Special Education School Places Again Raised by Minister

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Minister of State for Special Education, Josepha Madigan

The issue of school places for children with special needs was again raised by Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan.

In a series of posts on her Twitter account, the Minister said that schools would be ordered to create places for children with special educational needs.

In several parts of the country, parents are finding it impossible to source a place or a place close to home attended by siblings.

This was highlighted on last night’s ‘Prime Time’ on RTE which featured the Milne family from Dublin who are struggling to find school places for their 11 year-old twin boys who are both severely autistic, as well as suffering from a range of other special needs.

Minister Madigan said that she will use her powers to issue a section 37a notice to ensure “every child gets the supports they need and access to a school placement”.

The Minister is to meet with the National Council for Special Education and Department officials tomorrow, Thursday, which will determine the scope and extent of the actions to be taken, including how many schools will be impacted, and where they are located.

Where schools have been cooperating with the NCSE to open a special class, these powers will not be used.

The number of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) has increased 19,169 and the number of special educational needs teachers has risen to 14,385, however the Minister accepted that for parents unable to find a school place for their kids, these statistics were meaningless.