Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Questions (159)

Catherine Murphy


159. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the specific guidance she has given directly to schools on the 2020 July provision; if none has been provided, the reason; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12988/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department published details of Summer Provision 2020 – Reconnecting with Education including a programme for children with complex special educational needs.

The programme is a significant expansion on the July Provision programme of previous years with the eligibility criteria widened to include approximately 9,000 additional primary aged children with complex needs.

All special schools and primary schools with special classes are invited to provide the school based summer provision for their students.  This programme will run for a minimum of two weeks and can extend up to four weeks where the schools, teachers and Special Needs Assistants are willing to participate.

My Department issued guidance to these schools to support management and staff in the delivery of summer programmes for children with special educational needs and those experiencing educational disadvantage as we continue to operate in line with public health advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This guidance includes information in respect of hand hygiene, physical distancing, use of PPE and a risk assessment template.

The programme is reliant on schools, teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) choosing to participate on a voluntary basis.

It is therefore a matter for the Board of Management of the school having regard to the resources available whether or not it will participate in the programme.  

To date 231 have indicated they intend to provide the school based summer provision.

Home-based provision is available where a child’s local school is not providing a programme or does not have the capacity to accommodate a child in a planned programme this year.

In this situation my Department will provide grant funding towards the engagement by Parents of a registered teacher/SNA to provide home based support for 10 hours a week for 4 weeks.

A dedicated online registration system for families of children with complex special needs to access Summer Provision is now available on Gov.ie/summerprovision.

Parents are asked to register their participation online, providing some outline information of the extent of their participation in the programme e.g. number of weeks.

Once registered, the parent is then free to plan and organise the programme for their child by consulting with the guidance on my Departments website.

A programme for DEIS schools for this Summer was also announced.

Full information on summer provision and its various strands, including guidance information for parents, is available at Gov.ie/summerprovision.