Galway schools will have 40 new special needs assistants this year

Galway daily news Calls for mediator to be appointed in special needs education dispute

40 new special needs assistants will support students at primary, secondary schools across Galway this year.

According to Galwat West TD and Junior Minister Seán Kyne, the new appointments mean there will be a total of 820 SNAs providing assistance at schools in Galway come September.

30 of the new SNAs will be going to secondary schools, bringing the number from 482 up to 512, while the remaining ten will be at primary schools where there will now be 181 assistants.

None of the new SNAs will be sent to special schools where there are currently 126 posted.

Deputy Kyne highlighted the importance of SNAs in, “providing vital support and assistance to pupils helping them to participate and reach their educational potential.”

The Fine Gael says the number of special needs assistants in Galway schools has increased dramatically under the current government.

“With today’s allocations the number of Special Needs Assistants in Galway will, by September, have increased to 819.9 from 599 in October 2011 – an increase of over 36%.”

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said last year that schools will know of their specific allocation of special needs assistants by the end of May.

With this week’s allocations there will now be over 15,000 special needs assistants at schools nationwide.

The government has said it is investing €1.75 billion in special needs education this year, almost a fifth of the entire education budget.