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For Written Answer on : 21/11/2023
Question Number(s): 226 Question Reference(s): 50554/23
Department: Education
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Education the second level schools in east Cork that have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) classes; the number of students that can be accommodated in these classes in each school, respectively; if she is satisfied that the needs of all students from east Cork requiring ASD class places at second level are being met; her plans to further increase the number of places; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

I would like to thank the Deputy for the question and would like to advise the following:
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.


For 2023, the spend by my department on special education has been substantially increased by over 10% on last year, meaning that for 2023 my department will spend over €2.6 billion on special education. Further progress has been made in Budget 2024 where 26% of my department’s budget will be dedicated to providing supports for children with special educational needs, representing a 5% increase on Budget 2023.


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 2023, the number of teaching and SNA posts in our schools will increase with an additional 686 teachers and a further 1,194 SNAs and in 2024 a further 744 teachers, and 1,216 SNAs will be 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 recent 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, earlier this year, Minister Foley and l announced the establishment of two special schools in Carrigtwohill, east Cork and Dublin 7 for the 2023/24 school year, with further capacity being expanded in 11 other special schools.


Along with the two new special schools, 387 new special classes – 253 at primary and 134 at post-primary level – have been sanctioned by the NCSE for opening in the 2023/24 school year.


In Co. Cork, 75 new special classes have been sanctioned for opening in the 2023/24 school year, 51 at primary level and 24 at post-primary level, bringing the total number of special classes in Co. Cork to 495. The vast majority of these classes are autism classes which have a teacher pupil ratio of 1:6.


The attached document provides a breakdown of the 125 autism classes currently sanctioned at post-primary level in Co. Cork for the 2023/24 school year.  Planning for special classes and places in Co. Cork and nationwide is currently underway ahead of the 2024/25 school year.


Information on the list of schools with special classes, the types and locations of these classes is published on the NCSE website and is available at: www.ncse.ie/special-classes

As demand for new special classes at post-primary level is expected to increase significantly over the next few years, due to increasing demographics and increasing prevalence rates, my department and the NCSE have engaged with post-primary stakeholders in relation to the provision of special classes.


In October of last year, my department wrote to all post-primary schools to advise them of the need to begin planning to provide additional special classes. It is envisaged that all post-primary schools will be required to provide special classes over the next 3 to 5 years, with an approximate average of 4 special classes in each school.


The NCSE is committed to ensuring that sufficient special education placements will be available for children for this school year and future years.


Parents seeking special class 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: www.ncse.ie/regional-services-contact-list


My department and the NCSE are committed to delivering an education system that is of the highest quality and where every child and young person feels valued and is actively supported and nurtured to reach their full potential.

Post-primary Autism Classes County Cork 2023/24

 DistrictSchool NameAddress 1Address 2Total Number of Autism Classes
Cork CitySt. Aloysius SchoolSt. Maries of the IsleSharman Crawford Street Cork1
Cork CityPresentation Secondary SchoolJoe Murphy Rd.Ballyphehane2
Cork CityKinsale Community SchoolKinsale6
Cork CityColáiste MuireCrosshaven2
Cork CityColáiste Eamann RísSt. Patrick’s Road5
Cork CityColaiste Chriost RiCapwell Road1
Cork CityCork Educate Together Secondary Schoolc/o Griffith CollegeWellington Road3
Cork CityEdmund Rice CollegeCarrigaline3
Cork CityNagle Community CollegeMahonBlackrock3
Cork CityCarrigaline Community SchoolWaterparkCarrigaline4
Cork CityBandon Grammar SchoolBandonCo Cork2
Cork CityColaiste Na ToirbhirteArd AoibhinnBandon2
Cork CitySacred Heart Secondary SchoolConvent of MercyClonakilty1
Cork CityUrsuline Secondary SchoolBlackrock1
Cork CityKinsale Campus, Cork College of FETKilbroganBandon3
Cork CityClonakilty Community CollegeClonakilty2
Cork CityDouglas Community School, Clermont AvenueClermont AvenueDouglas2
Cork CityScoil Mhuire Gan SmalBlarney2
Cork CityNorth Monastery Secondary SchoolOur Lady’s MountNorth Monastery Rd.3
Cork CitySt. Vincent’s Secondary SchoolSt. Mary’s Road Cork4
Cork CityNano NagleFarranreeCork2
Cork CitySt. Patrick’s CollegeGardiner’s HillCork2
Cork CitySt. Aidan’s Community CollegeBallincollyDublin Hill3
Cork CityTerence Mac Swiney Community CollegeHollyhillKnocknaheeny2
Cork CityMayfield Community SchoolOld Youghal RoadMayfield2
Cork CountyDe La Salle CollegeMacroom3
Cork CountyLe Cheile BallincolligPowder MillsBallincollig2
Cork CountyMcEgan CollegeMacroom1
Cork CountyBallincollig Community SchoolInnishmoreBallincollig3
Cork CountyNagle Rice Seconday SchoolDoneraile3
Cork CountyPatrician AcademyMallow2
Cork CountyScoil na mBráithre ChríostaíBakers RoadCharleville2
Cork CountyDavis CollegeSummerhillMallow3
Cork CountyColaiste Pobail N MhuireStation Rd,Creggane1
Cork CountyBoherbue Comp SchoolBoherbueMallow4
Cork CountyMaria Immaculata Comm CollegeDunmanway1
Cork CountyColaiste Pobail BheanntraíBantry1