Dáil debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Special Educational Needs

9:30 am

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The Minister and I were delighted to announce this year’s summer programme. It is anticipated that it will support up to 48,000 children with special educational needs and children at most risk of educational disadvantage. It is on the back of the supplementary programme and the Covid learning support scheme. We know that these children suffered significant regression during the pandemic so it is important that they get access to this programme. In 2021, the numbers availing of the summer programme increased by 60% from the previous year and we expect them to increase again this year.

It is not the case that English as an additional language for pupils has been dropped from the eligibility list for the primary inclusion programme. All students who are eligible for the programme last year will still be eligible this year. That includes migrant students who are availing of English as an additional language. The summer programme for all primary schools clearly states that it offers an opportunity for schools to address the needs of migrant students such as addressing English language skills and integration.  This includes students who have recently arrived in Ireland from Ukraine. Some of those will be very interested in doing this programme and schools have expressed the wish to take in many Ukrainian students.

The inclusion programme is open to pupils who have complex needs, pupils who are at risk of educational disadvantage and pupils in mainstream education who are accessing the higher level of continuous support. That would include a small number of students with enduring needs that significantly affect their capacity to learn and function independently and to participate in education. The inclusion programme is also open to those students who require highly individualised and differentiated learning programmes that are significantly different from their peers.


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