Join Now

Social Democrats spokesperson on Education, Gary Gannon TD, has said that Education Minister Norma Foley needs to spell out a safe and speedy return to the classroom for students with additional needs when she addresses the Dáil this afternoon.

Deputy Gannon said:

“The immediate focus now must be on a pathway to resolve the education needs of those who most need to get back into the classroom. There was no planning as to what needed to be done in our schools in the event of a lockdown. What we need to see now is a forum for the safe and appropriate return to school, involving all the education partners.

“That forum should involve representatives of teachers, students and parents, but it should also engage patron, management bodies and advocacy groups. It should also bring in the other agencies of the State that have an interest in the area.

“The Minister needs to set out in the Dáil exactly what she will do to ensure that the education requirements of our special needs students will be fulfilled. Their interests must come first.

“It should be remembered that different groups have different needs. There are 100 special schools. What is the plan to get these back up and running? What about the 1,800 special classes in mainstream schools? Students in these groups have to be a priority, and we need a pathway back to education for them. What is the plan of return for our additional needs students in mainstream schools?

“The Minister must demonstrate that she is over the detail which will lead to a safe and appropriate return to the classroom, with a particular emphasis on our additional needs students.

“What is being done to ensure additional PPE funding in schools? Have we carried out a national assessment of additional transport that may be required to allow for spacing? Are the funds in place to ensure that children can travel to school safely?

“These are the key issues that the Minister must address today.”

January 14, 2021

Back to all Posts