IPPN welcomes recent review of Special Needs Assistant Scheme

Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) is pleased that the proposed new model, issued by the NCSE today, is not a cost-cutting exercise. In fact, the DES have increased the number of SNAs (to be referred to as Inclusion Support Assistants) working in our schools by almost 1,000 this year (totaling 15,000 by the end of this calendar year). IPPN also welcome the recommendation to have ring-fenced funding available for an in-school therapy service.

 

Pat Goff, IPPN Deputy CEO stated that ‘There is no doubt that pupils with special education needs attending schools today have a totally different experience than those of years ago. However, it was unfair that parents who could afford to pay for private reports could access resources more easily than pupils from a disadvantaged background’. He also acknowledged the fundamental role that SNAs play in supporting children who have additional care needs to attend school.

IPPN has always supported the principle that all students, wherever possible and irrespective of their special educational need, would be welcomed and enabled to enroll in their local school. The proposed new model of support is designed to ensure that those pupils with additional care needs will have access to the right supports at the right time. IPPN also welcomes the fact that the additional support assistants will be front-loaded into schools without the requirement to have a diagnosis for those pupils.

IPPN welcomes the ‘Comprehensive Review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme – A New School Inclusion Model to Deliver the Right Supports at the Right Time to Students with Additional Care Needs’ published today by the NCSE. However, we encourage every staff member in schools to thoroughly examine this report with one objective – to determine whether will this new model lead to better outcomes for students with Special Educational Needs?

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