Budget 2023: Josepha Madigan seeks additional funds for more places in special schools

Junior Secretary of Special Education Josepha Madigan says she is fighting for additional funds to open more special classes and places in special education for children with additional needs.

Although there has been a significant increase in special classes and special school places over the past decade, every year there are families who struggle to find a suitable place for their child.

This school year there is a record 2,535 special classes in mainstream primary and secondary schools, an increase of 383 classes and 2,312 new places over the previous year. In total, they look after around 15,759 students.

But the ongoing hardships parents are facing prompted emergency legislation in the summer that gave the minister stronger powers to force a school to open a special class and allow the National Council on Special Education (NCSE) to do one to allocate a school place for a child.

Dublin and Cork were identified as the areas with the greatest lack of space for September, but the problem was more widespread.

A spokesman for the minister said places had been secured for all children known to the NCSE.

Ms Madigan told an NCSE conference today that she is fighting for an increase in special education in the ongoing budget negotiations.

“I feel there is a dynamic right now about special education in Ireland and we need to do everything we can to ensure that every single child has access to a place in school,” she said.

She said her “top priority” is to increase the number of special education and special class places across the country and to ensure those internships are adequately funded.

“We have made significant progress in this regard in recent months, particularly in Dublin. But another of my top budget priorities is to ensure the NCSE has an increased resource base to help children find the right place in school.”

Ms Madigan said that as part of the budget process, a detailed business case had been presented to increase capacity at the NCSE, which she said is “a priority to ensure the NCSE can meet its commitments and maintain a level of service as it expands Vicinity”.

https://www.independent.ie/business/budget/budget-2023-josepha-madigan-seeking-extra-funding-for-more-special-school-places-42005204.html Budget 2023: Josepha Madigan seeks additional funds for more places in special schools

Fry Electronics Team

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