Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 03/10/2023. Tags: Teachers
The Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD, has today announced that the Department of Education will establish the first Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Workforce Development Plan.
Minister Madigan said:
"I’m very pleased to announce that the Department will develop the first Special Needs Assistant Workforce Development Plan (SNA WDP) over the next two years. The successful inclusion of students with special educational needs into mainstream education, special schools and special classes is a priority for me and for Government. SNAs play a vital role in achieving this by enabling students with significant additional care needs to attend school and achieve their learning goals.
Reflecting significant investment over recent years by my Department, the SNA workforce now numbers more than 20,000 committed employees who are focused on supporting these students. It is time to plan for the future with a holistic and strategic workforce development plan for our SNAs that recognises and promotes the SNA role as a career choice. This plan will bring clarity and direction to the SNA service into the future and ensure it can address the changing and emerging needs of the students in a robust and flexible way.”
The Special Needs Assistant Workforce Development Plan will reflect a consistent and planned approach to meeting present and future needs of the SNA workforce. It will encompass an understanding of the SNA role and how they and other stakeholders can best be supported to provide the most effective service to children with significant additional care needs in our schools.
The plan will develop a 'vision' for the future of the SNA service based on research and analysis of the workforce and strategic planning setting out clear objectives and achievable goals. The plan will be developed in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders including the SNAs, the school management bodies, the unions, schools, parents and children.
In December 2022 the Department of Education established a dedicated SNA Workforce Development Unit within its Special Education Section in order to ensure that sufficient time and attention is given to examination of the special needs assistant (SNA) role and any reform or development required. Since its inception the unit has adopted a strategic approach to SNA policy development with the objective of developing an enhanced SNA service which delivers the best outcome for children with significant care needs in our schools. In this context a decision has been taken to develop a SNA Workforce Development Plan (SNAWDP).
The plan will be developed over the next 2 years in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders including the SNAs, the school management bodies, the unions, schools, parents and children.
It is envisaged that the key areas that the plan will address are:
- Review and Development of the SNA role
- Establishment of a Quality Assurance Framework
- Establishment of a SNA Learning and Development Programme
– Supporting SNA Recruitment, Retention and Diversity
– Development of a Communications Strategy to ensure optimum communication and collaboration with all stakeholders to achieve the vision of the SNAWDP.
Source: Department of Education