The following are our main points on the Education measures of Budget 2023 :

  1. Inclusion Ireland welcomes the reduction of class sizes to 23 to 1. We have campaigned for this and will continue to do so until class sizes are more in line with EU averages and can support Inclusion for all children.
  2. We are very concerned about the Special Needs Assistants (SNA) allocation. Although 1194 new SNA posts were announced , there are only a percentage going towards mainstream education. We need to get the balance right if we are to build towards an inclusive school model so that all children can go to school together.
  3. We also need to see more investment in therapy teams for schools to support children to access their right to education. We need to move beyond pilot programmes and into sustained investment in our schools so that children get the support they need in their local school.
  4. We hope that the announcement of funding for the National Council for Special Education and additional SENOs will mean that more children will be supported locally and that communication between schools, families and SENOs will improve.
  5. The further investment in the extended summer programme will go same way towards making up the access to education which was lost during the pandemic and we hope, with the timely announcement, that schools will be in a position to plan effectively so that the children who really need extra support accessing their right to education will get it.
  6. We welcome the announcement of the free books scheme. This will help children with disabilities whose families are under pressure financially.

Spokesperson for Inclusion Ireland, self advocate Emma Costello says “When I was in primary and secondary school I had great support from an SNA and it was really important and helped me to learn then when I went onto post leaving cert, my mother had to really fight for support for me. Having an SNA means that you know somebody has your back and will support you. Everybody should have the chance to be in the same school together. To do that in the right way we need the government and everyone to think differently about inclusive education so everybody gets the support they need, the way they need it and when they need it.”

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