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Loss of resource hours for children with special needs “devastating and unacceptable” – Deputy O’Brien

19 June, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has expressed fears that additional cuts to special needs supports will greatly undermine the capacity of schools to implement an integrated education system.

Deputy O’Brien was responding to today’s announcement by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) of a 25 per cent reduction in teaching time for special needs children compared to 2011 allocations.

Describing the reduction in resource hours as “devastating and unacceptable”, Deputy O’Brien said: “What has characterised this government since coming to power is the implementation of punitive cuts that have are having the greatest impact on vulnerable learners.

“Today’s announcement by the NCSE of a 25% cutback in resource hours reflects a scandalous dereliction of duty on the State to provide adequate supports for children with special needs. These cuts are being imposed on families a time when projected school enrolments are expected to rise significantly over the coming years.

“The INTO are correct when they point out that government policies are undermining the principle of inclusive schools and the continual erosion of resources means it will be impossible to integrate children with special needs into a mainstream classroom setting.

“Yet again it is the most vulnerable sections of our society who are suffering the most as a result of government policies that contrast with the way in which they have dealt with high earners and tax avoidance issues.”

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