This government is savagely attacking special needs educational provision. In its election manifesto Labour promised to “support schools, parents and children with special educational needs by ensuring that necessary supports follow a child from primary to second level”, but Ruairi Quinn, Labour Minister for Education, has announced a 10% cut to resource hours allocated to each school.
The capping of the number of Special Needs Assistants at just over 10,000 means that, children with a wide range of special needs will, at best, have to share the services of an SNA, where before they would have had exclusive access to an assistant. At worst, children may lose their SNA altogether. In addition, special classes are being removed from schools unless there are more than nine students with requirement and there are huge gaps in the provision of special needs education at second level.
The Visiting Teacher for Travellers Service is being abolished from September, as are Resource Teachers for Travellers.
Waiting lists for psychological assessments & speech and language therapy are a national disgrace, despite promises by Labour to
reverse the cuts to psychologists.
In July, over a thousand teachers, SNAs, parents and children protested against these outrageous cuts. Richard Boyd Barrett TD
played a central part in organising this protest and has helped establish a new group to fight the cuts as part of the “Enough”
campaign. There will be further protests in the autumn.