Educate Together CEO welcomes COVID supports, but says it is not enough for developing schools

Educate Together has welcomed the announcement today of additional supports for schools to address the impact of Covid on students. However, issues with the model of allocation, as announced, could mean that developing schools, which are newer schools that experience large enrolment increases each year, will again lose out.

Last March, school management bodies expressed serious concern about the negative impact the delay with re-profiling of schools for special education teaching is having on students in developing schools.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Educate Together CEO Dr Emer Nowlan said:

Schools have been very concerned about the impacts of Covid 19 on students – both in terms of the move to remote learning last year and in terms of ongoing infection control measures that can affect the quality of the school experience. Any additional resources to assist them in supporting their students at this time are therefore welcome. The flexibility for schools in using these resources is also welcome as schools themselves are best placed to understand the particular needs of their students.

Educate Together is calling for these new Covid resources to be allocated based on this year’s enrolment numbers:

These supports are for this year and should therefore be allocated based on this year’s student numbers. Developing schools have already been impacted by the decision not to review special education teacher allocations last year. These schools simply cannot meet the needs of all their students without these crucial resources.

Educate Together, along with other management bodies, have already highlighted problems with the review process for special education resources, which is too slow and too time-consuming. School leaders in developing schools are under enormous pressure, not only because of the inequitable allocation of special education resources, but also because of the staffing, accommodation and other demands of managing a growing school.

The needs of the most vulnerable children in our school system must be met in an appropriate, effective and timely manner. Educate Together is committed to working closely with the Department of Education to achieve this shared goal.