Special Needs Allocation
We are conscious that this is a busy and stressful time of year for many parents as they are getting their children ready for the new school term. We realise that this can become even more stressful for parents of children with special needs who may be unsure as to what services and supports their children are entitled to or will receive at school.
A number of parents have come to our Office to make a complaint about SNA allocations for their children. At present the Ombudsman for Children’s Office cannot accept complaints about SNA allocations as the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is outside of the investigation remit of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. However, we are making every effort to change this.
The Ombudsman for Children has the power to suggest changes to the Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002, which sets out the role and authority of her Office. The Ombudsman for Children has written to the relevant Minister requesting that the NCSE be brought within her remit. The Ombudsman for Children has also met with the CEO of the NCSE and they are agreeable to come under the investigation remit of this Office.
The Ombudsman for Children’s Office will continue to pursue this until the necessary changes have been made. In the meantime, the Ombudsman for Children is unable to comment publicly on SNA allocations as in doing so she may prejudice future cases she could investigate. We will however continue to examine complaints that relate to the actions of schools or the Department of Education and Skills where relevant to the Ombudsman for Children’s Act, 2002. However, we cannot investigate complaints based solely on SNA allocation as determined by the NCSE.
We encourage the NCSE to be as transparent as possible about its decision-making process and to communicate more openly with parents.
If you have a query or complaint about SNA allocations for your child, information about the NCSE’s complaints procedure can be found at www.ncse.ie