Jargon Buster - Accessing Education

SNA: is a special needs assistant. The SNA works with a child or a number of children who has significant care needs. These care needs may be as a result of a disability or medical condition. The SNA does not teach the child.

Care needs may include assistance with eating, taking medicine, toileting, hygiene, managing seizures, and moving a student with mobility needs. Some children require regular class breaks, supervision or assistance with communication. These children may also access SNA support.

For details see

NCSE: is the National Council for Special Education. The NCSE allocate resources to support children with special education needs in schools such as resource teaching hours and SNA’s.

The NCSE also conducts research on special needs education best practice and provides policy advice.

SENO: is a special education needs organiser who works for the NCSE. Each SENO will have responsibility for a number of schools within an area. The main function of the SENO is to ensure each child with special education needs gets the support they are entitled to. Details for a parent to contact their local SENO are here

NEPS: is the National Educational Psychological Services. They work with schools, parents and the child to identify educational needs. A NEPS psychologist may support a child through assessment and/or consultation. NEPS psychologists work with primary and secondary students. More details can be found here

Resource teaching: access to resource teaching is to change very soon (September 2016 or 2017). This is based upon NCSE policy advice. At present, resources are allocated based mainly upon diagnosis. This will change to a model based on the needs of the child.

Children (who receive resource hours) are taught either on a one to one basis or in a small group for a portion of the school week.

For details of changes see

July provision: is an extension to the school year for children with autism or a severe/profound intellectual disability. Many children receive July provision in school. Where a school does not provide July provision a child can avail of 40 hours of home based tuition. See our fact sheet on July provision at this link

Home tuition: certain children who have a disability and cannot get a school place can avail of Home Tuition as an interim measure. Pre-school children with autism can also avail of Home Tuition if no pre-school place is available to them. This must be verified by a SENO.

A child with autism aged 2.5-3 can get 10 hours per week.

A child over 3 with no school place can avail of up to 20 hours per week.

If a pre-school or school place is available Home Tuition will be discontinued.

Section 29 appeal: is provided for in the Education Act 1998. Where a child is expelled from school or refused a place in a school the parent can appeal this decision. The appeal is made to the Department of Education or the local Education and Training Board. See our factsheet on Section 29 Appeals at this link

DES: is the Department of Education and Skills.

EPSEN Act: is the Education of Persons with Special Education Needs Act 2004. Among other things EPSEN provides for assessments and individual education plans. These parts of the EPSEN Act are not enacted.

IEP: is an individual education plan. While the EPSEN Act has not been enacted most children with a special education need, have an IEP or should have one. An IEP should be a partnership between the teacher, pupil and parent.

ECCE year: is the free early childhood care education year provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. All children, including children with disabilities can avail of this scheme (depending on age). A child with a disability can avail of the ECCE year over 2 years part-time. There is no universal SNA type of support for a child with a disability to attend the ECCE year as yet.

Education Jargon Buster