The Department of Education has said it has been advised that there are now sufficient specialised school places available to accommodate all children with special educational needs this year.

However, it has acknowledged that some children's return or start at school may be delayed because some schools have not yet fully finalised arrangements.

It has told RTÉ News that because agreement to open some special classes occurred over the summer months, some schools may need some additional time to complete admission processes, recruit staff and work through any minor building and reconfiguration works.

It said the National Council for Special Education is working directly with any schools in this situation to get these classes open as quickly as possible.

In the months prior to schools closing for the summer break, it became clear that there was a significant shortage of school places suitable for children with additional needs.

There was controversy when Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan, in an unprecedented move, publicly named four Dublin schools that she said were refusing to engage in the opening of special classes.

The four schools vehemently denied the accusation and showed RTÉ News evidence of detailed and recent engagement that they had with the authorities over the issue.

The Department of Education said a record 2,535 special classes will open their doors this year. "This is an increase of 383 classes from the previous school year and will ensure that approximately 15,759 special class places will be available this year, including 2,312 new special class places," it said in a statement.

77 new special classes will open in Dublin.

The department said the NCSE has approved the necessary teaching and special needs assistant posts to the schools and has advised schools to finalise enrolment procedures for the classes to facilitate the earliest possible admission of children into those classes in the new school year.

It said the NCSE is supporting schools to finalise these arrangements as quickly as possible and to engage with parents on their waiting lists to keep them updated on progress.