Thursday, 30 July 2020
Opening of Schools and Calculated Grades: Statements
Gabhaim buíochas leis an Teachta Ó Laoghaire. I thank the Minister for being here so late or so early on Friday morning. She will appreciate that issues with returning to school are prevalent in the concerns that have been raised with us. Many people who are at the coalface do not yet have confidence that the Minister's plan will be sufficient to address their particular needs. I have two specific questions for the Minister and I hope she will be able to give me specific responses. The first relates to school transport. I acknowledge the financial allocation, but can the Minister give an assurance that every child who had an expectation of securing a seat on the school bus, including those with concessionary passes, will still be able to get on a bus in September and that the provisions will be in place?
The second question relates to an issue Deputy Doherty raised on Leaders' Questions earlier. There is nothing more frustrating for an elected representative than dealing with the parents of a child who is waiting for an assessment of needs. The child cannot get any supports until that assessment has taken place. I have dealt with a number of parents whose children have been waiting in some cases for several years for the assessment to take place. That is unacceptable. Can the Minister give an assurance that she will provide the necessary resources and staff to ensure that by the end of this year the assessments of needs will be carried out for all those children?