Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has criticised the delay in releasing the SNA allocations to schools, leaving 18,000 SNAs to wait until the last possible minute to find out if they have a job come September.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“Three weeks ago in the Dáil, the Minister for Special Education Josepha Madigan said that the frontloading model for SNA allocation was going ahead, which would provide job security for SNAs. Now, just 19 days later, the Department of backtracking and confusion has made yet another U-turn.
“Given this allocation model is not going ahead – and I am sure I am not alone in wondering where this leaves the policy now – I can see no reason why there was such delay in providing certainty to schools and families. There really is no excuse.
“Indeed, I see absolutely no reason at all why over 18,000 SNAs were left to wait until the last possible moment to find out if they still have a job come September.
“The dithering and delay in making this announcement, leaving SNAs in the lurch in the process, points yet again to the Department’s treatment of SNAs as the poor relation in Education. Yet again, they have not been shown the respect they deserve.
“I welcome the commitments made that no schools will lose any SNAs in the next school year. However, there are many schools, particularly those that are new and developing, whose needs have grown over the last three years; the Minister must ensure that these schools can access the SNA supports they need.
“The Department has handled this shockingly. Job security is the bare minimum that SNAs should expect. We cannot be in a situation this time next year where again the Minister has waited until the last second to make an announcement.”