OVER 700 CHILDREN with special needs will be catered for this month when 118 new classes open.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) says the classes will be based in 113 mainstream primary and post primary schools.
It will bring the total number of special classes in mainstream schools nationwide to over 740, catering for over 5,000 children with special needs when all classes are open.
Special classes in mainstream schools is an options available to parents who cannot be educated in a mainstream class, for example some children with autism or a specific speech and language disorder. These classes have lower pupil-teacher ratios than mainstream classes, ranging from one teacher for six pupils to one teacher for eleven pupils.
Teresa Griffin, chief executive of NCSE said the new classes mean “that fewer children with special educational needs have to travel long distances to schools”.
The NCSE also revealed a new booklet to help parents to inform them where to enrol their child with special educational needs. The booklet gives information on what supports are available in schools and identifies some key issues to guide and assist parents in their decision making.
“The more information that parents have about the different options and placements available for their child, the more they are supported to make an informed and ultimately better decision about their child’s education,” said Áine Lynch of the National Parents Council.