A new model for allocating support teachers has been proposed by the National Council for Special Education to replace the current system, which it describes as unfair.

The NCSE has said, if implemented, its proposals will greatly improve how schools are resourced to support students with special needs.

The organisation said its new model will ensure that the 11,000 support teachers will be allocated on the basis of a school's need.

NCSE head of Special Education Mary Byrne said: "The current resource teaching allocation system is also unfair because resource teaching support is dependent on a formal diagnosis of disability."

The proposed new model would mean students could be helped as soon as their difficulties are identified in school without a formal diagnosis.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said there will be extensive consultation with stakeholders, especially groups representing parents, before any changes are made.

He said he expects the consultation process to be completed by the autumn and then the Government will make a final decision.