The Fórsa trade union has welcomed a review of contracts for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs).

The union said the review, which was announced by the Minister for Special Education, will include a range of measures that it has been campaigning for.

"The review will encompass the establishment of a pilot redeployment scheme for SNAs and establish new minimum entry qualifications," said Andy Pike, Fórsa Head of Education.

"These agreed aspects are crucial to minimising the risk of redundancy for SNAs and takes a meaningful step toward the professionalisation of the SNA role," Mr Pike said.

Fórsa said the review is also due to address working arrangements such as the "72 hour" obligation, which has led to SNAs being tasked with inappropriate work, such as cleaning and maintenance.

Yesterday, the Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan announced that the Department of Education will establish the first Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Workforce Development Plan.

The Government said the plan will develop a vision for the future of the SNA service based on research and analysis of the workforce and strategic planning setting out clear objectives and achievable goals.

The plan will be developed in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders including SNAs, the school management bodies, unions, schools, parents and children.

"This plan will bring clarity and direction to the SNA service into the future and ensure it can address the changing and emerging needs of the students in a robust and flexible way," Ms Madigan said.