Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Special Educational Needs

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 July 2020

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Ceisteanna (395)

Anne Rabbitte


395. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills when she will issue clear guidance to schools relating to the July provision in view of the fact many schools have staff in place but appear to be refusing to do the programme due to the fact they are not prepared to put their staff and students at risk; the way in which she will ensure schools operate the programme in the context of Covid-19; the measures which will be in place in schools to ensure staff and students are safe; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13920/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 237 schools have indicated they intend to provide the school based summer provision which is an increase on 2019. The estimated number of children expected to benefit is approximately 3,800.

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.

Following a decision from Cabinet this week the home based summer programme is also open to children with down syndrome who are attending post primary school.

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