Cork school is finally set to get its Special Needs Assistant

Cork school is finally set to get its Special Needs Assistant

Parents, pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, Cork protesting about SNA cuts outside the National Council for Special Education offices in Mahon back in February. Picture: Dan Linehan

A CORK school which previously protested over the lack of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) in the area has received a new SNA for the upcoming academic year.

Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers previously had just one SNA for four children with special needs all of whom are in different classes.

Teachers, parents and students from the school recently staged protests outside the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) in Mahon.

School principal Adrian Breathnach had previously expressed his disappointment at the NCSE’s refusal to provide additional support.

Speaking to The Echo, however, Mr Breathnach revealed the school had successfully gained a new SNA to support a child in junior infants.

The new SNA is part of the latest allocation from the Department of Education and Skills (DES) which will see more than 180 introduced to Cork for the coming year.

The new SNA will mean the Gaelscoil can provide full-time support to the two students in need of it with the other two set to leave the school having completed sixth class.

Mr Breathnach said he is delighted at the allocation after the school fought hard to get it.

The 183 new SNAs announced by the DES, part of an 800 strong surge across Ireland, will see almost 2,100 working in Cork this September with schools across the city and county set to benefit.

Around 37,500 pupils with additional care needs across Ireland will be supported by SNAs in the coming school year, according to the DES.

Up to 130 additional posts are also expected to be allocated by December.

Less than 100 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were allocated to Cork in 2018, The Echo revealed recently, despite the fact that almost 1,500 applications for SNAs were made in Cork last year.

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