The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today announced a contingency plan for all Special Needs Assistants to be available for a new temporary assignment scheme as part of the government’s response to COVID-19.
A dedicated process has been set up by the Public Appointments Service on publicjobs.ie to put SNAs on standby to free up frontline workers for essential services.
The move is part of a wider temporary assignment scheme which is opening for public sector employees.
All schools are currently closed under COVID-19 restrictions. The contingency plan for reassignments is being put in place in the event of an extension to public health measures.
Although all SNAs will be eligible for temporary assignment, it is not envisaged at this stage that there will be an opportunity for every SNA. Where the need arises, staff who have been assigned can return to their original jobs.
The temporary assignment arrangements will operate on the following basis:
- management across the education and training sector will need to consider how best to utilise staff to facilitate the delivery of educational services
- all public servants who are not medically advised to self-isolate (because they are confirmed or pending confirmed COVID-19 cases) must be available to carry out work either to deliver services within their own sector (as a priority) or for temporary assignment within the wider public service
- any staff who are not required for educational or research services will be available for assignment on a temporary basis to support delivery of other essential public services
- all SNAs will be asked to access a web link by 7 April. They will answer a questionnaire and details will be uploaded for the temporary assignment process
- temporary assignment will be managed on a structured, centralised basis through the Department of Education and Skills and the Public Appointments Service
- in the case of SNAs, the Public Appointments Service and HSE will check skills and match them with requirements before making contact with details of the reassignment role and location of work
- Community Services for children with a disability have been identified as the initial priority area for temporary assignment of SNAs, including public, private and voluntary healthcare settings
- SNAs may also be asked to provide remote supports to families of children who they are familiar with, including scheduled calls or video links with advice on routines, home schooling, behaviour management and social stories on COVID-19
Two circulars detailing the main points of the temporary assignment arrangements are available below:
1. To Managerial Authorities of Recognised Primary, Secondary, Community and Comprehensive Schools and the Chief Executives of Education and Training Boards (ETBs)
2. To The Higher Education Authority for dissemination to all Institutes of Technology, Technological University Dublin, the National University of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy, Mary Immaculate College of Education, the National College of Art and Design and St. Angela’s College