Students to have access to better supports under proposed overhaul of €524m Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Scheme

Students with additional care needs should be provided with access to in-school speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and behaviour support under a new school inclusion model being recommended by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). These students are currently supported by Special Needs Assistants because they have additional care needs such as toileting, mobility, eating and/or behaviour.

The NCSE found that to get better outcomes, some students need different types of intervention such as therapies which may not be readily available. It also found emerging evidence that the support some post-primary students receive needs to be more focussed on developing their independence and preparing them for life after school.

The NCSE is recommending a greater range of supports and expertise to be available in regional teams:

  • 230 experts – specialist teachers, therapists, special educational needs organisers and behavioural practitioners – in 10 NCSE regional teams to work directly with students and schools
  • A state funded national training programme for Inclusion Support Assistants (proposed new name for SNAs)
  • Students to have access to support without the need for a diagnosis of disability
  • Therapy services to be available for students who require them
  • Guidelines for schools on the management of complex medical and behavioural needs
  • A staffing and funding package for special schools and special classes.

Click here to download the Comprehensive Review report.

Click here to download the booklet.