Published: Tuesday, 10th September, 2013 3:00pm
Ten new classes for children with special needs are to be established this month in four primary and three secondary schools in Offaly.
Offaly primary schools included in the announcement made by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) on Sunday are Scoil Bhride in Edenderry, Portarlington Convent, Daingean NS and Scoil Mhuire in Tullamore.
Post primary schools to get new classes are St Mary’s Secondary School in and Oaklands College in Edenderry, as well as Gallen Community School in Ferbane.
Welcoming the news, Labour Senator John Whelan said 118 classes to be established nationwide as part of the announcement will create pathways for children with special needs to be catered for in mainstream education.
“They will have a lower pupil-teacher ratio than mainstream classes, with one teacher for six to eleven students,” Senator Whelan explained.
“These classes will cater for over 700 children with special needs in 113 mainstream primary and post-primary schools. When all of these classes have been rolled out nationally, a total of 5000 children with special needs will be catered for in mainstream schools.”
Over the last three years special education classes have been expanded by 50 per cent. Senator Whelan commended Education Minister Ruairi Quinn for working with the NCSE to enhance and upgrade the education system.
“Following his visit to Tullamore earlier this year I look forward to continue working with him also in expediting the new school building programme at Tullamore College which is long overdue, but is now making steady progress towards construction,” he added.