The Government has decided to expand a cap on the number of Special Needs Assistants employed in Irish schools.

Almost 400 additional SNAs should be working in schools by the end of next year.

The decision was approved by Cabinet this morning.

In a statement, the Department of Education said it would ensure the Government's policy of ensuring that every child who needed SNA support would get it.

The cap was imposed in 2010 by the previous government.

It has limited the number of SNAs working in schools, even though the number of children who need support has been increasing.

The cap has been raised from its current level of 10,575 posts to 10,745 posts by the end of this year, and by a further 220 posts by the end of 2014.

Demand for SNAs has been rising in tandem with the significant growth in the overall school-going population in Ireland.