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(Ireland) SPED classes increased from 548 to 1,621 in seven years in DUBLIN

Aug 24, 2019, The Journal: Six schools told to offer more special education places by Minister MINISTER FOR EDUCATION Joe McHugh has told six schools in Dublin to provide more critically needed special education places. … With schools set to return next week, hundreds of pupils across Ireland have yet to be given a place. … In May, McHugh wrote to 22 schools in the Dublin 15 area to request they give serious consideration to a request to open special classes. … Figures from the Department of Education and Skills show that, since 2011, the number of special classes in mainstream schools has increased from 548 to 1,621 for 2019-2020 school year. Campaigners, however, have consistently voiced concerns ahead of this school year, saying that hundreds of children with autism and special needs are without appropriate school places ahead of the school term. Earlier this year, autism charity AsIAm published a survey which found that, while the problem is most acute in Dublin, there are cases all across the country. The survey found 313 of the 1,000 families who participated had a child without a school place, not attending school due to a lack of suitable school space or due to a lack of support, or because they were on a reduced timetable. … In a statement today, McHugh said: “I am deeply conscious of the stress and anxiety facing parents and their children as we work to secure more places. It is a priority issue for the Department”. He said that he would prefer if children were welcomed into school without the need for legal compulsion. However, McHugh added: “The Education Act provides for a very transparent series of steps which can ultimately lead to the issuing of a direction to a board of management requiring it to make additional places available. The issue of the notices to the six schools today is another step in that process.” “I am determined to do my utmost to ensure every child is allocated a suitable school place,” McHugh said. “It is my hope that this issue be resolved in this area in the coming weeks.”…
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