Additional Funding for SNAs welcome but further investment is required – Nolan
Commenting on reports today that Minister Bruton intends to provide an additional 7% funding towards the provision of Special Needs Assistants, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Deputy Carol Nolan has said the increase is very welcome but further investment is required in this area.
Deputy Nolan said:
“I wish to welcome the indications from the Minister for Education and Skills that increased funding will be made available to fund additional Special Needs Assistants.
“However, further investment is required to ensure that our education system is inclusive at all levels, including early education.
“There has been no commitment from the Government to increase the number of Special Needs Assistants at early years level to allow young children with disabilities access the ECCE scheme.
“Furthermore, this Government has not committed to reversing the 15% cut to resource hours in order to bring them in line with the Special Education Review Committee recommendations.
“In 2016, twelve years after its enactment, provisions of the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, are still not in force and this Government has given no commitment to ensure that the provisions of the act will be enacted on a statutory basis during the lifetime of this Government.
“Sinn Féin is committed to the creation of an inclusive education system available to everyone on the basis of full equality.
“Our party made provision in its manifesto for the reversal of the 15% cut to resource hours and the increased funding for SNA provision, including the provision of an additional 1,000 SNAs at ECCE level.
“We are also calling for the implementation of the EPSEN Act, in particular the provisions relating to the Individual Education Plans, the requirements for assessment of need to be concluded within timeframes set down in legislation and the provision of an appeals mechanism for parents.”