Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (201, 202, 205)

Paul Murphy

Question:

201. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason there is only one secondary school with an ASD unit in Dublin 24; his plans to remedy the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26497/19]

View answer

Paul Murphy

Question:

202. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) has no ASD unit for those in the senior cycle in view of the evident need for one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26498/19]

View answer

Paul Murphy

Question:

205. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children with ASD in Dublin 24 not in full-time education due to an absence of appropriate supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26501/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 201, 202 and 205 together.

Ensuring that every child has a suitable placement available to them from September is a key priority for this Government.

It is open to any school board of management to make an application to the NCSE to open a special class.

The enrolment of a child to 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 has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment in schools or keeping waiting lists.

I am aware of the need for increased specialist education provision in the Dublin area.

The NCSE has informed my Department that they intend to establish 167 new special classes nationally for 2019/20 school year of which approximately 156 will be new ASD special classes, which includes new ASD classes in the area referred to by the Deputy.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

There are undoubted challenges when it comes to the establishment of special school and class provision in some schools and communities.

From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved. This process is ongoing in the Dublin area and the NCSE are actively engaging with schools in relation to establishing ASD classes where there is an identified need for the 2019/2020 school year.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

Similarly, where special schools wish to expand provision, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to accommodate additional placements.

There are 37 special schools and 237 special classes attached to mainstream schools in Co. Dublin.

The number of ASD special classes in Co. Dublin have increased from 66 in 2011/2012 to 197 in 2018/2019. Of these, 17 are ASD Early Intervention Classes, 139 are ASD Primary Classes and 41 are ASD Post Primary Classes. Each ASD Special class provides 6 placements.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available on www.ncse.ie.

As the matter raised by the Deputy refers to a particular area, I have arranged for the Deputy's question to be forwarded to the National Council for Special Education for their attention and direct reply.