Monday 18 December 2017

Warning over cuts to school's autism unit

The autism unit at Scoil Mhuire in Coolcotts cannot take any more cuts in Special Needs Assistants, a Wexford councillor has warned.

The National Council for Special Education carried out a recent review at the school and parents and staff fear the worst as previous reviews led to a cut in numbers.

Cllr. Anthony Kelly (Sinn Fein) sa said the unit was reviewed in 2011 and six SNA's were axed and there were further cuts after a review in 2012.

'It was reviewed again last week and there are huge concerns that SNA's numbers may be reduced again,' he told a Borough Council meeting.

Cllr. Kelly said the Scoil Mhuire autism unit became one of the most successful facilities of its kind in the country, with 57% of pupils being integrated into mainstream education.

'Not a single child from the unit is integrating into the mainstream school this coming September,' he said.

'They have gone from 57% integration to zero in the space of two years.'

Cllr. Joe Ryan said a ceiling was placed on the number of SNA's that could be allocated nationally in 2010.

'I don't think anyone would want any child to go without access to an SNA.'

'To be fair to the Department, the cap on SNA's has remained the same since Ruairi Quinn took office,' Cllr. Ryan said.

Cllr. Kelly received unanimous support for his motion calling on the Education Minister to ensure there will be no further reduction in Special Needs Assistants in Scoil Mhuire.

Wexford People

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