Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne has called on Minister Richard Bruton to provide a firm commitment that no child with special education needs will lose resource teaching hours following changes announced this week.

Deputy Byrne said, “Minister Bruton has announced sweeping changes to the allocation model for resource teaching and learning support.

“However there are legitimate concerns over aspects of the proposed new allocation model which need to be addressed. There is concern that the new system gives an allocation of resource teaching hours to schools based on their catchment demographic and socioeconomic profile. It’s important that children with assessed needs are not deprived of resource supports.

“It’s critical that the needs of the child be front and centre. This new model of resource allocation, though undoubtedly well intentioned by the National Council for Special Education, takes the focus off the needs of the individual child.

“It’s also important that the new system does not distract from the need to deal with the glaring inequalities in accessing psychiatric assessment for children.

“We will be watching and studying this proposal very carefully. Our bench mark is the needs of the child. Fianna Fail requires a commitment that no child will lose support under the new system.

“Fianna Fáil received a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to facilitate a minority Government that the number of public assessment psychologists would be increased by at least 100. I will also be holding the Government to account on this promise,” concluded Deputy Byrne.