Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (258)

Frank O'Rourke


258. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school place can be found for a person (details supplied) requiring a place in a specialist unit within a mainstream primary school in north County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9813/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Ensuring that children with special educational needs are supported and given the opportunity to reach their full potential is a key priority for this government.

My Department's policy aims to ensure that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.

Some students, although academically able to access the curriculum in mainstream, may find it too difficult to manage full-time placement there. This can be due to significant difficulties in areas such as behaviour or sensory needs which have not been ameliorated, even with appropriate intervention, in mainstream.

Other children may have such complex needs that the recommendation in their professional reports state that they are best placed in a special school.

The NCSE is aware of emerging need in County Kildare from year to year, and where special provision is required it is planned and established to meet that need.

There are currently 70 special classes in the County, including 62 ASD special classes. A further 282 students, including students with ASD, are placed in 4 special schools in Kildare.

The enrolment of a child in a school is a matter, in the first instance, for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department and the NCSE has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment to schools.

The parents of the child referred to by the Deputy are encouraged to contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs and request assistance in identifying educational placements. Contact details are available on www.ncse.ie

The NCSE is continuing to work with schools, parents, NEPS, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in the Kildare area for children with special educational needs, to ensure that each child has a school placement appropriate to their needs for the 2018/19 school year.