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(Ireland) 'Thousands of children travelling long distances simply to get a school place'

Nov 30, 2022, RTE: Dept begins review of special needs education

The Department of Education has begun a review of the legislation that provides for education for children and young people with special educational needs.

The Education for Persons with Special Needs Act 2004, often known as EPSEN, provides for the education of children aged under 18 with special educational needs.

The department said the purpose of the review is to ensure the legislation on education for students with additional needs is up to date, fully operational and reflective of the lived experiences of students and families.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Minister of State Josepha Madigan urged anyone with an interest or involvement in special education to make an online submission….

She said all children with additional needs have been catered for this year and strategic forward planning initiatives have been put in place to deal with future demand….

There is nothing special about wanting your child to access education in their local school, she said.

Ms McDonagh said there are some schools that support all children in the community and vindicate children's rights. However, many more are not, she added.

She highlighted the case of one father who applied to 30 schools for his child who has an intellectual disability.

Ms McDonagh said that thousands of children are travelling long distances simply to get a school place because their local school is not accepting them. "We wouldn't accept it for a child without a disability," she said.

""There would be absolute uproar, for example, if a child without a disability was travelling an hour-and-a-half to get to their school and to access the right education, but that's happening for disabled children every day."


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