Thursday, 23 September 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs
148. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to significant delays in the opening of a new special school in Carrigaline, County Cork, an appeal from the school due to understaffing and the fact that the school is now being forced to open without full completion of the outside garden and play areas. [45596/21]
The conversion of the Carrigaline Gaelscoil primary school building to a dedicated Special School involved significant construction and building renovation works. This work was undertaken during the months of July and August following the vacation of the Gaelscoil for the summer recess on June 25th 2021. The internal works were prioritised to ensure the school building was upgraded to create an environment suitable for the pupil’s physical, educational and sensory needs. These works have been successfully completed and the building is now available to the school community.
Similarly the external environment is specially designed to meet the needs of pupils. Due to unforeseen issues with availability of play equipment and materials, the external play areas are scheduled for completion in the last week of October. Every effort is being made to improve upon this date.
The staffing which has already been sanctioned by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) for Carrigaline Community Special School has been recruited and currently comprises an Administrative Principal, 6 mainstream teachers and 11 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs). NCSE is working closely with the school to ensure that students are supported in their transition to the new school in accordance with their needs.
The enrolment for the 2021/22 school year is 32 students. The school will expand to 48 students over time and the staffing allocation will increase in line with the increased enrolment and in accordance with the students’ needs.
I can assure the Deputy that my Department and the NCSE will continue to work with the school authorities to ensure that it is fully operational as soon as possible.