Accreditation of SNA training to be considered – Minister

Fórsa welcomes commitment to consider SNA training accreditation from Minister for Special Education

Fórsa, which represents 12,000 special needs assistants (SNAs) nationwide, has welcomed a commitment from the Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, Jospeha Madigan TD, to consider the accreditation of the SNA national training programme at UCD.

The union has raised the issue of the non-accreditation of the specialised training over the past year. In February this year 500 SNAs graduated from the programme, the first group of students to successfully complete the certificate in Inclusive School Support, developed by UCD for SNAs working in the Irish education system.

Fórsa’s head of education said the minister’s comment is a significant development.

In a letter received by Fórsa last week (Friday 8th April), the minister’s office acknowledged the development of the training programme and its accessibility to all SNAs, including those that do not have a qualification above the minimum entry requirement.

The letter concluded: “As this is the first programme, it is appropriate to take the time to review outcomes which will inform the future approach to ongoing training and professional development of SNAs. Part of that consideration will include accreditation.”

Fórsa’s head of education, Andy Pike, said this marked a significant development and the union welcomed the minister’s comments: “We wrote to the minister in February asking the education department to enable UCD to seek appropriate accreditation for its SNA programme, and ensure students receive recognition for their achievements.

“This effort is part of Fórsa’s campaign to increase the minimum essential qualifications for SNAs, and the minister’s commitment to considering accreditation is a significant development, and one that will be welcomed by our members’” he said.