Galway schools to get extra special needs assistants

An additional 42 special needs assistants for primary, secondary, and special schools throughout Galway city and county will be allocated from September.

The allocation is part of an approval to grant 610 additional SNA posts across the State. Of the Galway allocations, 37 SNAs are for primary and secondary schools, with the remaining five for special schools. This increase raises from 400 to 422 the number of SNAs at primary school level and from 139 to 154 at secondary level.

Resource teaching hours will increase by more than 375 hours this September bringing to 10,548 the number of resource teaching hours in Galway schools. This breaks down to 7,173 hours at primary level - up by 211 hours from last term - and 3,375 hours in secondary schools - an increase of 163 hours.

The increases have been welcomed by Galway West TDs Seán Kyne (Fine Gael ) and Derek Nolan (Labour ) and Fine Gael Galway EAst TD Paul Connaughton.

Dep Nolan said: "This will be a huge relief to parents right across Galway. In my weekly clinics, I have met with many parents whose children have special learning requirements and all they want is for their child to get the same opportunities as any other child in the school. These extra posts will ensure extra support and time is there."

Dep Connaughton noted that in recent weeks, he had been contacted by many school principals concerned at the delay in the announcement of SNA posts. "Principals and management couldn’t tell SNA staff members whether or not they would be returning to work in September," said the TD. "This announcement is good news for school authorities, SNAs, and the thousands of pupils across the country."

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