The July Education Programme (or July Provision Grant Scheme) provides funding towards an extended school year for children with a severe or profound general learning disability and/or children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) enrolled in recognised schools.
The eligibility criteria and the terms and conditions for the July Provision Grant Scheme 2018 are set out in the Information Note on the scheme which was published with the application forms and is available on the Department’s website at www.education.ie.
The National Council for Special Education’s Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders was published in July 2016.
In developing this policy advice, the NCSE reviewed my Department's July Provision Grant Scheme. The NCSE consulted widely with parents, professionals and other stakeholders and interested parties while also conducting research.
The Policy advice, which is available on the NCSE’s website, recommends that relevant stakeholders should discuss the development of a national day activity scheme that provides a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs for one month of the summer holidays.
My Department has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the National Council for Special Education, the National Educational Psychological Service, the Inspectorate and external representatives to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered. The work of the Implementation Group is ongoing.
My Department officials are engaging with officials in the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Health and other relevant stakeholders in regard to implementing the recommendations, including those in relation to July Provision.
While that work is underway, there are no plans to extend the existing July Provision Grant Scheme to all children with Special Education Needs and indeed this was not a recommendation of the NCSE in their policy advice.