Gary Gannon TD

Changes to Special Education Teaching allocations will have a devastating impact on children with additional needs, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.

Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s education spokesperson, said:

“The decision by the Department of Education to completely remove children with complex needs as a criteria for the allocation of Special Education Teaching (SET) hours is dangerous and completely illogical.

“The purpose of SET hours is to provide extra teaching supports to children who require additional supports in schools. For years, these hours have been allocated based on a combination of factors – including the number of children with complex needs in a school.

“Removing the number of pupils who require – and are legally entitled to – extra educational supports from the criteria for allocating extra educational supports makes absolutely no sense. Moreover, it is detrimental to the education, wellbeing and development of children with complex needs.

“Schools were first made aware of the upcoming changes by a leaked document last Friday evening which indicated that many were about to have their SET hours slashed. This week, schools are facing the very real prospect of losing permanent teachers, while parents and children fear that vital supports will be taken away from them.

“I am now calling on the Minister for Education to carry out an immediate review of this shortsighted decision, and for a comprehensive explanation as to why complex needs will no longer be taken into consideration.”

February 8, 2024

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