Schools around the country to benefit from an extra 115 special needs assistants

The Education Minister said the increase will support the full participation of children with special needs and their progression within the educational system

Schools around the country to benefit from an extra 115 special needs assistants

Richard Bruton. Image: RollingNews.ie

The government has announced the provision of an extra 115 special needs assistants in schools around Ireland.

The Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the announcement will bring government investment in special needs assistants (SNAs) to €429m annually.

The extra hires will bring the total number of SNAs in Ireland to 13,015.

A statement from the Department of Education said the increase reflects the “growing participation of children with special needs and will support their full participation and progression within the educational system.”

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny said the Government wants to ensure every child who needs an SNA has one.

Mr Kenny said: "We've had an increase in SNAs every year now for a number of years, we now have more special needs assistants than we have Gardaí, or indeed doctors."

"It shows, if you like, the commitment from Government to give every child, who has a particular assessed challenge or difficulty, an opportunity to benefit from that."

Minister Bruton said SNAs have continued to play a key role in helping children to participate and progress in education.

“It is essential that we continue to provide for children and young adults with special educational needs so they can reach their full potential,” he said.

He said the number of SNAs in Ireland has increased by 22% since 2011.

“Today I am announcing a further 115 posts which will bring the number to unprecedented levels which reflects this Government’s commitment to use our economic success to create a fair and compassionate society. 

“These posts will be allocated to schools over the period January to June 2017, in order to ensure that every child that needs an SNA can get one.” 

The National Council for Special Education will now proceed to notify schools of their SNA allocations for the remainder of the 2016/17 school year.

Applications for SNA positions for the 2017/18 school year will be open in early January.