Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (398, 399)

Richard Bruton

Question:

510 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if, in the new provision for children with special needs, he is abandoning the existing classification of special needs with their designated numbers of hours of resource teaching requirement; the proposed new national waiting system for special needs which will ensure that individual children get the necessary back up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1852/04]

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Richard Bruton

Question:

511 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the assessment he has carried out of the capacity of schools to undertake the proposed new duties in devising programmes for children with special needs, without creating difficulties for principals and other teachers in undertaking their existing duties; the technical support he will be providing to schools to assist them in undertaking the new planning duties. [1853/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 510 and 511 together.

I am most anxious that all children with special educational needs should receive an education appropriate to those needs. My Department is currently reviewing existing arrangements for the allocation of special educational supports to primary schools. In that context, my officials have initiated discussions on the matter with representative interests. At this stage, it would be premature to anticipate the outcome.

Staff in schools catering for pupils with special educational needs will continue to be supported by my Department through the provision of appropriate inservice training. In addition, I have established the national council for special education, which will, when operational, provide ongoing support and advice on special needs to individual schools. The council is, at present, arranging for the recruitment of special educational needs organisers, who will liaise directly with schools catering for special needs children.