Dáil Éireann - Volume 627 - 14 November, 2006
Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.
Mr. Penrose Mr. Penrose
Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will take steps to ensure that a person (details supplies) in County Westmeath who has a place in a school and who is profoundly deaf, has the appropriate assistance provided for that school to enable them to be admitted and to continue their education there; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37679/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: My Department provides a range of supports to second level schools to enable them  to cater for students with special educational needs including children with hearing impairment. The supports in question include remedial and additional teaching support, special needs assistant support and funding for the purchase of specialised equipment.
With effect from 1 January 2005, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has taken over key functions from the Department of Education and Science in relation to special educational provision. The NCSE was formally established as an independent statutory body on the 1st October 2005 under the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2005. The Council acts under the broad policy direction of my Department but has the resources and the remit to play the leading role in the delivery of education services to children with disabilities/special needs.
The NCSE co-ordinates with the health services, schools and other relevant bodies regarding the provision of education and related support services to children with disabilities/ special needs.
The responsibilities of the NCSE include the following:
Deciding on applications for additional teaching support in respect of children with disabilities with special educational needs at second level;
Deciding on applications for special needs assistant (SNA) hours;
Processing applications for school placement in respect of children with disabilities with special educational needs.
The precise model of provision made available at second level will depend on the assessed needs of the pupils involved. Some pupils are capable of attending ordinary classes on an integrated basis with additional teacher and/or special needs assistant support. In other cases, placement in special dedicated classes or units attached to the school may be the more appropriate response. Such special classes operate at significantly reduced pupil teacher ratios. Students attached to these special classes may be facilitated in attending ordinary subject classes on an integrated basis wherever possible.
The NCSE, through the local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) will process the relevant application for resources and inform the school of the outcome. It is important to note that in the case of decisions on additional teaching and SNA support, the SENO will outline the process to the school and parents, where appropriate, and will at the end of the process outline the basis on which the decision was made.
The NCSE has confirmed that an application for additional support was received on behalf of the pupil to whom the Deputy refers. I under stand from the NCSE that the SENO has processed the application and sanction for additional SNA support has been approved.
I am confident that the advent of the NCSE will prove of major benefit in ensuring that all children with special educational needs receive the support they require.
Dáil Éireann 627 Written Answers. Special Educational Needs.