Classroom assistants are appointed on the advice of a psychologist almost always when a child has a statement.
Occasionally if a child without a statement is in danger of expulsion, a classroom assistant can be appointed if it will allow the child to remain in school.
Classroom assistants are allocated to particular children and should normally move with the child from class to class and year to year. In addition when a child is changing from primary to post-primary school, the classroom assistant will be given the opportunity to move too.
There are no uniform set of tasks for a classroom assistant – they are to be managed as a school resource, though primarily for the needs of the child to whom they were allocated.
The number of hours allocated to each particular child is determined by need and there is a table of disability categories with banding from mild to profound, to help the education advisor apply this.
If a teacher is unsure of how best to use the classroom assistant he/she should speak to the psychologist attached to the school.
In post-primary school there is a less-structured approach as there are more practical subjects where smaller class numbers apply. In this case negotiation takes place between the advisor and the principal.