There are currently 32 special classes in place to cater for children with specific speech and language disorders. Each class operates at a maximum pupil-teacher ratio of 7:1. Special capitation grants at the rate of £346 for pupils under 12 years of age and £372 for pupils of 12 years and over are paid to the school authorities to assist with the running costs of these special classes.
Speech therapy services, provided by the relevant health board, form part of the support package made available to pupils attending such special classes.
Decisions as to the location of classes and the delivery of speech therapy services are determined by the level of assessed need in particular areas.
My Department is currently considering the establishment of an additional class to cater for children on the north side of Dublin city. As part of this process, my Department is in discussion with the Eastern Health Board regarding the provision of the necessary speech therapy services.
My Department keeps the need for such classes under ongoing review and will establish further classes where an assessed need has been identified.