Expansion of July provision scheme
Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy has welcomed the recent announcement that the Department of Education is to run an expanded summer scheme to meet the needs of children with additional educational needs.
The Summer Provision will be available to a wide range of students with severe to moderate needs, autism, Down syndrome, and children with audio and visual impairments. The scheme will be available both through participating schools and in the home. DEIS schools will also have the opportunity to run literacy and numeracy camps.
“We are all too aware, the impact which school closures have had on pupils with special educational needs in particular. Many families have been struggling without any respite, caring 24/7 for children with special needs and we do not realise the huge strain and pressure on families. Many pupils will have regressed and lost a lot of valuable groundwork so there is clearly a need to stop and address the learning loss which is taking place.
“I have been contacted by many families who had great difficulty even contacting the Department of Education and they were constantly met with answering machines so it is most welcome that we now have clarification and I particularly welcome the expansion of the scheme to a broader range of students than in previous years.
“A number of elements will require further detail in the coming days including how this will take place in the classroom setting and the willingness of schools to participate. This information needs to be provided as soon as possible.
“The Minister has talked about this scheme being made available to 24-25,000 pupils. I hope that the scheme which has been announced achieves this objective.
“In terms of schools reopening in September, I believe, as Fianna Fáil has said many times, that there is scope for NPHET to further examine the advice provided by the WHO which we know is at odds with our guidelines. I am hopeful that this will develop in the coming weeks and that the risk assessment announced by the Minister is completed without delay. Students, their parents and teachers all need better clarity,” concluded Senator Murphy.
Senator Murphy is available for interview or further comment on 087 166 8775.