Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne has said that constant delays and confusion surrounding the redeployment of SNAs is having a real impact on children with special educational needs.
Deputy Byrne was commenting as an Inclusion Ireland survey found that 35% of parents with children with special educational needs were not getting proper supports or that they were not being told what was expected of them in terms of home schooling.
Deputy Byrne said it was not good enough that some SNAs were themselves having to decide to step in and fill the void when it came to remote learning.
He explained, “The Minister has really let SNAs and the children who they care for down.
“Minister McHugh announced on April 1st that SNAs would be redeployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He created widespread confusion by not outlining clearly how, when and where this would happen. As a result, I understand not one SNA has been redeployed.
“The latest in a series of issues is the fact that any SNA who is redeployed via the HSE will now need to go through Garda vetting and it’s becoming clear that redeployment of SNA’s through the HSE is causing more challenges than it solves.
“I understand that in about 20% of schools some SNAs have stepped in and maintained contact – this is welcome and the most sensible course of action the Department could take. There are still another five or six weeks of schooling to go and everyday counts.
“Children with special educational needs will be affected more than others as a result of school closures. These pupils suffer more as a result of disruption to their schedule and face greater difficulties than others in distance learning. At this point, we need a plan that works. At the current rate, we are looking at schools closing for the summer months before many SNAs are deployed. That is not good enough.