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A special needs protest Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Special Needs

SNA allocation welcomed by Special Needs Parents Association

The association said it welcomes the 211 extra whole-time Special Needs Assistants, but said that the number of Resource and Learning Support teaching posts will not meet demand.

NEWS THAT EXTRA Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are to be released by the NCSE has been welcomed by the Special Needs Parents Association.

The NCSE said it has intentions to release 211 extra whole-time SNA posts in the initial round of allocations of  10,311 WTE posts this month, compared with last year’s approach of withholding 475 SNA posts.

The Special Needs Parents Association said:

This may take some of the pressure off schools having to resort to emergency applications next September, because fewer SNA posts are being withheld by the NCSE to deal with demand that may arise between September and June 2013.

However, the association said the number of Resource and Learning support teaching posts will still not meet the current demand.

We are very disappointed however, that the pool of Resource and Learning Support teaching posts allocated to schools will not meet the demand of  the increasing population of children with special educational needs; children will have their allocations cut for the second year in a row.

Lorraine Dempsey, Chairperson of Special Needs Parents Association stated:

What has been described as a “Slight drop in resource teaching allocations” by the NCSE is a total of 15 per cent since 2011 and will have a significant impact, when considering the increase in overall class sizes and difficulties that teachers already face in trying to differentiate the curriculum in mainstream classes to meet all children’s learning levels.

She added that pupils with special needs “spend a considerable amount of the school day trying to keep up with the curriculum and may only receive individualised attention and a tailored program during time spent with a resource teacher”. Dempsey continued: “while the Government is pursuing a policy of inclusion in our education system, this has to be supported with adequate resources that is demand-led”.

Dempsey acknowledged the financial crisis and the efforts to minimise the effects on the special education budget, adding:

We need some form of commitment that children, who cannot be supported adequately through group teaching, will still be able to access one to one resource support if necessary.

She said that there will undoubtedly be some parents disappointed across the country and upset by the allocation that their child has received and, “without any independent mechanism for appealing decisions, this is going to be yet another summer of discontent for those parents”.

The next DCA Warriors protest, called ‘Walk a mile in our children’s shoes’ will take place on Tuesday 19 June at 12.30pm and will involve a walk from Stephens Green to the Dáil.  It is hoped that there will be a mile of children’s shoes to line the route.

Read: Number of SNAs ‘similar to last year’ but schools to get less resource hours>

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