Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 4 May 1995

Vol. 452 No. 4

Written Answers. - Visiting Teacher Service.

Mary Wallace


52 Miss M. Wallace asked the Minister for Education the number of travelling special needs teachers; the areas covered by each teacher; and the number of students seen by each teacher. [8133/95]

There are 37 teachers employed in the visiting teacher service at present. This service is available throughout the entire country. The role of the visiting teacher service is to assist ordinary school staff in meeting the special educational needs of children with certain types of disabilities. At present this service extends to the needs of children attending ordinary classes and special pupils who suffer from visual or hearing impairment and Downs Syndrome children. The work of the visiting teacher can involve instruction to individuals or groups of pupils, together with an advisory and support service for both teachers and parents.

The frequency of visits to individual children can vary depending on the level of need. Details of the number of students visited by individual visiting teachers are not readily available to my Department.

There is a separate visiting teacher service dedicated to the needs of traveller children attending ordinary primary schools. A total of 12 visiting teachers are employed in this service. I propose to appoint a further five teachers with effect from September next. This service is currently available in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Wexford. Arrangements are being made to fill a vacancy in Laois-Offaly.

I should also point out that in recent years my Department has introduced a new innovation whereby a special resource teacher can be attached to a school in a local area to meet the needs of groups of children with disabilities attending ordinary schools in that area.

To date, a total of 26 resource teachers have been put in place. I recently announced my intention to appoint an additional ten resource teachers with effect from September next. While the role of the resource teacher is similar to that of the visiting teacher, the resource teacher model can be the more appropriate response in circumstances in which a significant number of pupils with special needs are identified in a local area.