09 September 2013

New Special Needs Classes will Improve School Experience for Students

Local TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed today’s announcement by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) that 118 new classes for children with special needs are opening in schools across the country this month. These new classes will cater for over 700 children with special needs in 113 mainstream primary and post primary schools around the country.

“I’m delighted that these new classes for children with special needs will be opened in St Peter Apostle JNS in Clondalkin as well as Lucan East ETNS and Colaiste Padraig CBS in Lucan. The opening of these classes will help create an improved and more inclusive learning environment for children with Autism in Clondalkin and Lucan with a specialist Early Intervention unit being set up in St Peter Apostle JNS. I believe that this will make the overall experience of school less challenging and more enjoyable for these children,” said Fitzgerald.

The 3 new classes in Clondalkin and Lucan join existing special needs classes in St Mary’s NS Saggart, Lucan Educate Together, Adamstown Castle Educate Together, Clonburris NS, St Mary’s SNS, St Bernadettes SNS and Archbishop Ryan NS.

“These dedicated classes will have lower pupil-teacher ratios than mainstream classes, ranging from one teacher for six pupils to one teacher for eleven pupils. I know that these classes will be welcomed by parents of children with Autism and will mean that fewer children with special educational needs have to travel long distances to schools.

“This Government has now increased the availability of special classes by 50% since it was elected in 2011. 33 such classes were created in 2011, and 91 were created last year and there is now 14 between Lucan, Clondalkin and Saggart. The additional 118 classes opening this month means that 242 special classes have been created nationally during the lifetime of this Government.

“I also welcome the publication of the NCSE booklet which provides useful information for parents when making decisions about where to enrol their child with special educational needs. I get a lot of representations from constituents who are concerned with the future education for their children once they are diagnosed with special needs. This booklet provides information on what supports are available in schools and identifies some key issues to guide and assist parents in their decision making.”