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91 new classes for children with special needs announced

Dozens of additional special needs classes will be provided across the country for September.

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL for Special Education has today announced that 91 additional special needs classes will be provided across the country for the new school year starting in September.

Dublin Bay North Labour TD Seán Kenny said the announcement was great opportunity for more than 500 children with autism or specific speech and language disorder to be educated in mainstream primary and post primary schools.

“These new classes will bring the total number of specialised classes to 640 throughout Ireland which support the education of 3,700 children with special needs,” he said. “Such classes are designed for those with specific needs who cannot be educated within a mainstream class, but can benefit from being part of a main-stream school, getting the benefit of both worlds – low student-teacher ratio and high social peer interaction.”

Kenny added that the announcement was “in no small way down to the fact that the government has maintained funding of €1.3 billion annually for special needs education, and has also preserved SNA and resource teacher levels.

Labour TD Gerald Nash also welcomed the announcement, saying there had been “an awful lot of misinformation put out” about Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and Resource Teachers.

“The number of SNAs has not been cut and the number of Resource Teachers has actually increased slightly,” he said. “Those resources are allocated every year based on greatest need. There is no point keeping on an SNA at a school were the child requiring the service has left the school or better still has made huge gains in independence, while up the road another school could be crying out for the services of an SNA due to the requirements of a new pupil.”

A list of special classes per county is available on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie

Read: Number of SNAs ‘similar to last year’ but schools to get less resource hours>

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