Budget 2021 has allocated €2 billion to special needs education. This has resulted in the creation of 990 additional SNA posts, bringing the whole time equivalent (WTE) number of SNA posts to 18,000 for the 2021/22 school term.

The recruitment of hundreds of additional teachers and special needs assistants have been announced as part of the spending measures in Budget 2021.

Minister Michael McGrath said the total allocation to the Department of Education would amount to almost €9 billion.

The minister said the provision of over 300 mainstream teaching posts would result in a decrease in the pupil-teacher ratio by 1 point to 25:1.

“This is in addition to over 265 posts I am providing to meet demographic pressures across primary and post-primary levels,” the minister said in his speech.

He said €2 billion would be allocated towards special needs education.

“This will allow for the hiring of 990 additional SNAs and 403 additional teaching posts. This will mean that, at 18,000, we have more SNAs in schools than ever before and over 17,500 Special Education Teachers,” he added.

In the third level sector, Minister McGrath said the €3.3 billion budget allocation in 2021 would provide for a range of measures including the provision of 5,000 additional places “to accommodate demographic changes and exceptional demand arising from the Calculated Grade model on this year’s Leaving Certificate”.

A good start for those who want to pursue a career in SNA is to look for short training courses for special needs assisting. You can choose between a variety of classroom-based, online, or blended learning course options. Classroom-based classes and blended learning options often require students to attend classes.

Currently, students who wish to enrol must have a Leaving Certificate or Level 4 Certificate or relevant work experiences. Furthermore, to become an SNA, the Department of Education and Science states that those looking to work full-time in schools must have at least 3 passes at Junior Certificate or equivalent.

SNA Courses with Progressive College

The QQI Level 5 SNA Certificate requires students to obtain 30 hours of work placement in order to complete the course. The course covers topics that allow students to work in a variety of primary or secondaryclassroom settings. Here are some of the topics covered by the module:

  • The Role of the Special Needs Assistant
  • Theories of Learning and Behaviour
  • Physical and Intellectual Disabilities
  • Communication and Language Disabilities
  • Child Protection

Students who complete the course can then seek employment or pursue further education such as the QQI Level 6 Certificate. The QQI Level 6 Certificate allows students to tackle broader issues on learning difficulties and disabilities. Students are required to complete 30 hours of work placement in order to complete the certificate. Topics covered at the Level 6 Certificate includes:

  • Equal Opportunities
  • Integration and Inclusion
  • Irish Legislation – EPSEN Act
  • Individual Education Plans (IEP’s)
  • General Learning Difficulties

Looking To Start Your Career As An SNA?

If the work of an SNA is something that interests you, our QQI Accredited SNA Courses can help you get a jump start in your career. We have a range of part-time and online courses that can suit your schedule and needs. Our courses are delivered in Dublin and nationwide.

Our Level 5 SNA course covers all necessary and fundamental modules and topics in special needs assisting. Our Level 6 SNA course provides students with a deeper understanding of the different issues surrounding special needs assisting. Our Combined Level 5 & 6 course allows students to benefit from both courses, which makes them stand out when seeking employment.

For more information, give us a call at (01) 488 4300 or send us an email at [email protected]