All children with additional needs should have the supports that they need, when they need them.
With every announcement of a new Educate Together school – primary or secondary – comes phone calls, emails and social media messages on whether the school will contain classes for children with addition needs and/or an ASD unit. The stress and anxiety parents suffer is clear as they seek assurances that a school will finally open that will cater to the needs of their children.
Unfortunately it can be difficult to reassure them. With almost all new schools opening in temporary accommodation and with no obligation for additional needs provision in temporary accommodation, there is no guarantee that any new schools can make provision for the facilities needed by children with additional needs. Established schools also struggle to adequately provide resources for their pupils with additional needs.
All Educate Together schools work to provide the most learner-centred education possible for the students in our care. Whether it be a matter of space, staffing or other resources, schools must be able to guarantee an appropriate, safe and beneficial environment for children with additional needs.
Our school communities are at the front line of additional needs provision and experience first-hand the frustration, despair and hurt caused by lack of investment in additional education supports.
Educate Together is calling improved levels of support for children with additional needs; for appropriate and safe physical environments for special needs provision in schools; and for a fair and transparent policy regarding allocation of SNAs for children with additional needs.
Niamh Neville, parent of a student in Firhouse ETNS, gives a parent’s perspective on the consequences of inadequate Additional Needs Provision.