PLANS have been unveiled for a new special school to be established and the expansion of existing special class and special school capacity in Cork to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs.
Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD today announced a significant expansion of special school provision in Cork.
A new special school will be established during the 2022/23 school-year in Rochestown which will provide for the enrolment of children and young people with autism and complex learning needs up to 18 years of age.
While places will be provided for all children who have no offer of a special school place for the 2022/23 school year, it is estimated at this stage that 30 places will be required initially.
Priority will now be given to those children and young people who currently do not have an offer of a school place for next September.
Planning for the establishment and opening of the new special school will begin immediately.
The new school will be located on an interim basis in Rochestown in a premises expected to become available in early 2023.
Minister Foley said:
“I want to thank all the parents, schools, patron bodies, and other stakeholders in Cork for their ongoing engagement with the Department and with the NCSE.
Minister Foley continued:
“Discussions will continue with patrons to finalise the patronage arrangements for the new special school. I know that the additional capacity announced will be a welcome relief to the families who do not have a school place for next September.”
Minister Madigan said:
“I am particularly delighted to have secured agreement for the opening of a new special school in Rochestown for the benefit of students and families with additional needs in Cork.”
Additional special school places are also being provided in Carrigaline Community Special School, St Killian’s Special School, Mayfield, and St Gabriel’s Special School, Bishopstown.
Carrigaline Community Special School, which was established in September 2021, will expand by 16 places to an enrolment of 48 for the 2022/23 school year.
As part of a major capital investment in St Killian’s Special School, Mayfield, which will ultimately deliver a large number of additional classrooms with associated multi-sensory and living skills areas, enrolment has already commenced for 18 additional places for September 2022.
A major refurbishment project is currently underway in St Gabriel’s Special School, Bishopstown which caters for children and young people with severe and profound learning disability and those in this category with associated autistic spectrum disorder.
This project is expected to deliver additional capacity in the 2022/23 school-year.
The Department is also considering the overall special education placement requirements of the Cork area including locations for special school provision on the eastern side of Cork City.
In this context, the Department will continue ongoing discussions with patron bodies to identify a patron for the new special school in Rochestown, and an announcement will be made shortly.