Special Needs Assistants left in the dark about future at Mayo schools

Many SNAs still waiting to find out if they have a job to come back to in September

Special Needs Assistants at some schools in Mayo are still waiting to find out if they will have a job to go back to in September, according to Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Cllr. Lisa Chambers.

Cllr. Chambers says Fianna Fáil is aware that there has been a significant delay in informing SNAs that they will soon be out of a job due to changes to the number of pupils with special needs. It means that many SNAs are now heading into the summer with no idea whether or not they will be back in September.

The Mayo General Election candidate explained, “Special Needs Assistants are at the beginning their summer holidays now and many are completely in the dark about their jobs come September. It is a very distressing situation for them and they are now left with no certainty whatsoever about their future.

“Usually, SNAs are informed well in advance of the end of the school year if there are changes in the numbers required in each school that will mean they are out of work come September. At least this way, they know where they stand before the summer break, they have time to make arrangements and they can apply for posts in other schools. It is completely unacceptable that the school year ended this week and many SNAs and parents of children with special needs are now facing a situation where they get a call in the middle of the summer to say they are suddenly out of a job. This uncertainty adds a lot of anxiety to the parents of children who need extra support in the classroom

“I am concerned that there is a more sinister reason behind this delay. Why is it that the Minister for Education has not got around to coming clean with these SNAs? Is there a problem with the Budget for the necessary SNA allocation? Are there more hidden cuts coming down the line that we’re being kept in the dark about?

“This is happening in many schools across the country and Mayo is not immune to the confusion being created by the government. It’s time for Minister Jan O’Sullivan to come clean, explain the reason for this delay and start being upfront with the SNAs in question.”