June 27, 2017, (Northern Ireland) Irish Times: Concerns over the ‘huge’ numbers of school suspensions--Pupils banned from class on over 13,000 occasions with 145 expulsions, committee hears https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/concerns-over-the-huge-numbers-of-school-suspensions-1.3136024 In particular, she said she was concerned at the number of boys aged 12-16 who were being suspended or expelled. Many, she said, were attending schools which were in receipt of extra funding and support. She made the comments at a meeting of a committee which heard a number of concerns over supports available for students with special needs. … “This is regardless of the fact the school might be full, the class is not suitable, or we might not be able to meet the child’s needs. This is particularly relevant if the child develops behaviours that challenge,” she said. “The more challenging they are, the quicker they are filtered down through the system to us.” Ms Dempsey said that while mainstream schools are considered beneficial for children with special needs, this is not considered the case for pupils with severe or profound learning disabilities. ... Ms Dempsey said mainstream classes with autism spectrum disorder units have access to the same grant to set classes up, along with the same staffing ratios, capitation and access to training and support. “We are expected to cope in the same environment with identical resources as our mainstream counterparts,” she said. “However we are obliged to take the most challenging [students], and often with several others who display behaviours in the same class, and those with lower levels of ability without additional supports or resources. This is unrealistic and is not working. … “The current model is unsustainable,” she said. Noreen Duggan, principal of Scoil Na Naomh Uilig, Newbridge, Co Kildare, also called on the Department of Education to provide guidelines and directions on the use of restraint when dealing with challenging behaviour in schools. “Every school, at some stage, has children who abscond or who present with severely challenging behaviour such as hitting, kicking, spitting, throwing rocks or equipment, damaging property, [or] trying to injure other pupils,” she said.