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Government must review Reasonable Accommodation Scheme in light of High Court Actions – Nolan

17 May, 2016

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Deputy Carol Nolan, has today called on the Minister for Education to urgently review the operation of the Reasonable Accommodation for Certificate Examinations (RACE) scheme in light of a recent High Court decision.

Deputy Nolan said:

“The RACE scheme was designed to offer supports to children with special educational needs during the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate.

“Just last month, the High Court found in favour of a Leaving Cert student with dyslexia, who had been denied access to a reader to assist him during his exams on the grounds that the State Examinations Commission has not provided reasons for the refusal.

“This week, we have another student, who has taken legal action in the High Court in very similar circumstances and there are a number of legal actions challenging refusal under this scheme pending.

“Many of these students have received supports and assistance under the scheme for the Junior Certificate examination but are then denied this level of support for the Leaving Certificate.

“Figures show that in 2015, just 17 applications were refused under the scheme for the Junior Certificate, while over 1,000 applications were denied for the Leaving Certificate the same year.

“The refusal of such assistance adds a huge amount of pressure on the student and their family at an already stressful time and it is appalling that these students have been left with no option but to take legal action at this level in order to challenge the flawed operation of the scheme.

“I am calling on the Minister for Education and Skills to urgently review the operation of the RACE scheme in light of the recent high court decision and spare these students the burden of legal action to access the supports they clearly require.” 

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