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9th April 2020 | Coronavirus, Education, Press Releases

Special Needs Assistants need clarity on redeployment situation

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The Green Party today called on Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh and the Department of Education and Skills to give clarity on the roles that Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will take on as part of their redeployment.

On the 1st of April the Department issued a circular giving notice of intent to redeploy SNAs for temporary assignments in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the current COVID-19 pandemic. As of yet, there is still much uncertainty as to what this redeployment will entail.

Green Party Deputy Leader, Education Spokesperson and TD for Dublin Rathdown Catherine Martin today said: “We are fortunate to have significant numbers of SNAs willing and able to support our efforts against COVID19 – indeed many have already volunteered in response to Ireland’s call.

“It is understandable that in a dynamic situation like the current crisis decision-making is challenging. However, we feel it is unfair to leave SNAs in a situation where they do not know in what context they will be supporting the national response.

“This uncertainty is leading to speculation, which is unhelpful and damaging to morale. It is of the utmost importance that the Department clarify the nature of SNA redeployment as soon as possible, while ensuring that, whatever way they are deployed, the SNAs have suitable qualifications for these temporary new roles and that they are safe.

“Of course, we also must ensure that children with special needs receive necessary support in this difficult time.”