Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Allocation for 2021/22

We know that many of our members are looking for clarity on SNA supports for September. Thank you to those of you who have called and emailed asking about SNAs and other supports to help your child to continue their education. We would like to reassure you that the information from the Department confirms that there will be no reductions in SNA allocations for the coming school year.

We know that in some cases this is not enough. Students who are starting school or transitioning schools need confirmation that the SNA support will be there when they start. Students who have shared access to an SNA may need additional support, particularly if this involves sharing supports across different classrooms. We have highlighted that this is not an acceptable practice at the best of times, as care needs cannot always be scheduled to match SNA timetables, but is particularly problematic in a pandemic.

As you are aware, we have been actively advocating for our members, and have been in regular communication with Ministers and Department of Education officials to ensure that children with Down syndrome are not left behind.

The information we have been given so far is that the arrangements for the allocation of SNA support has now been issued by the Department of Education. These arrangements will remain in place for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year. It is expected that the Frontloading Model of SNA allocation will be introduced in September 2022.

The Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, Minister Madigan; and the Minister for Education, Minister Foley, have agreed on the following arrangements for the allocation of SNAs for mainstream classes for the coming school year:

  • Existing mainstream class SNA allocations in schools on 30 April 2021 will be the same for the 2021/22 school year.
  • No school will therefore have fewer SNAs than they had on 30 April 2021.
  • SNAs currently in mainstream settings can continue in post for the next school year in the normal way.
  • Priority consideration will now be given by the NCSE to applications for increased support for the 2021/22 school year. In particular, applications from schools with no SNAs and developing schools will be prioritised and determinations made before 30 June. Other applications will be processed in order of date received.
  • Where circumstances change during the course of the 2021/22 school year that materially increase the level of care need in a school to the extent that the school can clearly demonstrate that it cannot be met within the existing SNA allocation, the school may apply to the NCSE for a review. · The NCSE will publish allocations on its website by the end of May 2021.
  • SNA allocations for special classes and special schools are not affected by this arrangement and will be published by the NCSE, along with special classes and special school teaching allocations, on their website by end of May 2021.


We await the publication of the school SNA allocations list by the NCSE (due by the end of May 2021) and will keep you updated in the meantime with any additional information we receive.

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