Talks on special education needs ‘must intensify’

Sinn Féin TD for Roscommon/Galway Claire Kerrane has written to the Minister for Education urging that she reconvene negotiations immediately with workers representatives to ensure the return of in-school supports for children with special educational needs as soon as possible.

Deputy Kerrane said: “I have spoken to many families of children with special educational needs who are understandably incredibly frustrated at this time. They were hopeful given the Minister for Education’s promises last week that their children were to be supported during this difficult time and have been left extremely disappointed when that did not happen.

“Unfortunately, any plan that didn’t include the whole school community, staff and families in the discussion was not going to work. It is frustrating for these families that the government had the time to put in place a Plan B for special education and did not do so, which meant a plan was cobbled together over the course of 48 hours.

“Children with additional needs are the cohort that missed out the most when schools closed last spring and were among the greatest victims of the last lockdown.

“The focus now must be on ensuring that engagement with workers representatives happens urgently. In my view, there is a desire among those working in special education to return to school provided that this can be done safely”.