The parent of a deaf student emailed IDK. Her child’s secondary-school teaching support hours were cut during Transition Year, when the regional SENO said this was not the case. A deadlock had resulted, so our advice was sought. Here’s what we suggested.
Get a statement of resource teaching &/or SNA hours at the start.
All arrangements with the school and SENO for resource teaching and SNA support hours should be in writing, for your reference. Detail should include:
- number of full/part-time SNA hours the pupil/student is to get, and
- number of resource-teaching hours granted to the pupil/student
This student’s support hours were cut, when the SENO said otherwise. If a parent has no record of their child’s resource teaching/SNA hours at the outset, there is no way to confirm support hours are cut, if this happens.
Just possibly, this Transition Year student was moved down a school-support ‘priority list’ as TY is not seen as a formal teaching year. With the Leaving Cert cycle so near, the parent knew they had to make their case this year.
Specifically, the student’s SNA hours were cut to half-time, with no resource hours since September, when the school year began. When the parent wrote to us, the student was showing signs of pressure from the lack of supports.
Our proposed solutions included:
- Writing letters to the heads at the SESS, Department of Education & Skills and NCSE, with the student’s history and exam results to date.
- Looking within the school community for a SNA substitute. A possible teaching assistant may be retired, on leave, in training or working part-time? Might they work some voluntary school-hours, to gain CV credit?
- Try to find a teaching assistant in the local area, if this person is not found via the school? Your volunteer centre may help to source garda-vetted teaching assistants. Ireland’s volunteer centres are professional and receive state investment for volunteers to fill gaps in ‘paid’ jobs.
- If you are in a border county, look into potential cross-border funding to finance teaching support for your child, either in school or at home.
- Could a family member or friend, do some tutoring with your child if needed? Especially if they have teaching expertise or a qualification.
- If finances are tight, try swapping time/skills for extra tuition? Maybe you have one skill that a tutor or teaching assistant can benefit from?
We know other families are in a similar situation. On reading this piece, they may be inspired to try different ways to get the teaching support they need. Obviously, arranging extraneous supports at a school depends on its policy.
- SNA Provision: The DES Value For Money Report
- Why SNAs Can Be So Important To Deaf Children
- Proposed SNA Cuts – Just The Tip Of An Iceberg?
- Educational Supports Ensure A Diverse Workforce