Calls For Department of Education To Refine Systems Surrounding Special Education Places In Schools

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Tipperary Sinn Féin TD and Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Petitions is calling on the Department of Education to refine its systems to determine, in good time, the demand for special education places in schools and to prepare to put the necessary resources in place.

The Tipperary TD made the call after a recent appearance by the Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon before the Oireachtas committee chaired by Deputy Browne.

The issue of a shortage of school places was reviewed by the Ombudsman in 2022 and is highlighted again in his most recent report. Deputy Browne queries if knowledge of a child’s needs that builds up locally through their contacts with the educational system is used adequately to plan for future school places at senior cycle – as there is always a shortage of places. The Ombudsman is of the view that the information doesn’t fit into a national plan to allow every area to get the funding they require from the Department of Education.

Deputy Browne says “The proper, active and ongoing refinement of the data that is available to the Department needs more work in order to prevent the frantic search for places that parents are faced with each year due to the last-minute arrangements that has now become typical of the Department.”