Government pledge 975 extra special needs assistants will be allocated to schools

Update 3.25pm: Education Minister Richard Bruton has announced that 975 extra special needs assistants will be allocated to schools by the end of the year.

The government have said the figures mark a 7.5% increase in the number of SNAs with most being assigned to children in the coming days.

A small number will be allocated to students during the first term of next year as needs arise.

Education Minister Richard Bruton said it’s a huge benefit to the education system.

"These additional SNAs will ensure this coming year there will be over over 34,000 young people with the support of SNAs to help them fulfil their education."

Earlier: Mary Lou McDonald has today criticised the Government’s delay in allocating Special Needs Assistants to schools.

She has demanded that the Taoiseach ensures that such delays never happen again.

The Dublin Central TD said that the Government is now over a month behind in allocating Special Needs Assistants to schools for the forthcoming school year.

It comes as the Education Minister Richard Bruton announced 975 extra special needs assistants will be allocated to schools by the end of the year.

It represents a 7.5% increase in the number of SNAs, and most will be assigned to children in the coming days.

A small number will be allocated to students during the first term of next year as needs arise.

“This comes hot on the heels of an overwhelming number of appeals by schools of their special needs allocation under the new resource model. These delays are causing serious distress in communities," Ms McDonald said.

She told the Dáil that parents of children with special needs are "at their wits end".

"They do not know if their child will have access to an SNA come September or, if they do, how much time of SNA support their child will receive," she said.

She spoke about how knowing the support will be there in September is a source of confidence for children and parents and that the delay has robbed them of that confidence.

“The Minister for Education Richard Bruton needs to ensure this critical information is provided to schools this week, and government needs to review the procedures going forward so that this information is provided in a timely fashion every year,” she said.

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