CALLS have been made by a Cork TD for the delivery of a special school in the North Cork area to ease the growing pressure on enrolment in schools throughout the region.
Following the confirmation this week that a special school is to be established in Carrotwohill for the 23/34 school year, Labour Party TD for Cork East Seán Sherlock said the Government now needs to deliver an additional school in North Cork.
“In recent weeks, there has been an increase in the number of parents contacting me. Where a child needs access to a special class, parents are being told by principals that schools do not have the places. In one case, a parent has tried Anglesboro, Ballygiblin and Mitchelstown, only to be told by three principals that there are no places,” he said.
Deputy Sherlock said a root and branch review needs to be conducted to take into the account the geography of the region.
"If places could be created for them, it would be welcome.”
Deputy Sherlock also urged the Minister for Education, Norma Foley to simplify Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENO) process for parents and principals. Mr Sherlock said the amount of red tape families face is too burdensome.
“Deputies have always had a relationship with SENOs and there was some level of local discretion. Notwithstanding the good work they do, there are not enough of them.
"For some reason, the setting up of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has created a new bureaucracy. One principal told me that she was up until 3am writing an appeal.
“The answer she received was that her school, which had a significant need, would be entitled to only a fraction of a whole-time equivalent. This technocratic system needs to be reviewed, if possible.
"We need more discretion. More common sense also needs to prevail as regards the provision of places for people who are under severe pressure,” he added.
The Department of Education was contacted for comment.