Educate Together is disappointed that developing schools are once again left in the lurch in seeking to meet the needs of their students with additional needs, following today’s announcement of Additional Needs Assistant (SNA) allocations.
The Department has informed schools that their allocations will remain the same as last year, leaving schools that have increased enrolments without certainty in relation to the staff they need. While the Department have indicated that ‘when schools identify a significant increase in care needs, additional resources can be provided, following engagement with the NCSE’, the details of this process of application have yet to issue, and it remains to be seen whether this will provide the additionality required.
Recent surveys and analysis have shown that developing schools are already disadvantaged compared to established schools, both in terms of Special Education teachers and in terms of Additional Needs Assistants (SNAs)* and it is widely accepted that the current exceptional review process is cumbersome, time-consuming and ineffective for developing schools.
Educate Together has long argued that schools that are growing should have resources automatically allocated in line with their increased enrolments, so that they can plan for and meet the needs of the students joining the school.
Speaking today, CEO of Educate Together, Emer Nowlan said:
“We acknowledge the work that is ongoing to review the allocations models for additional needs staff, but there is a sense of déjà vu about this announcement, with the situation exactly the same as last year. Schools were hoping that the delay in allocations to the end of April meant that progress was made, and that developing schools would have the additionality they badly need. Instead, they will have to submit applications again at the end of the school year, and will have to wait to see if they will be allocated the staff their incoming students desperately need.”
Educate Together has repeatedly called for the issues with the allocations models for additional needs staff to be reviewed so that resources are allocated fairly, so children in developing schools have access to the supports they need, and so that schools can plan provision properly.