Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has said the chaotic practice of allocating Special Needs Assistants to schools at the last minute has come to an end after Fianna Fáil put pressure on the Government to make the allocations on time.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after Minister Bruton announced earlier today the SNA allocations for the next academic year.

Last summer schools faced significant delays with the allocation of SNA’s. This situation has persisted over the last number of years and the delays meant that SNA’s were only allocated to children well after schools were closed for the summer. This led to significant disruption and deep uncertainty for schools, parents and people employed as SNA’s.

Deputy Byrne said, “Fianna Fáil made it clear to the Government that we would not tolerate a continuation of the chaotic approach to allocating SNA’s.

“Each year, school principals and boards of management had to endure the ridiculous charade of waiting to hear whether or not the Minister of the day decided to announce allocations to meet additional special needs that arise as a result of demographic changes and increases in individual students’ assessed needs in their schools.

“Fianna Fáil’s strong intervention in the Dáil has ensured that children with special needs and their assistants are treated fairly.

“We now need to see further progress on the Schools Admission Bill, specifically around the allocation of additional special classes,” concluded Deputy Byrne.