Call to protect the education of homeless pupils

Call to protect the education of homeless pupils
A standard emergency accommodation unit for a homeless mother and two children at Edel House in Cork

HOMELESSNESS can have dire consequences for a young person’s education, according to a Cork TD.

Deputy Michael McGrath (FF) has called on the Department of Education to ensure that these circumstances have as minimal an impact as possible on a child’s education.

There are almost 4,000 children, out of 10,264 people in total, living in emergency accommodation across Ireland.

The Echo revealed in January that around one-quarter of primary schools in Cork have students who are homeless.

Figures from the Irish Primary Principals Network also showed that more than 11 students are homeless at one Cork primary school.

Twenty-three per cent of primary schools in Cork have at least one homeless pupil, while 16% have at least one student in direct provision.

Figures from a survey carried out by the IPPN, which is based in Cork, show that 27% of primary schools nationally have children in their school that are homeless.

Around 25 of the 128 Cork schools that responded to the survey claimed to have at least one homeless student, while three more said they have between six and 10.

A further five reported between six and 10 in direct provision, while 15 more said they have at least one in the same situation.

A Fianna Fáil motion was passed in the Dáil calling on the Government to immediately collect information on the prevalence of children experiencing homelessness who do not have access to additional support provided by the Department of Education and Skills.

It also urges the Government to establish a €5 million initial ring-fenced fund for schools to provide for the needs of children experiencing homelessness.

“Homelessness is a tragedy that affects every aspect of a child’s life, including their education,” said Deputy McGrath.

“We believe that the Department of Education has to make special provision to ensure that the impact on a child’s education is minimised.”

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