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Dublin: 1°C Monday 17 January 2022

610 new Special Needs Assistants are on their way to Irish schools

The dedicated assistants will be employed from September 2015 onwards.

Image: Rollingnews.ie/Mark Stedman

THE MINISTER FOR Education Jan O’Sullivan has announced that 610 new Special Needs Assistants (SNA) are to be employed from September onwards.

The cabinet officially approved the allocation at its meeting earlier today.

The move will mean that every child with such a need will have access to SNA support, according to O’Sullivan.

“This is an important principle and will continue in the 2015/16 school year,” said O’Sullivan.

To achieve that goal I today received sanction from Cabinet for up to an additional 610 SNA posts for allocation to schools from September.

Special Needs Assistant roles were cut quite significantly in the early years of austerity following the economic crash, both in terms of individual hours for affected students and also teaching resources.

Today’s announcement is a very definite reversal of that trend.

Details of the allocations are to be made available on the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) website from this evening.

Today’s allocation will see the number of SNAs in Irish schools increase to 11,820. As such, today’s allocation comprises an increase of 7.6%.

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ncse Source: NCSE

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The NCSE welcomed the announcement of the allocation in a statement, and said that it was sanctioning the creation of 666 additional posts for this September for primary, special and post-primary schools.

Labour senator Mary Moran, rapporteur for the Oireachtas Education Committee report on the role of SNAs, similarly welcomed the announcement.

“The additional posts announced today are a result of a significant increase in assessed need and point to our commitment in ensuring that children with additional needs are appropriately supported in schools,” she said.

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