Brendan Smith: Everything needs to be done to ensure children with special needs have appropriate school placements

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has welcomed Government commitments to ensure that children with special needs have an appropriate school placement.

Depuy Brendan Smith, speaking in Dáil Eireann, commented, “The Minister for Education has brought forward legislation to put in place the structures to ensure no child is denied a place in an appropriate setting in school. I welcome the comments of the Minister of State that it is intended this legislation will work to support children with special educational needs to gain access to specialist class placements that can meet their needs.

“Having interacted over the years with the National Council for Special Education, NCSE, I welcome the recent appointment of the new chief executive, John Kearney, who I knew as chief executive of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board and who served as a school principal.” 

The Cavan and Monaghan TD continued: “I know that public representatives and Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board have worked together over the years to ensure we got those additional autism spectrum disorder, ASD, units, special classes and additional resources. Mr. Kearney has been in the classroom and has led an education and training board.

“The schools under the remit of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board show a great attachment to equality and diversity in their provision to ensure children who need that additional support are given it to the best extent possible. Over the years, we have seen a very significant growth in the number of units and special needs classes at different schools.”

Deputy Smith added: “I welcome the comments of the Minister for Education, Norma Foley that she, her Department, and the Minister of State, Deputy Madigan, “recognise the importance of inclusive education for all children”. She stated it is a primary objective of hers as Minister for Education “to promote and support actions that will ensure the school setting is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all”. She also stated that “providing for an appropriate school placement for every child with special educational needs in a timely and supported manner is a key priority for the Department and the National Council for Special Education”. It is very important that key priority and strategy is implemented.”