Patrick O’Donovan Fine Gael TD for Limerick has welcomed news that Newcastle West is to benefit from two new classes for children with special needs, opening this month.
Both Scoil Iósaf and the Desmond College in Newcastle West are to run new classes to accommodate pupils with special needs.
This follows an announcement by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) that 118 new classes for children with special needs are opening this month.
“I am delighted with the announcement this morning that Scoil Iósaf and Desmond College are going to be able to provide these new classes. Scoil Iósaf will run an ASD Early Intervention class and the Desmond College will run an ASD class. The provision of these classes will have a huge impact on the pupils and their families”, said Mr. O’Donovan.
These new classes are catering for over 700 children with special needs in 113 mainstream primary and post primary schools.
It will bring the total number of special classes to over 740 in mainstream schools nationwide catering for over 5,000 children with special needs when all classes are open.
“Education is being prioritised by this Government, within extremely limited spending options. In 2011, 33 such classes were created, and this was increased to 91 last year. The additional 118 classes opening this month means that 242 special classes have been created during the lifetime of this Government – a 50% increase in the availability of special classes”, he added.
Special classes in mainstream schools are one of the options available to parents of children with significant needs who cannot be educated in a mainstream class.
These classes have lower pupil-teacher ratios than mainstream classes, ranging from one teacher for six pupils to one teacher for eleven pupils.
The provision of these classes will mean that fewer children with special educational needs have to travel long distances to schools.