Announcement is positive signal – but remaining hurdles must be cleared urgently

Four leading advocacy organisations representing students with additional needs and their carers, Down Syndrome Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, AsIAm and Family Carers Ireland, have welcomed the announcement by Fórsa that they will advise SNAs to co-operate with the phased resumption of in-school services to children, pending a number of safety measures being undertaken.

Speaking following the announcement, a spokesperson for Down Syndrome Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, AsIAm and Family Carers Ireland said:

“We welcome the announcement by Fórsa today that they will advise SNAs to co-operate with the phased resumption of in-school services to children, pending a number of safety measures being undertaken. This is a significant step in the right direction, but there are more hurdles to clear before we see our schools re-open for children with additional needs.

“Today’s announcement is a positive signal, and the onus is now on the Government to re-double their efforts to clear the remaining obstacles standing in the way of re-opening schools for students with special educational needs.

“Parents need a clear timeframe on when they can expect in-school services to resume. We have all heard the detrimental impact these closures are having on children with special educational needs in the past week, and it is incumbent on everyone to do everything possible to alleviate the pressure on families. We must see an urgent return to school for all children with additional needs, particularly those attending special classes and schools. Families must immediately see a range of supports and options put in place to meet the needs of children with additional needs at this challenging time.”

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