Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Seán Ryan

Question:

1004 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will respond favourably to the report from Pope John Paul II school, Malahide, County Dublin for the provision of three computers specifically for the children with special needs to ensure the best possible education opportunities are offered to these students. [1834/99]

Seán Ryan

Question:

1005 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if an additional teacher will be allocated to work with the special needs and remedial children in Pope John Paul II school, Malahide, County Dublin in view of the information supplied to his Department by the management of the school. [1835/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1004 and 1005 together.

I am aware of the case put forward by the school in question in support of its application for computer equipment and an additional teacher to cater for children with special needs. I recently announced a range of measures to tackle educational disadvantage at all levels. The measures in question include a commitment to provide a remedial teacher service to all primary schools with effect from September 1999; an allocation of an additional £400,000 in each of the next two years to fund the purchase of special equipment, including computers, for children with special educational needs and a commitment that all children assessed as having a special educational need will have an automatic entitlement to a response to their need. The level and nature of the response in each case will depend on the assessed needs of the child or group of children involved. The response may take the form of full-time or part-time resource teacher support or child care support, depending on the number of children involved and the nature of their needs. The process of responding to special needs cases under these new developments has already commenced.

The case put forward by Pope John Paul II school is currently being considered. I understand that a member of my Department's inspectorate will be visiting the school this week to discuss their particular needs.