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Every single child who needs a special needs assistant will get one

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the increase will support 160 new special classes – many for children on the autism spectrum.

Image: child in school image via Shutterstock

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION Richard Bruton has today announced that 860 new special needs assistants (SNAs) will be recruited to work in schools with children who have learning difficulties.

The new assistants, who will work in a support role in classrooms, will be available for allocation to schools from September this year. The increase will represent a 7% rise and the minister said this would mean every child who needs an SNA in the coming school year will get one.

It will bring the total number of SNAs in the country to 12,900, at an annual cost of €425 million.

Speaking about the announcement, Bruton said:

It will be supporting, for example, 160 new special classes – many of those are for children in the autistic spectrum – which will be opening from the 1st of September. This will provide a very important resource to allow those children in those classes make real progress.

He said the government’s aim now is to “use our economic success to create a fair and compassionate society”.

“In few areas is this more important than in making sure that children with special educational needs can fully participate in schools and maximising their chances of going on to other opportunities.”

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The government has also agreed to carry out an assessment of the SNA scheme so it can “provide better outcomes” for children with special educational needs.

Read: 566 new resource teachers are on their way for children with special needs>

Read: Why are schools using JobBridge to hire SNAs? The Minister’s pledging to find out>

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