SNA union says consultation on schools inclusion model needs to be completed
Fórsa, which represents more than 11,000 special needs assistants (SNAs) nationwide, has welcomed the Budget 2021 provision for 990 additional SNA posts, bringing the whole time equivalent (WTE) number of SNA posts to 18,000 for the 2021/22 school term.
The union’s head of education Andy Pike said that while the additional capacity was welcome, discussions between unions and the Department of Education and Skills about a new schools inclusion model needed to be resumed and completed if the additional capacity is to be properly allocated.
The additional capacity in the education system will mean that more children with special education needs will be able to have a quality experience in mainstream classes, as well as boosting capacity in special education needs classes.
Andy said: “The additional capacity in the education system will mean that more children with special education needs will be able to have a quality experience in mainstream classes, as well as boosting capacity in special education needs classes.
“In order that this additional capacity be properly allocated next year, the consultation process on the proposed schools inclusion model needs to recommence with SNA representatives and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
“This needs to happen as soon as possible, in order that these new posts can be rolled out to the maximum benefit of the children who will avail of it,” he said.
The schools inclusion model aims to build schools’ capacity to include children with additional needs and to provide other supports for pupils. On completion of the consultation process on the new model, Fórsa is to conduct ballot its SNA members on the new measures.