Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke
The announcement of 800 new Special Needs Assistants (SNA) by Minister for Education Joe McHugh has been described as great news for Longford schools by Fine Gael TD Peter Burke.
This increase will bring the total number of SNAs to 131 locally, with 83 SNAs in primary schools, 33 in post primary and 15 for special schools in the county.
Deputy Burke said, “The aim of this Government is to ensure that children with special educational needs can be supported to fully participate in schools and fulfil their potential.
“Special Needs Assistants play a key role in ensuring this and I would like to firstly take this opportunity to pay credit to the fantastic work that they do in schools across Longford.
“Minister McHugh has confirmed to me that there will be an allocation of 131 SNA posts across the county, an increase of 23 posts from last year. This announcement will ensure every child who needs SNA support in the county will receive it.
He added, “Furthermore, children with special needs getting the attention they need will have a positive knock on effect for all students,” the Fine Gael TD said.
The latest investment will total €560m this year, as part of a total €1.9bn investment in special educational needs.
Deputy Burke said, “Our education system is increasingly better equipped to support children with special needs and support their full participation and progression.”
In 2011, 22,284 children had access to SNA support, which will now increase to 37,500 pupils.