O’Brien welcomes Minister’s commitment on resource teaching hours
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has today welcomed a commitment from the Minister for Education to maintain the number of resource teaching hours at the current level pending a report from a government appointed working group.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“A decision was taking by the government in June which would have resulted in a cut to the number of resource teaching hours for children with special needs. Following widespread criticism, the Minister was forced to do a u-turn on this decision and he secured cabinet approval for 500 additional posts. This means that the government will now maintain the number of hours at the present level.
“The caveat to this was that the Minister set-up a working group under the chairmanship of Eamon Stack. This working group was to examine the model currently being used to allocate resource hours.
“The Minister confirmed today that the report from the working group will not be back until the spring of next year. This means that it will be additional twelve months before any recommendations made by the working group are rolled-out. Therefore, we are looking at the current model staying in place until at least September 2015.
“I am happy that we have been able to secure a commitment from the Minister today that there will no reduction in the number of resource hours until the new model, formulated by the working group, have been published.
“This is a positive development but it there is also an argument to be made that the decision is as a result of administrative issues and not as a result of government policy. This government education policy is very much wedded to cuts and austerity.
“I welcome the commitment by the Minister but I am also saying very clearly that cuts to resource hours, be it now or in 2015, will be detrimental to the education of special needs children in this state.