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Special Needs Assistants will be redeployed to other public services to free up frontline workers

The initial priority will be in community services for children with a disability.

Image: Shutterstock/Vereshchagin Dmitry

SPECIAL NEEDS ASSISTANTS (SNAs) are to be redeployed into different essential work such as community services for children with a disability in order to free up frontline workers. 

This is part of a wider temporary assignment programme opening for employees in the public sector. The Department of Education and Skills said SNAs will be put on standby to free up frontline workers for other essential services.

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh said these workers will now be able to “put their skills and experience” to further use. 

“SNAs do fantastic work day in day out for children with a variety of needs in our schools.  Their support hugely enriches the lives of children.

“Crucially, they have much-needed skills and experience which can be of huge benefit to other services and I believe will be of great support to the national effort,” he said. 

The priority area for temporary assignment of SNAs will be in community services for children with a disability. This includes public, private and voluntary services.

They may also be asked to provide remote support to families of children they are familiar with, including calls or video links with advice on routines, home schooling, behaviour management and social stories on Covid-19. 

Trade union Fórsa sent a bulletin to over 9,000 SNAs today about this new scheme. 

The union said it is engaging with the Department of Education and Skills and the HSE about how this process will work in practice. 

All SNAs will be eligible for this temporary redeployment, but the department said it does envisage an opportunity for every SNA. Where the need arises, staff who have been assigned can return to their original jobs.

A process has been set up by the Public Appointments Service on publicjobs.ie for the temporary reassignment. All SNAs will be asked to access a web link by 7 April to answer a questionnaire.  

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