Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Education and Skills
299. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the situation in which teacher's salary payments for the summer programme is marked as autistic programme; if she will instruct her Department to cease the use of this terminology and instead refer to the school-based summer programme and the home-based summer programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49688/21]
I wish to advise the Deputy that the extended Summer Education Programme, which was in place until 2020, and which was often referred to as the July Provision programme, initially provided for pupils who had Autism, or who had severe and profound learning difficulties.
Since the summer of 2020, and again in 2021, the Department has made provision for a significantly expanded summer education programme, for pupils with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage, as a COVID-19 pandemic response measure.
Due to an administrative error this term was incorrectly referenced on payslips.
I have received assurances that this inappropriate description will not be used on future payslips, and that it will be amended.
I also wish to re-emphasise my commitment to supporting children with special educational needs, or additional learning needs, and their families, particularly at this difficult time.
€40 Million has been allocated for this year’s enhanced summer education programme, while €10 million has also been spent this year on a Supplementary Education scheme, which provided extra teaching support for pupils with complex special educational needs.
A COVID Learning and Support Scheme (CLASS) is also being put in place to help schools mitigate the adverse impacts of Covid-19 on pupil/student learning loss and wellbeing arising from the periods of school closures in 2020 and 2021.
Under the Covid Learning and Support programme, provision is being made for up to €52 Million in extra teaching hours for schools.
When combined with the additional provision now being made for the COVID Learning and Support Scheme (CLASS), this will bring the total package of support for enhanced educational programmes this year to over €100 Million