The Department of Education has in the past few days released a devastating Circular ( Circular No. 0030/2014), regarding the provision of special needs assistants in primary and secondary schools which will effectively reduce the supports currently available to children and teenagers with special needs, Joe Behan has said.
“The Minister for Education has decided that, in future, special needs assistants will only be provided for a period of 3 years and in order to achieve even this limited access, parents and schools will have to engage in a longer and more protracted application process,” Behan said.
“In what will be a shocking development for parents of second level students , the Department of Education is planning to remove almost all access to special needs assistants for students with special needs at second level.
“They say this will release money to employ additional teachers but this Government has in fact already reduced the level of teaching supports for pupils with special needs by 15% so this promise is hypocritical and worthless until the previous provision is fully restored.
“This is a cynical circular released at the end of the term when presumably the Government hoped it wouldn’t be noticed. It is vital that parents, teachers and school management stand together to oppose this unjust cut in special needs support and that we work to ensure the reversal of special needs cuts already implemented.”