INTO welcomes deferral of new SNA allocation model

The Department of Education and Skills have confirmed the deferral to 2021/22 of the full implementation of the new front-loading model for the allocation of Special Needs Assistants for students in mainstream classes in primary and post-primary schools.

Commenting on the announcement, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

It is appropriate that this proposal is to be deferred, allowing additional time for consultation and engagement with schools and trade unions. We have raised our concerns that the pilot scheme in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow was not properly evaluated nor was adequate consultation offered which must be the bedrock of any policy change.

The Department have said:

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis the new Frontloaded Allocation Model for Special Needs Assistants, for students in mainstream classes in primary and post -primary schools has been deferred until the beginning of the 2021/22 school year.

The regional information and briefing sessions that the Department intended to run before the end of this school year will also be deferred.

These sessions are key to helping school leaders and teachers in their planning for the introduction of the new model and their engagement with parents. They will be rescheduled for an appropriate future date.

It is now too late to run the traditional applications-based process for the allocation of the SNAs for 2020/21 school year. Special arrangements are being put in place that will facilitate continuity and certainty for schools, SNAs and parents.

The following arrangements will apply for the school year 2020/2021:

  • All mainstream class SNA allocations that apply currently to schools will be frozen and will automatically rollover into the 2020/21 school year. |
  • No school will receive an allocation less than what they have currently and existing SNAs currently in mainstream settings can continue in post for the next school year in the normal way.
  • Applications for additional SNA support submitted to the NCSE prior to 3 April 2020 will be processed, and determinations made, under the current scheme. However, no further applications for this school year can be accepted.

A new Circular will be published next week. 

A new circular covering the allocation of SNAs for 2020/21 will issue to schools during the week beginning 20 April 2020. The circular will outline:

  • the detail of the rollover of SNA mainstream allocations,
  • the procedures for dealing with new/additional care needs presenting in schools, appeals.

SNA allocations for special classes and special schools are not affected by this arrangement.

The new circular will also outline the next steps for the full implementation of the Frontloading Model from September 2021.