more special needs assistants and resource teachers will be allocated for schools all over Kildare by the end of November, although the exact quantity or whereabouts have not been revealed yet.
Some 475 assistants were not assigned for the start of the school year and were being kept for emergencies.
However, after dozens of protests about the cutbacks, it has emerged that the extra SNA’s are now being put into the system.
“The Department of Education and Skills has sanctioned the allocation of a further 413 Resource Teacher posts to schools all over the country,” said Sarah Miley Press Officer with the Department.
“The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) will be writing to schools informing them of their individual allocations in the coming days. These posts had been held over to meet late and emergency demands. The allocation of the 475 Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts is also under way. It is expected that the bulk of the posts will be distributed to schools by the end of November with recruitment being undertaken by individual schools as soon as they are notified of any additional allocation.”.”
Campaigner for children with special needs Ger Reily from Newbridge has welcomed the news.
“It means that in essence we are being listened to,” said Ger, who has two sons Paul (12) and Jack (7) with special needs. “It seems to be that cuts usually affect the most vulnerable of our society. This is very good news and it is not before time. It is very stressful for parents at the start of the school year. My younger son Paul has full time provision this year but he did not have full access last year. It is nice that there is a silver lining for parents after all the cuts.”
Ger’s eldest son Paul attends the Patrician Boys primary school while Jack goes to Scoil na Naomh Uilig both in Newbridge. “Scoil na Naomh Uilig is providing a wonderful service for children with special needs and a lot of children with special needs go there,” she added.
“It’s difficult when they need more resources but I couldn’t fault either school.”
There are 261 SNA’s currently allocated to primary schools in Kildare and 58 for post primary schools. There are also 76 SNA’s allocated to four special schools in Kildare St Raphael’s in Celbridge, St Mark’s in Newbridge, St Anne’s in The Curragh and The Saplings in Kill.