Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Sean Fleming has criticised the Government for overseeing a significant cutback to support services for Leaving Certificate students with special needs.
Deputy Fleming raised the matter in the Dáil today after obtaining figures that show approximately 1,000 students with special needs have been denied access to a reader for the Leaving Certificate.
“Traditionally the State Examinations Commission has provided Leaving Certificate students who have special needs with special support to help them undertake their exams” said Deputy Fleming.
“Many of these students suffer from dyslexia and as a result have a difficulty in reading examination papers. The purpose of the support scheme is to help remove as far as possible the impact of the disability on the student. The reader does not help the student to answer the examinations questions. Instead he or she just reads the questions to the student so they understand the questions being asked.
“I have obtained figures from the State Examinations Commission that show that 914 students were refused a reader under the scheme last year. The number of refusals is significantly up on the 2012 figure when 699 students were denied access to a reader. It is deliberate policy on the part of the Government to cut the funding available to cut down on the cost of examinations.
The Government has slammed the door in the faces of those that need additional support to undertake their exams. Students are afraid to sit their examinations because they are being deprived of a facility of which they were able to avail of in their Junior Certificate examinations.
The Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan must reverse these cutbacks and ensure the impact of a disability does not stop students from achieving their full potential” said Deputy Fleming.