Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (187)

Michael McGrath


187. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 95 of 7 May 2014, if he will consider introducing an exemption from maths for children with the rare diagnosis of dyscalculia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22385/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The approach to teaching and learning in schools is that teachers use differentiation to address different rates of learning to reflect the educational needs and in particular the learning skills and abilities of their pupils.

My Department supports the holistic development of the young person and, other than in the case of Irish (which is under review), exempting pupils from a key subject area, such as mathematics, is not recommended in view of the need to support the student's overall development. Mathematics and numeracy permeate so many aspects of the curriculum. The aim is to develop skills at the level and rate that suits the young person's abilities (and disabilities).

Examinations at post-primary level are designed to provide opportunities for candidates across the achievement range to show what they know, understand and can do so as to be fair to candidates and to facilitate a spread of grades across the available range. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) operates a Scheme of Reasonable Accommodations at the Certificate Examinations (RACE scheme). The scheme is designed to assist candidates with special needs at the certificate examinations. Within the context of the RACE scheme the term 'special need' applies to candidates who have a physical disability, including visual and hearing impairments, or a specific learning difficulty.