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Will SNAs be a Thing of the Past Soon?

Can teachers include children with Special Needs fully without SNA support?

Voice for Teachers alerted our members when Circular 0030/2014
“The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme to support teachers in meeting the care needs of some children with special educational needs, arising from a disability”
was published.

The INTO magazine intouch has an article on that Circular on page 28 of the current issue (Issue 144).
All teachers should be very concerned about this Circular 00030/2014. Particularly the following – “it is expected that all primary school pupils having their first school experience will have been enrolled and commenced attending school before any application for support will be made” (intouch, May 2014: p.24).
What about ensuring that the child’s transition to school is as smooth as possible?
What about Early Intervention?

The section on behavioural issues is equally worrying. In short, it appears that the school will have to prove (in writing over a period of time) that for example “there is a clear and documented history of violent behaviour or assault, or self harm, or other safety issues”; “it is impossible to teach him/her in a classroom situation without additional adult assistant support” (also p.28).
What about the other children in the class?

The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (EPSEN) 2004: page 7, has this to say,
2.—A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an
inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs
unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that
to do so would be inconsistent with—
(a) the best interests of the child as determined in accordance
with any assessment carried out under this Act, or
(b) the effective provision of education for children with whom
the child is to be educated.

2.(b) is clear that the other children in the class have rights too.
Does this Circular 0030/2014 really intend that children and staff must suffer violence for a period of time before even applying for SNA support?
Does this Circular infer that the DES no longer supports inclusion?

The last sentence on page 28 of the intouch magazine already quoted tells us, “The CEC will consider the details of the circular over the coming weeks”.
Make sure that your CEC Representative hears your views on this Circular at the May meetings.

The Irish Mirror outlines some very serious concerns for parents and teachers here:

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/education/struggling-children-lose-special-needs-3437372#.U2dPoAUWpSp.facebook

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