It's emerged that 12 of 35 Exceptional Review Applications submitted by Donegal schools for Special Needs Assistance for the upcoming school year have been unsuccessful.
Figures supplied to Donegal TD Pearse Doherty also show a further seven applications require a school visit, which may not occur until later in September or October.
Deputy Doherty says this means some children are returning to school without the much-needed support of an Special Needs Assistant, and this is causing stress for parents, principals and teachers.........
Statement in full -
Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has criticised figures he received from the National Council for Special Education which show that 12 of the 35 Exceptional Review Applications submitted by Donegal schools for Special Needs Assistance for the upcoming school year have been unsuccessful.
Furthermore, figures released show that a further 7 Exceptional Review Applications submitted by Donegal schools have been deemed to require a school visit, which may not occur until later in September or October.
Teachta Doherty said that this has led to a situation whereby children will now be returning to school without the much-needed support of an Special Needs Assistant (SNA).
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:
“I raised these questions with the Minister a number of weeks ago and I have now received these disappointing figures in response. The figures reflect exactly what I have been hearing from schools across Donegal.
"This is happening year on year where children are returning to school and are being left without the SNA support that they desperately need.
“This is causing untold stress for parents, principals and teachers.
“The system isn’t working. Why must children wait up to two months after the school year has started to get assessed? Surely there is a better, more efficient way to assess children so that the first few months in school are as comfortable as they can be?
“During the election Sinn Féin committed to providing funding for the recruitment of 500 additional SNAs and 450 additional resource teachers over and above those required to meet demographic pressures.
“In addition to this, Sinn Féin further committed to providing the NCSE with greater powers to ensure that sufficient school places and classes are provided, and the needs of children are met alongside robust appeals mechanisms.
“We also need to reduce waiting times for assessments and resourcing support for students with special educational needs, including proper access to therapies.
“Without changes such as these, children who need additional support in the classrooms will continue to be left behind and that is not acceptable."