The deadline for applications for special needs in schools needs to be extended according to Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue.
He has described the deadline for applications as being “unfair and unrealistic.”
As it stands, schools have only until Friday week to apply for resource hours and Special Needs Assistants they will need for the year. Any child with disabilities that has not been assessed in time will have to go the full school year without the support they need, according to McConalogue.
“It is simply unreasonable to expect that the needs of all children in the school system can be fully and correctly assessed within three weeks of the new school year, particularly given the significant increase in the school going population this year. I believe it does not give teachers anywhere near enough time to evaluate all children in their class, especially those who are new to the school,” said Deputy McConalogue.
He added that the current deadline puts enormous pressure on teachers and parents.
“In many cases, a child’s special needs will not become apparent for a few weeks after they and their class have settled into the new school year. But by that time, it will be too late to apply for additional supports and that child will have to wait a full year before an application can be made. Not only will this have potentially serious consequences for their development, it could affect the entire classroom environment,” he said.