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22nd Jan 2020

Introduction of new model for allocating SNAs for mainstream classes in 2020

Melissa Carton

Good news for parents.

The Department of Education recently announced that they will be rolling out a new model for Special Needs Assistants in school throughout the country.

These new changes are set to come into schools this year and remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The new model for allocating Special Needs Assistants to primary and post-primary schools for students in mainstream classes only with effect at the start of the 2020/21 school year as part of the School Inclusion Model.

A pilot version of this new system as been put into place but the government hopes to have it in all schools by the end of the year.

The allocation of SNAs for mainstream classes to primary and post-primary schools will be based on the school profile used for the allocation of Special Education Teachers and will include the additional 1,064 SNA posts provided in Budget 2020.

According to ADHD Ireland and this new system for allocating SNAs will include;

1)No schools will receive an allocation of SNA support for mainstream classes which is less than their existing 2019/20 mainstream SNA allocation on the introduction of the frontloaded model and some schools gain.

2)Parents will not be required to secure a diagnosis of disability in order to access SNA support – the link between diagnosis and resources will be broken.

3)Where schools have an SNA, SNA support will be available immediately to students in mainstream classes upon their arrival in school thereby reducing delays in accessing support.

4)Schools will have a greater autonomy and flexibility in how their SNA allocation is deployed to meeting the needs of the students in their schools.

5)Frontloading will reduce the administrative burden on schools who have to follow up on assessments under the current application – based process.

6)SNAs will have more certainty around their tenure of employment and the new model does not change their roles and functions.

7)Frontloading will free up valuable resources in the system which are currently involved in carrying out assessments (HSE and NEPS) and administering an assessment based allocation system so children can access SNA support.

These valuable resources can now be redirected to meeting other priority needs and to providing increased supports for families and schools.

This is some of the information that is currently available on the new SNA scheme but for more information or updates visit