Schools protest at lack of special needs support

Schools protest at lack of special needs support
Parents, pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, Cork protesting about SNA cuts outside the National Council for Special Education offices in Mahon, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

DOZENS of teachers and parents from two Cork schools have staged a protest over the lack of special needs support for their kids. 

The protest outside the National Council for Special Education in Mahon was held by parents and teachers from Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers in Farranferris and St Patrick’s National School, Gardiner’s Hill, to highlight the shortage of Special Needs Assistants (SNA) in Cork.

Parents, pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, Cork protesting about SNA cuts outside the National Council for Special Education offices in Mahon. Picture Dan Linehan
Parents, pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, Cork protesting about SNA cuts outside the National Council for Special Education offices in Mahon. Picture Dan Linehan

The Farranferris gaelscoil has just one SNA for four children with special needs, all of whom are in different classes. “There’s only one SNA in the school which is a huge concern,” said Janet McCarthy whose six-year-old son Kai is in first class.

Ms McCarthy added: “He needs a full-time SNA, he relies on that support for his learning, motor and social skills.

“His education will go down unless the NCSE provide more support, he needs that support,” she added.

“We hope that the NCSE will reverse the decision because one SNA between four kids just isn’t enough.

“There might even be more kids diagnosed in the coming months and the SNA and school will be under even more pressure then. It’s not fair on the kids, parents or teachers who are having to deal with this.”

Ms McCarthy said the school would even be happy with just two additional SNAs as some of the children need part-time assistance.

Parents, pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, Cork protesting about SNA cuts outside the National Council for Special Education offices in Mahon, Cork. Included are Cllr. Mick Nugent, Cllr. Kenneth Collins and school principal Adrian Breathnach. Picture Dan Linehan
Parents, pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers, Cork protesting about SNA cuts outside the National Council for Special Education offices in Mahon, Cork. Included are Cllr. Mick Nugent, Cllr. Kenneth Collins and school principal Adrian Breathnach. Picture Dan Linehan

Principal Adrian Breathnach added his support, saying: “We have a letter of appeal that we’re going to hand into the NCSE and we’ll take it from there.

“We’re hopeful we can make enough noise to highlight this issue and get them to reverse the decision.”

Ms McCarthy said the parents, staff and students are all determined to fight for change.

“We will keep fighting until we get the support these kids need, it’s not right that they’re being left behind, said Ms McCarthy. “We want the NCSE to answer why our kids aren’t allowed access to the supports they need.”

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