School support staff to be balloted on strike action

School support staff to be balloted on strike action

Thousands of school support staff are to be balloted for industrial action as the Government announced plans to hire almost 1,000 more special needs assistants later this year.

Education Minister Richard Bruton said the 975 new jobs will be available from September with schools being notified of their allocations to ensure pupils can enrol for the new term.

But the Impact trade union accused the Government of leaving staff with no guarantee of a job before schools break for the summer for the fourth year in a row.

Deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan said there is no practical reason why schools cannot get the allocations in April or May to plan for the new term and allow for the redeployment of SNAs in a "dignified, effective and timely way".

"If it happened one time, it would be unacceptable. But it happens every year - and that shows contempt for SNAs, and for the children, parents and schools they serve," he said.

Mr Callinan said the issue over allocations and longer term contracts is to give SNAs the same job security as the teachers they work side-by-side with in the classroom.

The Department of Education said the number of SNAs has increased from 10,575 in 2011 to 13,990.

There are 700 more children with special needs entering third level now than two years ago, an increase of 31%, it said.

Mr Bruton said: "Special needs assistants have continued to play a key role in helping children to participate and progress. The extra posts I am announcing today will ensure that every child that needs access to SNA support can receive this support.

"That is my priority."

The Impact ballot on industrial action will take place at the start of the next school term.

 - Press Association 

More on this topic

Micheál Martin calls for new Department of Higher Education and ResearchMicheál Martin calls for new Department of Higher Education and Research

45% decrease in funding to Irish universities over the past 10 years45% decrease in funding to Irish universities over the past 10 years

Dad of gifted student with special needs appeals for 'invaluable' resource class to stay openDad of gifted student with special needs appeals for 'invaluable' resource class to stay open

Third of parents in debt to cover back-to-school costsThird of parents in debt to cover back-to-school costs

More in this Section

Gardaí appealing for help finding missing Dublin manGardaí appealing for help finding missing Dublin man

Taoiseach: Trump comments had the 'hallmarks of racism'Taoiseach: Trump comments had the 'hallmarks of racism'

Forty families on Dublin housing list given keys to new homesForty families on Dublin housing list given keys to new homes

Delays likely at ports following no-deal Brexit, warns VaradkarDelays likely at ports following no-deal Brexit, warns Varadkar


Lifestyle

Whether it’s wearing acid-washed jeans or booty shorts, the model is a denim chameleon.As she lands a big new campaign, here’s why Kendall Jenner is a denim icon

Don’t want to just chuck away all that clutter? Gabrielle Fagan reveals simple ways to get it out of sight.Seek and hide: 6 storage solutions to keep you and your rooms cool and calm this summer

From playsuits to parkas, here’s what to pack, whatever the weather. By Katie Wright.The beginner’s guide to festival fashion

Hate delegating, constantly check emails and scared to take holiday? Being too tied to work could be damaging your wellbeing.Has worrying about work taken over your life? 6 signs that you might have work separation anxiety

More From The Irish Examiner