Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs
290. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her Department has data regarding the number of students from a location (details supplied) in County Cork who are presently travelling long distances to access special schools; the consideration her Department is giving to the establishment of a special school in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30288/21]
Enabling children with special educational needs to receive an education appropriate to their needs is a priority for this Government.
This year, just under 25% of the total Education budget or €2bn will be invested in supporting children with special educational needs.As a result, the numbers of special education teachers, SNAs and special class and school places are at unprecedented levels.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has responsibility for coordinating and advising on the education provision for children nationwide.
The NCSE, through its local network of SENOs (Special Educational Needs Organisers), is available to provide advice and support to parents on the possible placement options available to their child.
The Deputy will be aware of the recent announcement whereby Minister Foley and I have secured a significant expansion of special school provision in Cork through the establishment of a new special school and increased capacity in an existing special school to meet the needs of children in the Cork area.
Priority will now be given to those children who currently do not have an offer of a school place for next September.
The provision of these 60 additional special school placements is to cater for the immediate requirements. I can assure the Deputy that my Department and the NCSE continue to work towards the development of additional placements in the Cork area to meet ongoing and future demand.