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(Ireland) Summer program for disabled grows 18% in one year

Oct 17, 2022, Irish Examiner: Government planning to expand summer programme for children with special educational needs

The Government has said it will know by the end of next January how to expand the summer programme for children with complex special educational needs.

Education Minister Norma Foley and the minister of State for special education and inclusion, Josepha Madigan, said next year's €40m [$39M] programme will reflect the growing number of children seeking to avail of it.

However, the summer programme has previously been criticised as not being extensive enough. Last July, Disabilities Minister Anne Rabbitte said that Ireland needed to look at a ‘Maltese model’, where children with special educational needs continue attending school for the entire summer and suggested using trainees in different therapies to help keep routines for students with the most complex needs through summer programmes, previously known as July Provision.

In announcing the latest programme, Ms Foley and Ms Madigan said for 2023 it is a priority that more children in special schools have access to a school-based programme.

More than 45,000 pupils participated in the summer programme this year, with over 1,000 schools running a programme — an increase of approximately 18% on the 2021 numbers of participating students….

Ms Madigan said the level of provision had increased in recent years, but added: “I am aware, however, that parents want this to be available in more schools in 2023, so I am very pleased to be able to announce the funding for a summer programme for 2023 at the earliest possible opportunity."

Minister of State for special education and inclusion, Josepha Madigan and Education Minister Norma Foley. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos


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