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Additional 60 school places for students with additional needs in Dublin Bay South area a welcome development – Geoghegan

3 June 2021

15-Minute City requires all schools to be inclusive

Sixty additional special class places created for the coming school year in the Dublin Bay South area will help meet demand for children who require additional supports, Fine Gael bye-election candidate James Geoghegan has said.

Councillor Geoghegan visited Star of the Sea Boy’s National School in Sandymount with Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan.  Minister Madigan’s Department has announced the allocation of 60 additional class places for children with additional needs in schools in Dublin 2, 4, 6 and 6w for the 2021/2022 school year, including Star of the Sea.

Cllr Geoghegan said: “I am delighted to join Minister Madigan to visit Star of the Sea in Sandymount to talk to staff there and see the fantastic facility which will welcome students in the coming year.

“The postcode of a child who has additional needs in Ireland should not be relevant, but unfortunately sometimes it has been.

“Delivering a 15-minute city in Dublin means that every child should have a place in their local school within a 15-minute walk or cycle from where they live.

“Approximately 60 additional special class places are being created to meet local demand in parts of my own constituency, which is positive.

“It is so essential that we strengthen inclusion in our education system to benefit all students, and ensure our children have the support to learn and grow in order to reach their full potential.

“I know this is something the Government and Minister Madigan are firmly committed to, demonstrated by an additional 990 SNAs to support the expansion of special classes and backed by funding of €2bn which was secured for the special education budget this year.

“All schools will also be eligible for the Summer Programme this year making the scheme available to approximately 81,000 students, up from almost 23,000 last year with a funding increase of €20 million last year,” Councillor Geoghegan concluded.

Minister Josepha Madigan said: “It is vital that young people have access to an education that is appropriate for their needs. That is why we are committed to increasing the number of special classes available across the country, particularly in parts of Dublin where there has been a longstanding shortage.

“Since 2011, the number of special classes in Ireland has increased by 386%. This year we will have an additional 1,600 special class places across the country, and 2,118 special classes in total. I want to thank all the parents and schools who have worked together to make this happen. We know that even more places will be needed over the coming years and I am determined to ensure they are delivered.”