An additional 44 SNAs will be allocated to Kildare primary and post primary schools in September, according to Fine Gael Kildare South TD Martin Heydon.

This will bring the total number of SNAs to 629 locally, with 400 in primary schools, 118 in post primary and 111 in special schools around Co. Kildare.

Deputy Heydon said: “The aim of this Government is to ensure that children with special educational needs can be supported to fully participate in schools and fulfil their potential. Special Needs Assistants play a key role in ensuring this and I would like to firstly take this opportunity to pay credit to the fantastic work that they do in schools across Kildare.

“Today’s announcement will ensure that every child who needs SNA support in Kildare will receive it. Following on from today’s allocation, there will be a total of 15,000 Special Needs Assistants working in our schools around the country

“This increased investment reflects the priority which the Government has put on helping children with special educational needs to fulfil their potential. It also reflects the growing participation of children with Special educational Needs in the Education System and the capacity of our Education system to better support their full participation and progression.

“In July 2017, my Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, gave a commitment that funding for SNA posts would be dealt with as part of the normal Estimates process, meaning that schools would be informed of their allocation for the beginning of the next school year before the end of May 2018.

“Today’s announcement honours that commitment and should help Kildare schools plan for the new academic year.  It is also expected that a further allocation will be announced during the first term of the new school year.”