Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (323)

Charlie McConalogue


323. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an appeal for July provision hours in respect of children (details supplied) in County Donegal; the reason these children are not being treated individually despite the fact that they need a full-time one-to-one special needs assistant during the school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31762/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the July Education Programme is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. My Department also provides for a July Programme for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. Where school based provision is not feasible, home based provision may be grant aided. The allocation of home based provision to siblings for July Provision is reflective of the school grouping principle. This is where one teacher is allocated to a class of six pupils at the appropriate educational level, primary or post primary. Accordingly it is considered appropriate, as in a school situation, that a tutor can provide tuition at the appropriate educational level to more than one sibling at that level simultaneously in the home. The school grouping principle does not purport to replicate or mirror all aspects of school based provision. The age or ability of siblings is reflected in their education level as determined by education and health professionals. In general where a child is receiving their education in a class setting with other children of mixed age and ability, this should carry through to their July Provision. However in recognition of the differing needs of some siblings, including the brothers referred to by the Deputy, separate allocations can considered on a case by case basis. Applications in this regard will require supporting documentation including professional reports from a psychologist or a letter from the principal of the school detailing the existing arrangements currently in place for the respective children and providing reasons why they cannot be tutored together in the home. Separate allocations have been approved for the siblings referred to by the Deputy.