Update July 7th:

New Ministers in the Department of Education and Skills Norma Foley and Josepha Madigan announched the summer scheme would now include children with Down Syndrome who attend second level schools. You can read their press release here

Update June 15th:

We had a great information session on the Facebook Page today. The video is still in place, if you would like to view it pop over to the Facebook page. The notes from this morning are here and they include links to further information on the Department of Education and Skills website and the registration.

Update June 12th:

The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, TD announced a comprehensive ‘summer program’ to include most children with disabilities. There is a home based program, a school based program and also a HSE led ‘day respite type’ of program. There is also a program for at risk young people. For more information read here

Update: June 10th:

Minister McHugh made a statement in the Dáil today on July provision. Full details will be available about July Provision this year on June 12th. Inclusion Ireland will host a Facebook Live information session on June 15th. The Minister stated the scheme would be open to children with Down Syndrome, children in danger of education regression and the usual cohort of children. There will be a home and school based scheme.

Update: June 8th.

After our meeting with the Department of Education and Skills on June 4th, the following press statement was release by Minister McHugh on June 5th. The statement confirms that a ‘summer program will go ahead for pupils with disabilities; it will be home and school based; all children who preciously qualified can access the program and all children with Down Syndrome will be able to attend. There is no mention of children with mild or moderate intellectual disabilities. “The programme would be reliant on schools, teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) choosing to participate.” stated Minister McHugh. Inclusion Ireland welcomes this change of direction and will seek further assurance that all children with intellectual disabilities can attend.

Inclusion Ireland today (June 4th) attended a briefing with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) on a ‘summer program’ for children with disabilities. In pervious years this was July Provision.

The DES indicate that the home based scheme will be extremely limited this year.

The DES has said that they hope to finalise details on a school based scheme in the coming 10-14 days. This scheme, as proposed will not be as broad as previous years. The DES say only

children attending special schools or classes will be able to attend the ‘summer program’ in 2020. They cite public health guidance.

The DES has not yet got a firm commitment from schools, teachers or SNAs to operate the program.

The HSE have run a ‘respite led’ summer program for many years and will continue this in 2020, hopefully in special school.

Inclusion Ireland has made it known to the DES that this proposal is bordering on being discriminative in nature and will be challenged as such. It goes against all previous calls to widen the scheme to include all children with disabilities. Inclusion Ireland will be writing to the Minister to demand the scheme includes all children with disabilities as they will have been out of school for almost 6 months by the time they go back in September.

We will keep you informed as the details of the scheme become clearer.

Our previous survey which the Minister has makes it very clear that home education is not working for most families, especially where the person has a complex learning or behavioural need

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