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Allocation of SNA Posts 2011/2012 and Implications for Payment

The Department of Education and Skills have asked us to bring the following information to your attention:

  • Allocation of SNA posts for the school year 2011/2012
  • Advisory Note on the Implications for the Payment of Special Need Assistants

Background

In line with the terms of the Department’s Circular 06/2011, revised arrangements for the allocation of Special Needs Assistants are now in place.  In late June / early July 2011, each eligible school was informed by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) of the number of SNA posts allocated to them for the 2011 / 2012 school year.

Notification to Department to ensure prompt Payment of SNAs

**In order to ensure prompt and correct salary payment to all SNAs, it is vital that schools ensure that the Department’s Non-Teaching Staff (NTS) Payroll is fully informed of any amendments to individual SNAs posts / salaries for the new school year.**

Where a school’s allocation has been reduced, schools must adhere to the terms of the relevant Circulars of the Department of Education & Skills.  Of particular importance in this regard are Department Circulars 59/2006 (Seniority of Special Needs Assistants) and 58/2006 (Redundancy Arrangements for Special Needs Assistants).  Schools should re-acquaint themselves with these Circulars.  For ease of reference, the most relevant points from those Circulars are re-iterated below.

Once a school has finalised its 2011/2012 SNA staffing arrangements taking account of the information below, the Department’s NTS Payroll Section must be informed immediately.  It should be noted that the Department’s payroll operates two weeks in advance of salary issue dates.  If a school has already informed NTS Payroll Section of staffing arrangements without having taken account of the above-mentioned circulars, the school must now review these arrangements and confirm any further changes in writing to NTS Payroll Section, Department of Education & Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. To ensure that your correspondence reaches the appropriate staff member as quickly as possible, please print your school roll number on the outside of the envelope.

Relevant Circulars Points from Circular 59/2006 (Seniority of Special Needs Assistants)

  • It is the responsibility of the Board of Management / VEC to determine the seniority of their SNAs (based on the date of commencement of duty as an SNA in a school / VEC)
  • Seniority is important in determining which SNA should be offered reduced hours or have their employment terminated when the allocation of the school is reduced.
  • The seniority listing will be used in determining last in first out for the purpose of redundancy.

Points from Circular 58/2006 (Redundancy Arrangements for Special Needs Assistants)

  • The employment of SNAs may be reduced from full-time to part-time or terminated by way of redundancy where the approved allocation to the school is reduced and it is necessary to compulsorily cease the employment of SNAs.  A redundancy situation arises where the post ceases to exist and the SNA is not replaced.
  • The selection criteria for redundancy will be on a last in first out basis (subject to any residual child specific contractual arrangements in place).
  • In terminating an SNA’s contract of employment, the provisions of the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973 to 2001 should be applied.  Adequate notice should be given in accordance with the terms of that Act as follows:
  • an SNA who is in service for a period of between thirteen weeks and two years should be given a minimum of one week’s notice
  • an SNA who has been in continuous service for more than two years but less than five years should be given two weeks notice
  • an SNA who has been in continuous service for five years but less than ten years should be given four weeks notice
  • an SNA who has been in continuous service for ten years but less than fifteen years should be given six weeks notice
  • an SNA who has been in continuous service for more than fifteen years should be given eight weeks notice.

Examples to assist you to ensure compliance with the terms of the Circulars

Example 1

In the last school year, a school employed 5 SNAs on the following basis:  One full-time post; two SNAs on Junior Infant Days; and two part-time SNAs on 25 hours each.  For the coming school year, the school has been allocated 2.5 posts.  This equates to a reduction of approx 55 hours to the school’s allocation.  Is it in order to reduce the hours of all SNAs in the school so as to avoid terminating the employment of one or more of the SNAs?

No.  In line with the information set out in circulars 58/2006 and 59/2006, the hours of the most junior post-holders must be reduced.  In this example, we will presume that the two part-time SNAs are the most junior.  Both of these employments must be terminated (with adequate notice) and both of these SNAs may be entitled to claim redundancy under circular 58/2006.  In the same example, we will presume that one of the holders of the Junior Infant Day posts in the 2010/11 school year is the next most junior SNA.  This post must be reduced to 0.67 of a post.  No redundancy situation will arise in this case.

The allocation of posts for this school (2.5 posts) for the 2011 / 2012 will, therefore, be as follows:  One full-time post (1 post); One SNA on Junior Infant Day (0.83 post); One part-time SNA with 0.67 of a post.

Example 2

In the last school year, a school employed 3 SNAs on the following basis:  Two full-time posts and one SNA on a Junior Infant Day.  For the coming school year, the school has been allocated 2.5 posts. Which post holder’s hours should be reduced?

It is assumed in this example that there is a child / children in an Infant class with care needs.  The most junior post-holder’s hours must be reduced.  Depending on which post-holder is the most junior, the scenario could be either (a) or (b) below:

(a)  If the most junior post-holder had been employed full-time in the last school year, their post for the new school year should be reduced to 0.67 of a post in order to maintain the posts of the two most senior post-holders (1 post + 0.83 of a post) and in order not to exceed the allocation of 2.5 posts.  This SNA may be entitled to claim compensation for a loss of hours under circular 58/2006.

(b)  If the most junior post-holder had been employed on a Junior Infant Day in the last school year, their post should be reduced to 0.5 of a post in order to maintain the hours of the two most senior post-holders (2 full-time posts) and in order not to exceed the allocation of 2.5 posts.  No redundancy situation will arise in this case.

Example 3

In the last school year, a school employed 3 SNAs on the following basis:  One full-time post and two SNAs on Junior Infant Days.  For the coming school year, the school has been allocated 2.66 posts.  This does not equate to an increase or a decrease in the school’s allocation.  However, the school no longer has a child / children in infant classes, how should it allocate the hours to the existing post-holders?

If the full-time post-holder is the most senior, (s)he will remain in a full-time post.  Based on the school’s understanding of the needs of the children in the school, the remaining 1.66 posts should be allocated either as a full-time post (1 post) and a part time post (0.66 of a post) or two part-time posts consisting of a combined total of no more than 1.66 posts.  In the latter case, the hours of the most senior of the two SNAs who held Junior Infant Days should not be reduced.

Further Queries

If you have any further queries in relation to the information above, please send an e-mail to ntspayroll@education.gov.ie

Address: 11 - 12 Hogan Place, Dublin 2, Ireland - Charity Number: CHY 11816