22. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps his Department is taking to provide sufficient ASD units and class places in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14263/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018)
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department provides for a range of placement options and supports for schools with students with special educational needs, to ensure that wherever a child is enrolled, s/he will have access to an appropriate education.
The National Council for Special Education is responsible, through its network of Special Needs Organisers, for the development and delivery and co-ordination of education services to children with Special Educational Needs, including the establishment of special classes.
The number of ASD special classes in Co. Wexford has more than doubled from 17 in 2011 to 41 in 2017/18 school year.
The NCSE, in planning for special classes, will consider present and future need for such classes, to support the educational needs of the children concerned.
The NCSE has informed my Department that, in general, they are satisfied that there will be sufficient ASD special class placements to meet identified need in the Wexford area for the forthcoming school year.
Parents/guardians of children with special needs who may need advice or are experiencing difficulties in locating a school placement should contact their local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO).