Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Ceisteanna (365)

Chris Andrews

Ceist:

365. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Education if she will outline the circular, rule or other instrument which provides for her Department’s requirement that all new mainstream school buildings provide special class accommodation, as referred to in the NCSE’s policy document from 2016, Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Schools, at pages 2 and 127; the breakdown of all the new schools that have been built since the introduction of this requirement; if they include special class accommodation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31559/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In the case of all new schools, it is general practice within my Department to include a Special Education Needs Base (SEN Base) in the accommodation brief for new school buildings, unless local circumstances indicate that it will not be required. Typically, a two classroom SEN Base is provided in new primary schools and a two or four classroom SEN Base is provided in new post primary schools.

As the Deputy is aware, special classes can also be established within a school's existing accommodation. In such circumstances, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation for special needs purposes should the school’s existing accommodation not be capable of hosting special classes.

To assist school authorities, my Department has produced a technical guidance document (TGD 26 available on my Department’s Website) which outlines the space planning and design for school authorities and designers in providing permanent accommodation for students with special educational needs.

All school capital projects that have been approved by my Department under the major capital programme and the Additional Accommodation Scheme, including special needs accommodation, may be viewed on my Department’s website, www.education.ie and this is updated regularly. Should the Deputy require specific information about a particular school, this information can be provided.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs, including special classes for Autism Spectrum Disorder, are available, by county, on the National Council for Special Education website www.ncse.ie.