Classes for second level students with autism to open in Cork town 

There will be an initial intake of six students later this year, with another six students scheduled to start in September 2023.
Classes for second level students with autism to open in Cork town 

Katie Gould, who along with other parents was involved in a campaign last year to create school places for children with autism at second level in the town, said she is thrilled her son Charlie has been offered a place.

THE news that Le Chéile Secondary School in Ballincollig will be providing autism classes, starting in September, has been warmly welcomed.

The co-educational secondary school, established last September, has received approval from the Department of Education for two ASD classes. There will be an initial intake of six students later this year, with another six students scheduled to start in September 2023.

Le Chéile principal Nicola Barrett said it is “fantastic” news.

“We sent out letters of offers last week,” she said. “It was great to finally have the ASD class sanctioned. It is fantastic news. We are very grateful to the department for prioritising this as well as giving us substantial accommodation for the mainstream school as well.”

Ms Barrett said they are looking forward to welcoming the new students.

“It is fantastic news for the locality, the kids, and the parents. It means an awful lot to the six families. I think there was a massive sigh of relief from a few of them.

“We are delighted to be able to welcome them to a classroom they need, deserve, and are entitled to.

“It is great to be the first secondary school in Ballincollig to open an ASD class. We hope the others will follow suit because it is something that needs to be the norm and Ballincollig is a huge town.

“We have been sanctioned two classes. We are opening one which is enough to facilitate this year’s crew, so we are deliberately keeping the second one for the following year to meet the need of next year’s sixth class students.”

Katie Gould, who along with other parents was involved in a campaign last year to create school places for children with autism at second level in the town, said she is thrilled her son Charlie has been offered a place.

“We got an email last week and it was such a relief,” she said. 

“We are very happy. It is great news for our family and the five other families.”

She said Charlie will benefit hugely when he starts in the new ASD class.

“This will give him the capacity to do better than just cope. It also gives us good security as a family.”

Ms Gould added that the news is very welcome but said she is conscious that other families in the locality are not so fortunate.

“More places need to be made available in the area for both primary and secondary school students. It is a good start with hopefully more places to follow.

“I am really conscious that we are lucky but there are others not in that position yet for both primary and secondary level.”

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