Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 03 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

  266. Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science if it is her intention to provide additional special needs resource teachers given that INTO has stated there is a need for 650 additional teachers to provide a service to special needs pupils. [27376/04]

  Ms Hanafin:My Department’s proposed automatic mechanism for allocating resource teachers to primary schools is intended to cater for pupils requiring learning support and those with higher incidence special educational needs. An additional 350 teaching posts are being allocated to facilitate the introduction of the new system. The proposed system is intended to improve and streamline the special education resource teacher allocation process. The model will obviate the need for cumbersome individual applications, while at the same time ensure pupils in receipt of service continue to receive the level of support appropriate to their needs. In that context, the additional posts being put in place represent a significant investment to ensure the success of the measure.

Nonetheless, I am conscious of difficulties that could arise in regard to the model, particularly for children in small and rural schools, if it were implemented as proposed. Accordingly, I will review the proposal to ensure it provides an automatic response for pupils with common higher incidence special educational needs. The review will involve consultation with educational interests and the National Council for Special Education before it is implemented next year. [1309] The question of further resource allocation can be considered in light of that assessment.

  267. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Education and Science the position on an appeal for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27377/04]

  Ms Hanafin:My Department received an appeal regarding home tuition provision for the pupil in question. The matter is being considered and a decision will be conveyed to the family as quickly as possible.

  268. Mr. Crowe asked asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will investigate the case of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24. [27378/04]

  Ms Hanafin:The Deputy may be aware that my Department has established a team to review the level of special needs assistant, SNA, support in mainstream schools generally. The team has commenced its task and is assessing the levels and deployment of such support to ensure the needs of children are being met, particularly in the context of new applications for resources by the school. The school referred to by the Deputy will be assessed as part of the review. The basis on which school staff are employed and let go is a matter for each board of management, subject to such terms and conditions as my Department may prescribe.