Special needs teachers

Deputy Seamus Kirk wants Government TDs in Louth to oppose reductions in teaching supports for children with special needs.

Deputy Seamus Kirk wants Government TDs in Louth to oppose reductions in teaching supports for children with special needs.

The Dáil is to debate a Fianna Fáil motion this week, calling for a full reversal of upcoming cuts to resource teaching hours. Deputy Kirk is urging the two Fine Gael TDs and one Labour Deputy in Co Louth to ‘do the right thing’ and ensure that this damaging cut, which will hit every school in the constituency, does not go ahead.

“Under a decision taken by the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, resource teaching hours for children with special needs will be slashed by a further 12% from September. This will affect almost every primary and secondary school across Co Louth,” explained Deputy Kirk

“I have spoken to many parents and teachers of children with special needs in my own constituency of Louth who are really struggling to understand how the government can justify this decision. It’s the third consecutive cut in resource hours, down overall by 25% since June 2011. Not only is there a profound impact on children with special needs, there is a knock on effect on the entire class.

“No amount of spin can hide the government has deliberately targeted children with special needs for cuts this September. The Minister for Education has seen fit to increase mainstream teacher numbers to cater for the increase in the student population. But at the same time he has decided to cap resource hours and special needs assistants. The result is that the thousands of children in this region who are in need of special support in school will see a cut in that support when school starts back in September.

“I am calling on all Government TDs in Co Louth the country to do the right thing in the Dáil this week and support our calls to have this cut reversed. They have an opportunity now to stand up for local schools and the most vulnerable children in our school system by ensuring that this cut does not go ahead,” said Kirk.