Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 10 October, 2006
Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of special needs assistants employed in schools in County Wexford; the breakdown of the numbers of SNAs employed in each County Wexford school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32075/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: The number of Special Need Assistants employed in Primary schools in County Wexford is 226 and the number employed in Post Primary schools is 12. There are approximately three thousand seven hundred primary and Secondary, Community/Comprehensive schools. The compilation of information regarding the number of SNAs employed in individual schools would require an inordinate amount of administrative time in my Department.
Ms O’Sullivan Ms O’Sullivan
Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science if there are grants or assistance available to facilitate special needs assistants to train as primary school teachers; if so, the criteria in relation to same and the way in which to apply; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32076/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
 Ms Hanafin: Under the terms of my Department’s Third Level Maintenance Grant Schemes, which are administered on behalf of the Department by the Local Authorities and the Vocational Education Committees, the position is that generally speaking, students who are entering approved courses for the first time are eligible for grants where they satisfy the relevant conditions as to residence, age, means, nationality and previous academic attainment. An approved course for the purpose of the Schemes means a full-time undergraduate course of not less than two year’s duration and full time postgraduate course of not less that one year’s duration pursued in an approved institution. Under the terms of the Department’s maintenance grants schemes, and in accordance with the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Act 1992, a mature student is defined as a candidate who is at least 23 years of age on 1 January of the year of entry or re-entry to an approved course. Mature students are categorised as either independent mature students or mature students dependent on parents or guardians. An independent mature student is defined as meaning a mature student who was not ordinarily resident at home with his/her parents or guardians from the October preceding their entry to an approved course. Independent mature students are assessed without reference to either their parents’ or guardians’ income or address.
Under the terms of the Third Level Student Support Schemes, a student is not eligible for grant assistance in respect of a second period of study at the same level, irrespective of whether a grant was paid previously. The schemes also provide that grants may not be paid to candidates who already hold a postgraduate qualification and are pursuing a second postgraduate qualification. Notwithstanding this condition, candidates who already hold a postgraduate qualification and are progressing to a further postgraduate course which represents progression from the level at which the previous postgraduate qualification(s) was attained, may be deemed eligible for grant aid. Part-time courses are not approved courses under the terms of the Maintenance Grant Schemes. Any extension of the student support schemes to part-time studies would have significant cost implications. I have no plans at present to extend the grant schemes to include part-time students.
Under my Department’s Free Fees Initiative the Exchequer meets the tuition fees of eligible students who are attending approved full-time undergraduate third-level courses in the State. I have no plans at present to extend this schemes to include part-time students. Further information and application forms may be obtained from the relevant local authority.
Dáil Éireann 625 Written Answers. Special Educational Needs.