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Special Educational Needs.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 June 2004

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Ceisteanna (171, 172, 173, 174)

Pat Carey

Ceist:

222 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if his Department can supply laptop computers and appropriate software to persons (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17272/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

Under present arrangements, my Department provides funding to meet the special equipment needs of pupils with disabilities for use while attending primary and post-primary schools.

Schools can apply, through the special education section of my Department for this support. Supporting documentation should include, psychological assessment, occupational therapy and physiotherapy reports, etc., and should be made available to the school inspector when considering the application.

To date, no application has been received in my Department on behalf of the children referred to by the Deputy.

Pat Carey

Ceist:

223 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if additional resources can be provided to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 either to help them at school or to allocate home tuition hours to assist them combat the effect of dyslexia on their academic progress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17273/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I wish to inform the Deputy that my Department has no record of receiving an application for supplementary teaching support for the pupil in question.

Children with dyslexia are generally catered for on an integrated basis in ordinary primary schools where they can be supported by the learning support teacher service or the resource teacher service. The Deputy may be interested to know that my Department is currently developing a weighted system of allocation of teaching support for schools to cater for pupils with special needs, including those with dyslexia. This system, as part of which an additional 350 teaching posts will be allocated, will involve two main elements: (a) making a staffing allocation to schools based on a predicted incidence of pupils with special educational needs; and (b) making individual allocations in the case of children with more acute lower-prevalence special educational needs.

It is expected that the change to a weighted system will bring with it a number of benefits. The new system will: reduce the need for individualised educational psychological assessment; reduce the volume of applications to my Department for additional resources for individual pupils; and give greater flexibility to schools, which will facilitate the development and implementation of improved systems and procedures in schools to meet the needs of pupils with low achievement and pupils with special educational needs.

Transitional arrangements for the introduction of the weighted system are being developed at present in consultation with representative interests. As soon as those consultations have been completed, the detailed arrangements will be set out in a circular to schools.

Home tuition is intended to provide education for children with a significant medical condition causing major disruption to their attendance at school or as an interim support for children with a significant special educational need pending the provision of an appropriate school based educational service.

Pat Carey

Ceist:

224 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 will continue to receive the same level of assistance in the academic year 2004/2005 as they are currently receiving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17274/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The pupil referred to by the Deputy is currently in receipt of 2.5 hours resource teaching support per week and in addition, has the services of a full time special needs assistant.

My Department continues to review the existing arrangements for the allocation of special educational supports to primary schools. The basic purpose of the review is to ensure that each school has the level of resources required to cater for its pupils with special educational needs. Resources will be retained in schools where there are continuing special educational needs in accordance with the Department's circulars.

I am anxious to ensure that the support services are properly targeted at the children who require them and that the substantially increased resources which are being made available in the special educational area have the desired effect of ensuring that all children assessed as having special needs receive the support they require.

Pat Carey

Ceist:

225 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will examine the request of the parents of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 for additional resource assistance for their child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17275/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I can confirm that my Department has received an application for special education supports for the pupil referred to by the Deputy. The school in question has been requested to furnish additional documentation in support of the application. A decision will be conveyed to the school as soon as the documentation has been received and considered.

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