The Minister for Education & Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Thursday 2 April 2020) announced that the planned new allocation model for Special Needs Assistants has been deferred for one year.
The frontloading model for primary and post-primary schools is now planned to be in place for September 2021.
Minister McHugh said: “The emergency response to Covid-19 has had a huge impact on everyone and it has required a huge response from the education sector.
“It is important that we can give schools and families of children with additional needs clarity and certainty on the resources and supports that will be available from September.
“SNAs are a vital part of that. They bring a huge wealth of experience and skills and qualities to caring for children in our schools.
“As part of the decision to defer the new allocation model, I am also confirming that no school will receive a lower allocation of SNA support for September 2020 than they currently have. That means that SNAs who are currently employed will have jobs in the next school year.
“And if schools identify that additional SNA support is needed for children in mainstream classes which cannot be met from their existing allocation, they will be able to apply by email for their allocation to be reviewed.
“A diagnosis of a disability, or a psychological or other professional report, will not be necessary for this process. Rather, other forms of evidence, information or documentation will be used to support such applications.”
Regional information sessions planned for the coming weeks to allow for better understanding of the new model and how it will help students with special needs will now not take place.
A circular will issue to schools in the coming weeks with information on the interim arrangements for the 2020/21 school year.
Further information on the School Inclusion Model can be found here: https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2019-press-releases/PR19-03-27-1.html