Minister’s announcement does not address the need for classroom care

Reduction in SNA hours in conflict with Haddington Road income protections

Tuesday 25th June 2013

IMPACT trade union, which represents almost 6,000 special needs assistants (SNAs), has said that additional teaching resources for children with special needs, announced by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn today (Tuesday), will not meet the care needs of children starting school in September.

Deputy general secretary of IMPACT, Kevin Callinan, said that while the extra resources announced by the minister today were welcome, they only addressed the education needs of children with special needs.

Mr Callinan said “In order to provide children with special education needs full access to an education, you have to attend to both their educational and care needs. What the minister has announced today is a welcome relief for parents whose children will need those additional teaching resources.

“But it doesn’t provide any additional care for those children starting class in September. This is the service provided by an SNA. Any reconfiguration of resources now must not compromise the availability of SNA services to those children that need it in September” he said.

He added, “The minister has said that there’s been a surge of 12 % in applications for children with special education needs this year. That demand is going to increase each year from now on, the number of children reaching school-going age is increasing. That means the current allocation of SNA time is not going to meet the demands of this or future years.”

SNA working hours

Mr Callinan said that IMPACT had detected a significant volume of SNAs whose working hours are being reduced. “This is putting a lot of SNAs on shorter time and they will lose income as a direct result. IMPACT sees this as being in conflict with the income protection terms of the Haddington Road agreement.

“There’s also urgency for the redeployment panel, agreed under Haddington Road, to be put in place, as a significant number of SNAs have been given notice of redundancy. These SNAs need to be given the optimum opportunity to be redeployed under the terms of the agreement as soon as possible” he said.

IMPACT will be supporting the demonstration organised by parents of children with special education needs at Leinster House tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6pm.