Assessment of Need (AON) FAQs – updated April 2024

Assessment of Need (AON) FAQs

Yes. INTO is advising members to follow the process outlined in Circular 0025/2024 Report of Education Needs for the Purpose of the Assessment of Need Disability Act 2005 (issued in April 2024) and the accompanying Guidance Note for Schools issued by NCSE.

This circular was issued on foot of a comprehensive court judgement which confirmed that the NCSE may nominate appropriate persons to assist in the AON process. Teachers were held to be appropriate persons in the judgement and the information required to fill in the NCSE report form is that which a teacher would have as a result of their professional knowledge or expertise from working with children and young people. The report form does not constitute an assessment.

Circular 0025/2024 Report of Education Needs for the Purpose of the Assessment of Need Disability Act 2005 issued in April 2024.

NCSE supports include a Guidance Notes for Schools, a sample form and an FAQ.

The Assessment of Need (AON) process is long established. Following a 2021 court judgement it was clarified that under the Disability Act (2005) the NCSE is required to assist the HSE in organising the education assessment as part of the AON process.

If an assessment of education need is required, the HSE assessment officer will contact the NCSE for assistance. The NCSE has the responsibility to nominate an appropriate person to carry out an assessment of education needs on behalf of the HSE under the AON process, this is the school principal, deputy principal or SEN teacher dealing with the pupil.

One. The orange/red NCSE form is the only one that needs to be filled out, if your school received a second one from a local health board that has now been rescinded. If your school receives any other forms, please contact INTO for advice.
Schools surveyed as part of the 2022 trial reported it took an average of 20-30 minutes to fill out the form once the Student Support Plan was to hand.
The Department of Education has provided the resources listed below at the following link, these were updated in April 2024:

Report of Education Needs for the purpose of Assessment of Need (Disability Act 2005)

  • A video explaining the form and the process
  • A guidance note for schools
  • A blank form for information
  • A dedicated helpline 01 603 3456
  • Email support at
  • Online or in-person support from NCSE for schools who receive more than one form at a time

The NCSE AON guidance document clarifies the process of contacting the pupil’s previous school if necessary and how to assess junior infants.
No. INTO has received clarification from the Department of Education that any legal liability arising from the AON process lies with the HSE. This is clearly stated on the form.
The AON process should be initiated by parents, who will already be aware of the contents of the support plan. Consent by parents is given when they apply for the AON.
If a school receives more than one AON form they can apply to the NCSE for online or in person support.
Yes. The INTO is in regular contact with the DE and NCSE.
Circular 0025/2024 states: “Teachers in mainstream schools can use Special Education Teacher (SET) coordination time to complete the Report of Education Needs and can request support from the NCSE, as required.”

For schools in receipt of multiple AON referrals additional AON support hours can be applied for as per the process outlined in Circular 0025/24.

Still have questions?

Submit your query by email to INTO. Please include your payroll or membership number.