Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr Jack Chambers
13 November 2015
Minister pulling wool over the eyes of parents – Chambers
Dublin West Fianna Fáil Councillor Jack Chambers has accused the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of parents of children with special education needs.
According to Cllr Chambers, a host of questions have arisen over the Minister’s proposed new system for allocating Learning Supports and Resource Teaching to different schools, which need to be answered. Under the proposed system, allocations are to be based on the socio-demographic characteristics of a school’s catchment area and standardised tests, rather than the professionally assessed special education needs of children in the school.
“This new system of allocating teaching resources will be a disaster and will deprive children with assessed special education needs of essential education supports. Learning Supports and Resource Teaching allocations should be based on individual pupils’ needs, not the characteristics of the geographical area in which their school is located.
“Should this system be introduced next year, as the Minister is proposing, many schools will face major reductions and pupils with existing learning supports will have to do without,” he said.
“This is a senseless system, with no link to pupils’ actual needs. The medical equivalent would be if access to care was determined by where an individual is from, rather than on their clinical need.
“Nobody thinks that the current system of allocation for resource teaching across schools is acceptable. There are serious inequalities, whereby schools with pupils from wealthier backgrounds tend to get significantly higher resource and learning support allocations than schools with children from less well-off backgrounds.
“The system should be reformed by raising the boat for all, not by ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ as is being proposed with this senseless system,” added Cllr Chambers.
“The Minister should put resources in place to reduce waiting times for public assessment, with priority given to schools in disadvantaged areas, and put in place sufficient numbers of resource teachers as dictated by the level of need.”