Monday 25 September 2017

Schools to get further 975 special needs assistants

Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The annual process of allocating special needs assistants (SNAs) to schools will be fast-tracked next year, Education Minister Richard Bruton has promised.

Mr Bruton announced that a further 975 SNAs will be working in schools from September, bringing the total number to 13,990, up 7.5pc on last year.

But Mr Bruton and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faced severe criticism over the timing of the announcement, which had left parents in the dark over whether their child will have necessary assistance in September.

The union Impact, which represents SNAs, has warned that it will ballot for industrial action at the start the new school year because of the Government's failure to announce SNA allocations before the end of the summer term.

Fianna Fáil's education spokesperson, Thomas Byrne, said the delay made it difficult for management at schools to plan for the year ahead, while SNAs remained unsure whether they had a job to return to. The announcement is never made before June, but this year, and in 2015, it ran into after all schools had closed in July.

Irish Independent

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