05 Oct 2022

Offaly election hopeful calls for evaluation of special needs school assessments

Offaly election hopeful calls for evaluation of special needs school assessments

Offaly election hopeful calls for evaluation of special needs school assessments

Local election hopeful in Edenderry, Fianna Fáil's Christine Traynor, has called for an urgent evaluation of the provision of assessments for special educational needs in schools.

"Earlier in the year, the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) issued the findings from an internal poll that found the vast majority of those principals (97%) believes further supports are needed to alleviate behavioural issues in the classroom and
worse, 87% say they have concerns around health and safety in their school," Christine explained.

“Schools are under pressure and are doing their best to accommodate student individual need but more needs to be done. At the doorsteps, parents are telling me they are struggling to cope with the additional pressures when trying to secure assessments for their children and shocking wait times have been revealed and additionally the costs of private assessments are significant on families struggling financially,” Christine explained.

“We need a comprehensive focused Plan to ensure that the proper and safe provision for pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools is provided for."

“Also anxious parents are asked to wait to find out if their child or children will be accepted into a local school, usually being put on a waiting list because there is not enough space. Some schools are required to carry out a lottery, where names are
chosen at random to secure places in units. This is not acceptable,” she continued.

“Parents are under pressure, and are worried that their children are not getting the support they need and interventions are crucial in helping children with learning disabilities to meet their full potential."

The Department of Education has pointed out that it has significantly increased investment in special education in recent years. However, Christine Traynor concluded that “questions remain if there has been more funding, why are schools struggling to cope, why are waiting times for assessments excessive, in some cases one to two-years."

"The reality is that the Government has not managed this situation and are not prepared for the future need of vulnerable children," Christine concluded.

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