Announcement will come as a huge relief to children with SEN and their families

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 Government today that they are targeting a return to school for primary students with special educational needs on a phased basis from Thursday, January 21st.

The announcement came following a meeting between Government and education stakeholders today and ongoing engagement with the above organisations, and impacts special schools, primary special classes, and students with SEN in mainstream primary classes.

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

“We very much welcome the announcement by Government today that they are targeting a return to school for primary students with special educational needs on a phased basis from Thursday, January 21st. The announcement will be a huge relief to children with SEN and their families, and impacts special schools, primary special classes, and students with SEN in mainstream primary classes. We are grateful to Ministers Norma Foley, Josepha Madigan and Anne Rabbitte for their ongoing engagement on this issue, and to the unions representing school staff for working hard to find a resolution in the best interests of vulnerable children and their carers.

“We await the further details on issues like capacity, hours and clear timelines and look forward to further engagement with Government to clarify these.

“We need the focus to shift now to getting secondary students with SEN back to school, and to ensuring students with SEN who can’t attend in-school services due to medical issues are catered for and supported at home.”

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