The Department of Education announced this week that while additional resource teachers will be made available for the new academic year, schools will in reality face a 10% cut to resource teaching allocation. Independent Dail Deputy for North Tipperary and South Offaly, Michael Lowry has criticized Circular No. 00037/2011as published by the Department of Education and Skills as “confusing and illogical”.
Deputy Lowry stated that the Government was misleading the public in the way that this news was delivered.
“This circular and the subsequent press release from the Department of Education try to portray this announcement as positive news by peddling a line about bringing on stream more resource teachers. In reality schools who currently receive teaching hours for special needs students will now receive just 90% of the hours they previously had and will be expected to educate the same number of pupils in this reduced time. In fact this circular penalizes those schools who have most supported and adapted to those with special needs.”
Deputy Michael Lowry has called on the Government, and particularly on Minister Ruairí Quinn to clarify the position being taken with regard to the provision of resource teachers for the coming school year.
“I have been inundated, for the past number of days, with calls from concerned parents and schools following the publication of this circular. They simply do not understand what it will mean on a practical application. The Department has stated that hours will be cut to 90 per cent in the hopes that the remaining 10 per cent will be allocated to late applicants for resource teachers. It is not clear where they have gotten this figure from or whether some or all of this 10 per cent will be used. I am joining with the INTO and the Special Needs Parents Association in calling on the Government to reconsider any cuts to special needs education. It is unacceptable that such a vulnerable group who have already experienced significant cut backs should face such an uncertain future.