Dáil Éireann - Volume 587 - 15 June, 2004

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

  274. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Science if, in respect of special needs assistants in primary schools, the measures he proposes to offer security of employment to these workers; if he will allocate a quota of special needs assistants to each school to secure continuity; and when he will announce his plans to reform the conditions and position of special needs assistants and the system of allocation. [17487/04]

  Mr. N. Dempsey: Special needs assistants may be approved to support a pupil who has a significant medical need for such assistance, a significant impairment of physical or sensory function or where their behaviour is such that they are a danger to themselves or other pupils. The criteria and procedures for the allocation of special needs assistant support are outlined in my Department’s circular 07/02. It may be accessed on my Department’s website under the heading children with special needs.

Since 1998 the number of special needs assistants in primary schools has grown from about 300 to in excess of 5,500 full and part-time posts. My Department is anxious to ensure that each school has the level of resources required to cater for its pupils with special educational needs. Resources will be retained in schools where there is a continuing care need in accordance with circular 07/02.