Dáil Éireann - Volume 622 - 27 June, 2006
Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.
Ms C. Murphy Ms C. Murphy
Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science the basis for her Departments special education policies (details supplied); if she will formulate and implement a clear and comprehensive policy regarding the provision of suitable facilities, resources, and school places for children with special needs in both primary and secondary schooling streams; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24767/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: Children who have been assessed as having special educational needs have access to a range of special support services. The services range from special schools dedicated to particular disability groups, through special classes or units attached to ordinary schools, to placement on an integrated basis in ordinary schools, with special back-up supports.
The allocation of resources for children with special educational needs is based on the criteria set out in my Department’s circulars having regard to the recommendations of the Report of the Special Education Review Committee, 1993, also known as the SERC Report. The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through the local special educational needs organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special needs supports such as resource teaching hours and Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support on the basis of applications in respect of individual pupils. The teaching and SNA support allocated are intended to enable schools to meet the needs of pupils as outlined in psychological and other professional reports.
In allocating additional teaching and SNA supports for individual pupils, the SENOs examine the teaching and other resources available within the individual schools. The SENO also operates within the parameters of my Department’s criteria for the allocation of such resources.
Primary schools are also supported by means of a general allocation which provides additional teaching support to enable schools to cater for pupils with high incidence special educational needs, such as dyslexia, and those with low attainments. Second level schools continue to be sup ported by the allocation of additional teaching hours, where appropriate, for each pupil enrolled who is assessed as having a special educational need. SNA support is allocated, as appropriate, to all schools where there are confirmed assessed care needs in respect of students.
My Department’s policy and approach in the area of special education is underpinned by Statute, particularly the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, also known as the EPSEN Act, which was enacted in 2004. While many sections of the Act have already commenced, the remaining sections relate mainly to the statutory assessment, appeal and education plan processes. These cannot come into effect without the NCSE presenting an implementation report to my Department, which it is scheduled to do by October 2006.
Dáil Éireann 622 Written Answers. Special Educational Needs.