Department of Education to allocate 975 extra special needs assistants

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Good news for parents of children with special needs and for special needs assistants! Richard Bruton has confirmed that schools will receive an additional 975 SNAs from September to December.

In addition, the Minister for Education confirmed that the National Council for Special Education was currently setting the model in relation to allocating special needs assistants.

Industrial action

This news comes as SNAs have decided to ballot for industrial action. The dispute is over job security says their union, IMPACT. For four years running the government has not announced SNA allocations before the end of the summer term.

There is an allocation process in place. However, there is a delay in publishing allocations. As a result, many SNAs are unsure whether or not that have a job once school opens.

Furthermore, SNAs who were unsure whether they had a job, could not apply for redeployment.

IMPACT Deputy General Secretary Kevin Callinan said there was no reason why schools could not receive their SNA allocation earlier.

Callinan said that the repeated delays showed contempt for SNAs as well as for the children, parents and schools they serve.

Varadkar promises earlier allocations

In response to a question from Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar weighed in on the issue. He promised that the allocation of SNAs would take place earlier in the year.

Ms McDonald said parents of children with special needs are at “wits’ end” as late allocations mean that they do not know whether their children will have access to SNAs.

Anne Sexton

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