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For Oral Answer on : 13/02/2024
Question Number(s): 99 Question Reference(s): 6380/24
Department: Education
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Education to provide an update on the establishment of a special school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.

(Details Supplied) A special school in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.


Enabling children with special educational needs to receive an education is a priority for this government. It is also a key priority for me as Minister for Special Education & Inclusion, for my department and for the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

The vast majority of children with special educational needs are supported to attend mainstream classes with their peers. Where children with more complex needs require additional supports, special classes and special school places are provided.

In 2023, my department spent over €2.6 billion on special education and further progress will be made this year as an additional €113 million will be dedicated to providing supports for children with special educational needs.

This includes funding to support children with special educational needs in mainstream classes; funding for new special classes and new special school places; additional special educational teachers, special needs assistants (SNAs) and funding for the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).

In 2024, the number of teaching and SNA posts in our schools will increase with an additional 744 teachers and 1,216 SNAs added to deliver up to 2,700 new places for children with special educational needs. This will mean we will have over 41,500 qualified and committed people in our schools who are focused wholly and exclusively on supporting children with special educational needs.

The NCSE has the responsibility for planning and coordinating school supports for children with special educational needs.

Over the last number of years, my department and the NCSE have introduced a number of strategic initiatives to plan for and provide sufficient special class and special school places.
These initiatives are bearing fruit with almost 1,300 new special classes sanctioned and seven new special schools established over the last four years.

My department engage intensely with the NCSE in relation to the forward planning of new special classes and additional special school places. This forward planning work is well underway ahead of the 2024/25 school year. This work involves a detailed review of statistical data in relation to forecasting demand for special class places, an analysis of available school accommodation, consideration of improved data sharing arrangements and a particular focus on the provision of special classes at post-primary level.

As a result of this forward planning, two new special schools have been established for this current school year in Cork and Dublin, with further capacity being expanded in 11 other special schools.

In December 2023, I was also very happy to announce with my colleague Minister Foley, the establishment of a further four new special schools for the 2024/25 school year in Enfield, South Kildare, Gorey and Limerick. This will bring to 11 the number of new special schools established in recent years.

Along with the two new special schools opening this school year, 390 new special classes – 254 at primary and 136 at post-primary level – have been sanctioned by the NCSE for opening this current school year.

The Special School referred to by the Deputy is under the patronage of Cork Education and Training Board (ETB). It has been established in interim accommodation with Scoil Chlíodhna Community National School pending the provision of permanent accommodation. Reconfiguration works have been completed in the building to facilitate the commencement of the special school.

The school opened one class on 15th January and a 2nd class on 22nd January. The school is progressing the recruitment of the remaining teaching and SNA staff. Recruitment for teachers has been continuously ongoing in recent months.  Interviews are scheduled for the coming days for the current competition.  The school has initially enrolled 18 pupils for this school year. This is the third special school under the patronage of Cork ETB.

Parents seeking special class or special school placements for their children are advised to contact the NCSE locally so that their needs can be taken into account for planning purposes. The local special educational needs organisers (SENOs) remain available to assist and advise parents of children with special educational needs. Parents may contact SENOs directly using the contact details available at:

My department will continue to support the NCSE and schools through the provision of the necessary funding and capital investment to ensure all children are successful in accessing an education.