Two Cork schools are set to protest over the lack of special needs support outside the National Council for Special Education in Mahon on Monday.
Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers in Farranferris and St Patrick’s National School, Gardiner’s Hill have complained about the shortage of Special Needs Assistants (SNA) in Cork.
The Gaelscoil has just one SNA for four children with special needs.
“We have four children in the school diagnosed with special needs who all need a full-time Special Needs Assistant (SNA),” said school principal Adrian Breathnach.
“The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) have basically told us that’s not possible and we’ll need to make do with just one SNA for four children, that they’ll have to share the SNA.
“That’s absolutely diabolical,” he added.
“These children range from junior infants all the way up to sixth class, all with different special needs, and they’re expecting our SNA to maybe spend an hour and a half with one child in one class and then move onto another.
“They can’t do that, these children need full-time assistance.
“Psychologists are constantly telling us that, the importance of one on one full-time assistance.
“The government are telling us the whole time that we’re getting hundreds of new SNA’s but they’re actually slashing them behind everyone’s back.
The school actually lost one SNA in the summer of 2018, when it had three children in need of full-time assistance.
Another student was diagnosed as needing an SNA in December.
“We now have four children who need full-time SNA’s but they’re still saying no, that we can’t get one,” said Mr Breathnach.
“It’s having a major impact on the children and their parents.
“These children need an SNA, they won’t have a fair education and be able to progress through the system without one,” he added.
“Enough is enough for us and the board of management.
“We’ll be in Mahon on Monday at around 3.30pm in a bid to raise awareness of these issues and to hopefully get something done about it.”
“St Patrick’s in Gardiner’s Hill are in the same situation and I think they may come with us.”