms Hanafin:In December 2001, the National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, produced a position paper on special educational needs as its contribution to the debate on the issue. In the position paper, it recommended that schools should be adequately resourced in the first instance to be able to cater for most of the range of abilities that they could expect to find among their pupil populations. Further resources should be available to schools only when they have identified students requiring further additional support.

This is, in effect, a recommendation for the revised system that has now been adopted by my Department, and NEPS has consistently promoted this system. This approach to allocating resources for special educational needs is substantively in line with current thinking in many European countries.

With regard to the actual details of the formulae to be adopted to determine the allocation for each school under the revised system, several sections of my Department, including NEPS, have been involved in exploring a number of options. There was a range of opinions and the views of all involved were taken into account when arriving at the current system. As I have already announced, I intend to review the revised [980] model with particular regard for the impact on small rural schools.