Longford schools to benefit from SNA boost

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

SNA announcement

Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke alongside Education Minister Richard Bruton

The Government has given the go ahead to reinforce Longford's allocation of special needs assistants ahead of the new school year.

In total, approximately 111 full time SNAs will be allocated to first, second level and special schools in Longford from September.

The figure represents an increase of six compared to the same period last year.

Local Fine Gael Deputy, Peter Burke said the announcement underlined the Government's commitment to ensuring all children with special educational needs could maximise their potential. 

"SNAs play a hugely important role for children who need extra help and in many cases, allow students to access mainstream school where otherwise it would not be possible," he said.

His government colleague and constituency counterpart, Independent Alliance TD Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said the decision was made to ensure that children who required SNA support were suitably accommodated.

"This will ensure that children with special educational needs may be enrolled and take up their places in September," he commented.

In broad terms, special needs assistants are responsible for looking after the care requirements of children with special needs, while resource teachers are responsible for supporting them in their educational needs.

Mr Moran applauded the decision to set up a working group to ensure those with special educational needs are catered for.

“This Government is committed to providing the best possible outcomes for the children and students in this area, and this process is the best way of ensuring that we deliver on that,” he said.

It's envisaged the working group's final report together with the completion of an extensive assessment process will be completed by spring 2018.

The warm soundings from messrs Burke and Moran fly in the face of the more terse reactions delivered by SNA representative bodies.

Impact, the trade union which represents SNAs, has warned that it will ballot for industrial action at the start the new school year.

This, the union, said was down to the Government's failure to announce SNA allocations before the end of the summer term.