Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (355)

Joan Collins


355. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Education the details of the plan to open a school (details supplied) as an autism specific school for the 2021-2022 school year; and if safe, socially distanced access to the building will be provided for a group in order to evaluate the building. [7870/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am very pleased to have secured agreement to open a new special school at the location referred to by the Deputy. This is a much-needed development which will help to meet the demand for special school places in the area.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has identified that appropriate provision is currently required for approximately 40 special school places for students with autism and general learning disabilities in South Dublin.

This provision is required to be made available at the earliest possible date but no later than the beginning of the 2021/22 school-year.

While the initial provision of 40 placements is intended to provide for those students identified by the NCSE, it is also intended that any remaining placements will be made available to children in South Dublin with complex needs that require special school placement.

The NCSE will determine the staffing level for the school in line with normal procedures.

My Department will also consider whatever other supports are necessary to ensure the school is in a position to cater for the needs of these students upon enrolment.

I can assure the Deputy that my Department is working with the Patron to advance the arrangements for the opening of the new school.