SNA redeployment deal imminent

Strengthened arrangements for the redeployment of redundant special needs assistants (SNAs) are expected to be outlined in an official education department circular in the next week or two. Following negotiations with IMPACT, the department has agreed that, where SNA vacancies arise, employers will be obliged to interview SNAs on the redeployment panel and to verify that they have followed the correct procedures within six weeks of making an appointment.

The new panel, which is expected to be in place well before the end of the current school year, will also be open to SNAs who lost their posts at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

Agreement to establish a redeployment panel was won by IMPACT during the negotiations that led to the Haddington Road agreement. But last year’s delay in finalising that deal meant that it was only possible to put a temporary arrangement in place last year.

Job sharing scheme

In a separate development, IMPACT has also negotiated a formal job-sharing arrangement for SNAs, which will replace the informal approach currently in use. Under this scheme, SNAs will be able to apply to job-share although, as in other employments, management will retain discretion over whether or not to agree to the request.

The formal circular setting out the details is expected in the coming days. IMPACT has advised interested SNAs to apply as quickly as possible, although the normal March deadline for applications has been waived this year.