Disabled children's groups denied say in allocation of teachers
on 16/09/2013 00:00:00
It was set up by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) after it highlighted difficulties with the allocation system to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn in May. In June, he reversed planned cuts to resource teaching time for children with more severe special educational needs.
At the same time, he announced the group would be chaired by NCSE chairman Eamon Stack.
"Parents and advocacy groups will be on that working group," he said.
One version of his press statement, in which he also announced Cabinet approval for 500 extra teachers to effect the u-turn, is still up on the Government's news website Merrionstreet.ie.
"The group, which will include parents and advocacy groups will begin its work immediately," it says.
But his own department's version reads: "The group, which will include parents, will begin its work immediately."
The 14-member group was to have reported to Mr Quinn this month with initial proposals on a new method of allocating resources, but will not do so until early October. It has already met NCSE special educational needs organisers (SENOs), the Health Service Executive, individual parents, teachers and principals (three separate meetings), school management bodies, the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) whose staff assess children's needs, and Department inspectors.
Further meetings had yet to be confirmed, but it will also meet this week with union officials, representatives of the deaf education sector and with advocacy groups, the latter scheduled for an hour-and-a-half to two hours tomorrow.
The NCSE said it could not respond to questions until this week on why advocacy groups were left out of the working group, or whether it was on the instructions of the Department of Education.