Extra 620 resource teachers planned next year
Schools are to get up to 620 extra resource teachers next year to help support students with special needs.
The increase reflects the ongoing rise in enrolments in primary and post-primary schools, and new diagnoses of children who are entitled to the extra support.
It will bring the number of resource teachers in schools to above 7,000, compared with 5,285 in September 2013.
Currently, there were 6,823 resource teachers in schools, and that will rise to 7,019 in September. A resource teacher is additional to the class teacher.
However, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is committed to appointing a further 422 resource teachers in a second round of allocations in October, should the need arise.
The second round is designed to cater for late applications to provide for newly-diagnosed students and students who may move schools between now and the new school year.
The NCSE has advised individual schools of their allocations for September.
As well as resource teachers, which are allocated for pupils with the most complex special needs, there are also learning support teachers to assist students with a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. These allocations are linked to a school's enrolment figures.
There are also special needs assistants in schools to help students with care needs, such as feeding or trips to the toilet.
A new system for allocating extra teachers to schools for pupils with special educational needs is being tested following a recommendation from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).
The NCSE recommended the revised model of support to give schools greater flexibility to allocate assistance to pupils, taking into account their learning needs as opposed to being based primarily on a disability diagnosis.