Written answers

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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120. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her plans to allow preschool children starting primary school in September 2020 to attend the July provision this summer; if there is a similar programme in place for preschool children transitioning to primary school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12757/20]

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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182. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if one-to-one tutor time under the July provision programme will be provided to children in 2020, particularly one with a dual diagnosis of Down's syndrome and autism and serious medical heart and lung underlying issues, meaning they cannot attend a school for the programme; if there are additional supports in place to support such children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13148/20]

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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213. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her plans to extend the July provision to children in the junior cycle of secondary school including children with Down syndrome; if there are such supports in place to help parents and children make up for the lost time in school due to Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13369/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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My Department published details of Summer Provision 2020 – Reconnecting with Educationincluding a programme for children with complex special educational needs.

The programme is a significant expansion on the July Provision programme of previous years with the eligibility criteria widened to include approximately 9,000 additional primary aged children with complex needs.

The programme aims to ensure, in so far as possible, that these children can reintegrate/transition into their planned education setting for the next school year with their peers.

In-school or home-based supports by teachers and SNAs will help to prevent regression among children with complexspecial educational needs.

The eligibility criteria includes the following categories of children:

1. Pupils with a diagnosis of Autism

2. Pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties

3. Any child in special schoolor a special class in a Primary School

4. Children transitioning into a special class or special school from early year’s settings

5. Pupils in primary school mainstream classes who present with the following disabilities:

- Children with Down syndrome

- Children who are Deaf or most severe hard of hearing

- Children who are blind or have a most severe visual impairment

- Children who have a moderate general learning disability

- Children with severe emotional behavioural difficulties

Funding for summer provision is not available to in respect of children who are not covered by the programme criteria. A child must meet at least one of the eligibility criteria.

If a Parent is in doubt about their child’s eligibility, they should consult their child’s school or contact my Department. Contact details are available on my Departments website .

All special schools and primary schools with special classes are invited to provide the school based summer provision for their students. This programme will run for a minimum of two weeks and can extend up to four weeks where the schools, teachers and Special Needs Assistants are willing to participate.

Home-based provision will be available where a child’s local school is not providing a programme or does not have the capacity to accommodate a child in a planned programme this year. In this situation my Department will provide grant funding towards the engagement by Parents of a registered teacher / SNA to provide home based support for 10 hours a week for 4 weeks.

The programme will be reliant on schools, teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) choosing to participate on a voluntary basis.

A dedicated online registration system for families of children with complex special needs to access Summer Provision is now available on Gov.ie/summerprovision.

Parents are asked to register their participation online, providing some outline information of the extent of their participation in the programme e.g. number of weeks.

Once registered, the parent is then free to plan and organise the programme for their child by consulting with the guidance on my Departments website.

Full information on summer provision and its various strands, including guidance information for parents, is available at Gov.ie/summerprovision.

In relation to support for pre-school children the Department of Children and Youth Affairs launched a dedicated campaign and website to supports transition called “Lets Get Ready” which has received a positive response so far.

This resource has been prepared jointly with my Department. It is universal in scope, and is aimed at children returning to pre-school as well as children returning to or transitioning to school.

Information on the site is at a level for all to understand and include a section called ‘Ready for Everyone’ to specifically support transitions for children with special / additional needs.

The website, which is being updated and reviewed by the DCYA based on the feedback from various sources, is available at .

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