A new fairer system of allocating teachers and extra resources to children with special needs will benefit schools in Tallaght and neighbouring areas according to Dublin South West TD and Independent Minister, Katherine Zappone.
Major changes to the way teaching supports are provided to more than 100,000 children with special needs in primary and secondary school are due to come into force this September.
The Minister says an extra 900 teachers will be provided in the coming year to ensure that every child receives the support they need in school.
Minister Zappone says the new approach will also lift the burden on parents to have their child diagnosed, with schools instead being asked to identify the overall need for special teachers through profiling.
Welcoming the announcement Minister Katherine Zappone said:
“Many parents have been contacting my office in Tallaght very worried about the barriers they face to get teaching support for a child with special needs.
“The burden to have their child diagnosed is not only unfair it also labels children and that is wrong.
“Under the new approach schools in Tallaght will be invited to identify their overall need for extra teachers and resources, ending the need for individual assessments.
“An additional €15m is being set aside to support this effort which will see 900 teachers provided during 2017.”
The new resource allocation model has been developed by the National Council for Special Education over several years in collaboration with parents, teachers and disability groups.
Under the system, resource teachers and support will be provided automatically to individual schools on the basis on their profiled need.
The Department of Education say this will end the unfairness which exists under the current system, where parents have often been unable to access assessments needed to quality for educational resources.
Minister Zappone is hopeful the new system will be a great success. She said:
“Nationally over 1,000 schools are expected to receive an increase in resources – while a guarantee is being given that others will not see a decrease from their 2015/2016 level.
“It is my hope that children, parents and families in Tallaght will start benefitting as soon as possible.
“The plan is also to frontload resources from the start of each year.
“This will allow local schools to timetable and plan for the future and not have to wait for allocations.
“In the coming months I will be interested to hear from Tallaght parents and schools on how the new model is progressing.”