IMPACT trade union has described the ongoing delay, by the Department of Education and Skills, to publish the Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) allocations for the 2017-2018 school year, as ‘ridiculous’.
IMPACT represents more than 7,000 of the country’s SNAs.
IMPACT official Barry Cunningham said the unprecedented delay in 2017 was causing unnecessary anxiety to the many SNAs who don’t know if they will have a job at the start of the next school year.
Mr Cunningham explained, “There is an SNA supplementary resource panel for SNAs who lose their post. However, posts have been advertised with closing dates for applications prior to the publication of allocations for the next school year. This puts SNAs in an impossible position, and calls into serious question the effective application of the panel system.”
This means an SNA may lose their position at the end of the 2017 school year would be unable to apply for an alternative post.
“The late publication in previous years, with maybe a week of the school term remaining, has been a constant source of frustration both to the union and our members. Here we are in the first week of July, and still no sign of next year’s allocations. It’s a ridiculous way to treat the SNA workforce.
“They play a vital role in ensuring a quality education experience for children with special education needs. They deserve to be treated better. The department has a responsibility to afford them the dignity of knowing where they’ll be working at the end of the summer break. The delay is as unnecessary as it is ridiculous,” he said.
Mr Cunningham said the union was making efforts to ensure publication before the end of the school year, and had written to the department to express the frustration of IMPACT SNA members.
IMPACT’s deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan wrote to the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, on 16th June. Mr Callinan explained the difficulties with the supplementary resource panel created by the delayed publication. Mr Callinan said the delay was “unnecessarily raising the industrial relations temperature. At a personal level the delay is causing fears among individual SNAs whose future employment is uncertain.”