The announcement of 800 new Special Needs Assistants (SNA’s) by Minister for Education Joe McHugh is great news for Cork schools, Cork North West Fine Gael General Election Candidate, Councillor John Paul O’Shea has said.
This will bring the total number of SNA’s to 2,097 locally, with 1,347 for primary schools, 439 for secondary schools and 310 for special schools.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “The aim of this Government is to ensure that children with special educational needs can be supported to fully participate in schools and fulfill 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 Cork.
“Minister McHugh has confirmed to me that there will be an allocation of 2,097 SNA posts across Cork, an increase of 184 posts from last year.
“This announcement will ensure every child who needs SNA support in the county will receive it.
“Furthermore, special needs children getting the attention they need will have a positive knock on effect for all students,” the Fine Gael Cork North West General Election candidate said.
The Fine Gael led Government will invest almost €560 million in SNAs this year, as part of a total €1.9 billion investment in special educational needs.
Minister McHugh said: “The record level of investment in special education and SNAs reflects the focus of this Government on children who will flourish and reach their potential when extra support is provided.
“More children with special educational needs than ever before are participating in school and this would not be possible without the unprecedented support of this Government, with a €1.9 billion investment in the sector.
“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. With the increased investment and today’s confirmed allocations, about 37,500 pupils will receive that support.
Minister McHugh said: “SNA’s are the bedrock of Government supports for children with special needs. It is their work day in, day out that is key to helping ensure that children can go to school and participate in education. The extra posts I am announcing today will ensure that every child who has additional care requirements and needs access to SNA support can receive this support.”