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Written Answers - School Staffing

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 208.  Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  when the National Council for Special Education review will take place at a school (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16638/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in allocating such support, which now includes a requirement for them to have regard to an overall cap on numbers of posts available.

Schools have been advised to make applications to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2012/13 school year by 16th March, 2012. Schools will subsequently be advised by the NCSE of their allocation for the 2012/13 school year, based on the number of valid applications received and in the case of SNA support, the extent of the care needs of qualifying children.

It is open to schools to contact their local SENO in this regard, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

 209.  Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if he has any plans to reinstate the appeals process for National Council for Special Education decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16639/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource teaching support and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in allocating such support which now includes a requirement for them to have regard to an overall cap on the number of posts available.

Whereas the NCSE does not currently have a formal appeal system in place, in relation to the allocation of SNA support, the NCSE has retained a number of SNA posts in order to allocate them over the remainder of the school year in respect of emergency cases or new diagnosis. Should a school seek to have their SNA provision reviewed or make a new application, they should contact the NCSE in this regard. It is expected that schools, before requesting any review of their SNA provision, will be in a position to demonstrate that they have made every effort to manage their allocation of SNA posts to best effect.

[783]The NCSE has advised my Department that it is in the process of reviewing and developing an appeals process which is intended to be in place for the 2012/13 school year allocations process.

 210.  Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the loss of teaching positions and other support positions to a school (details supplied) in County Donegal in 2011/2012 academic year; the proposed reduction in teaching positions and other to the same school for the academic year 2012/2013; if he will reconsider the proposed cuts to this particular school in view of its rural DEIS status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16646/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The staffing arrangements for the 2012/13 school year are set out in Primary Circular 0007/2012 which is available on my Department’s website. This includes details of the reform of the allocation process which is designed to bring a more equitable distribution of existing posts between schools.

The overall objective with the reforms is to enable the teacher allocation and redeployment process to operate more smoothly and efficiently within the new climate of fixed ceilings on teaching posts. The changes are designed to give a more equitable distribution of existing posts between schools, give earlier certainty to schools about their staffing allocations and, where possible, simplify and streamline existing processes and give greater autonomy to schools.

The new arrangements incorporate a long overdue updating of the General Allocation Model (GAM) combining learning support for high incidence special needs and language support for all schools. It also includes changes to NCSE approved (low incidence) resource hours in the base schools or in neighbouring schools. This approach builds on the interim arrangements that operated in 2011 but in a more structured and transparent manner.

Arising from the decisions taken following Budget 2012, of the 328 DEIS Rural primary schools, 16 of these schools with legacy posts will lose one teaching post each, including the school referred to by the Deputy.

The allocation process also includes an appeals mechanism under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The appeal procedures are set out in the circular referred to above. The closing date for submission of appeals for the April meeting of the Staffing Appeals Board was 23 March, 2012. I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has submitted an appeal.

The Appeals Board meeting will take place on Wednesday 18 April, 2012 which will be prior to the release of the main redeployment panel and allow for any impact of the Board’s decision on redeployment panels to be effected. Once the Appeals Board meeting has taken place schools will be notified of the outcome of their appeal.

Further meetings of the Appeals Board will be held as required in June and October, 2012. The Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

The final staffing position for all schools will ultimately not be known until later in 2012. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and any appeals to the Staffing Appeal Board will have been considered.


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