A number of schools in Donegal have reported difficulties in getting SNA hours allocated for children in the new school year.
And the issue is causing concern for families and school management who are left waiting until September to address to urgent needs.
Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has hit out against the current process for the allocation of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and called for a review of SNA applications.
He said: “We currently have a situation whereby schools in Donegal, and across the State, have applied for SNA supports for children in their schools, only to have this refused and to be told that a review will be carried out as soon as possible after the schools resume in September or October.
“This is resulting in a situation where children who have been assessed and diagnosed, and who have been identified as needing additional supports, are going to have to go back to school, struggle through for a few weeks or months until they can be assessed. It’s very unfair and does not seem like an efficient way to deal with the issue”.
“It is causing untold stress for parents and principals who are trying to work around this, and it will undoubtedly cause difficulties for classroom teachers when they have to manage the needs of often already overcrowded classrooms, as well as trying to afford the children with additional needs as much attention and care as is possible.”
Deputy Doherty added that he has been raising the matter with the Minister for Education. He is now calling on the Government to review how applications for SNA allocations are dealt with, to ensure that all necessary funding and resources are in place to meet the demand so that reviews aren’t left until the school years restarts.
“Children should be afforded the supports they need and deserve from the first day,” he said.