Jan 22, 2022, Irish Examiner: Parents feel as if they're 'falling off a cliff' over lack of special needs school places https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40791006.html
Parents and children in Cork feel “as if they’re falling off the edge of a cliff” making the jump from primary to secondary school when it comes to those with special education needs, a local TD has claimed. Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Pádraig O’Sullivan told the Dáil that figures provided to him by the National Council for Special Education “details comprehensively the issues we are having in Cork city and county, primarily suburban Cork”. “That correspondence details that at primary school level, all but one primary school, a school in Midleton, were full in terms of autism spectrum disorder, ASD, provision,” he said. “The same was true for villages such as Berrings, a relatively small village on the western side of Cork city. For Blackrock in the city centre itself, Grenagh, or whatever other village one wants to mention, this correspondence details the same thing, namely, that in the whole issue of special education, the lack of places is quite stark.” The most important figure provided by the NCSE is that 193 primary schools have ASD provision for students and only 70 are available at post-primary level. The issue is more acute at second level, with areas such as Glanmire, Ballyvolane, the Glen and the entirety of the north side of the city at capacity. “The most important figure provided by the NCSE is that 193 primary schools have ASD provision for students and only 70 are available at post-primary level,” Mr O’Sullivan said. “There is nearly a 3:1 ratio of ASD provision in primary schools compared to secondary schools.” In response, Education Minister Norma Foley said the Government is investing in special needs education across the country, with the number of classes having increased significantly in the last decade…. She said a new special school in Carrigaline has increased the number of places for this school year, with more to be brought on stream next year…. Separately, it was confirmed to Mr O’Sullivan via parliamentary question that the Department of Education has agreed in principle with Cork City Council to purchase a site at Brooklodge in Glanmire with a view of making it a new special school.