Thursday, 12 May 2022
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs
78. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the arrangements that will be made for parents of children with disabilities whose school does not facilitate the July provision and who are unable to source a tutor; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18114/22]
This year’s Summer Programme will allow all primary and post-primary schools to offer a summer programme for students with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage. In line with last year, the total funding available to provide summer programmes this year is up to €40 million. Building on the 2021 programme, all schools, both primary and post-primary, are encouraged to provide this valuable programme to their students. In 2021 nearly 38,000 children availed of the summer programme, an increase of 60% from the previous year.
A key objective of this year’s scheme is to increase the number of schools offering the summer programme to their students. Steps have been taken to afford schools as much flexibility as possible, and to encourage them to participate. These Include: the provision of paid overseeing and preparation time for schools, a reduction in the administrative burden for schools, arrangements to pay staff sooner, greater guidance, an online payments portal for schools, and greater flexibility in the timing of the programme.
However, my Department also recognises that not all schools will be in a position to provide a school-based programme, so a home-based programme continues to be available for students with complex needs where the school-based programme is unavailable. It is important that the home-based programme provides support for the education and/or care needs of students with complex needs during the summer break period.
Under the home-based programme grant funding is made available so that parents/legal guardians can engage the services of a teacher or an SNA to provide tuition or care support as appropriate in the child’s home. Schools are requested to provide parents with the contact details of a teacher/SNA where possible.
The NCSE have compiled a non-exhaustive list of private home tutor services and online platforms who may advertise for tutors for the 2022 Summer Programme and published it on their website.
The Irish Primary Principals Network has created a Summer Programme Noticeboard for teachers and SNAs to advertise their availability for the programme. Additionally this year, parents can also post notices on the noticeboard to source suitable candidates.
The Department will continue to work with all stakeholders to support parents in accessing summer provision and with schools to ensure that they have the resources and supports necessary to successfully run these programmes.