Figures released by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) show that up to €650 million has been provided this year to fund additional teaching and/or care supports for over 40,000 children with special educational needs in mainstream schools.
Students with special needs are now being supported by 5,265 resource teaching posts and 10,459 special needs assistant (SNA) posts in over 3,600 schools allocated by the NCSE. A small number of SNA posts remain available, so that the NCSE can respond to emergency situations that may arise before the end of the school year.
Ms Teresa Griffin, CEO, NCSE said that, despite the difficult economic climate, the NCSE is very pleased that there is continuing Government commitment to supporting special educational needs: “The NCSE supports an inclusive education system that enables children and adults with special needs to achieve their potential. We believe that these supports are vital so that children with special needs can receive an appropriate education.”
“The total number of resource teaching/learning support posts and SNA posts in schools is at one of the highest levels ever, representing a 38% and 24% increase respectively on the number of posts that were available in 2006. The NCSE very much welcomes the Minister for Education and Skills recent confirmation in the budget announcement that the same number of posts will be available to support students with special educational needs in the 2013/2014 school year” said Ms Griffin.
While the deadline for receipt of school applications has passed, the NCSE is currently finalising a major policy advice paper to the Minister for Education and Skills on supporting students with special educational needs in the future. The NCSE intends to publish this policy advice later this year.