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Joe McHugh

Plans to be announced for summer classes for children with special needs, or from disadvantaged areas

Minister for Education Joe McHugh told the Dáil about the plan this afternoon.

EDUCATION MINISTER JOE McHugh has told the Dáil that plans are being put together for a summer educational programme for children with special needs, or children from disadvantaged areas.

The minister told TDs he was seeking the support of school teachers and SNAs in order to make it happen.

In response to questions from TD Gino Kenny, who asked what will be provided for disadvantaged students who have been out of school since 13 March, McHugh said he would be announcing more plans formally next week.

“I will offer two examples in terms of disadvantage. We are looking at school completion.  This will involve targeted disadvantage to try to get some form of school completion continued. 

We are also looking at literacy and numeracy in DEIS schools. At the moment only 70 schools do the summer programme in literacy and numeracy. I am looking to build upon that and extend it. They are two examples. Next week we will have more clarification.

Gino Kenny also raised the concerns of families with children who have complex or special needs, who are left particularly vulnerable during lockdown because they have no outlet or routine.

“The good news is that over the past few weeks with what has happened between Department of Education and Skills officials and the Department of Health there has been a sea change on a summer programme.  

“We are looking at the school inclusion model which we all want to work towards for children who need physiotherapy, occupational therapy or speech and language therapy.

We are working together to get a summer programme, for the 600 children with complex medical needs, along with disadvantaged kids and special educational needs kids. 

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