Oct 12, 2021, Irish Examiner: Funding secured for 1,000 new special education teachers and 1,165 SNAs https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40718592.html
Education Minister Norma Foley has secured funding for 1,165 new special needs assistants and almost 1,000 special education teachers. Ms Foley had held out for the additional funding in her negotiations with Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and she has secured an additional €18 million [$27M] to widen the scope of the disadvantaged school or DEIS scheme…. The extra supports introduced last year are still needed, and schools and colleges still need Covid safety measures. At the same time, demographics are steadily increasing at both second and third level. The country’s overall education budget topped €12.2bn last year. The Department of Education was allocated €8.9bn, with one-fifth of this ring-fenced specifically for special education. … It is not clear at this point how many of these new SNA posts are needed just to meet demographic needs, for new classes, or for developing schools. As part of Budget 2021, some 990 extra SNAs were announced, and 1,000 in Budget 2020. Families and those working in schools would tell you that provision is still nowhere near adequate in terms of addressing students’ needs. The key here will be how many extra classes, and how much extra support, this allocation will account for in the long term….