Deputy Fergus O'Dowd.
Local TD Fergus O’Dowd has welcomed an announcement from the Minister for Education Josepha Madigan that up to €40 million will be made available for the summer education programme for pupils with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage.
This expansion of the budget is a Covid-19 pandemic response measure for summer 2021 and is a doubling of last year’s allocation.
“This is a very welcome announcement for students with complex needs” Deputy O’Dowd said, “many students and their families will welcome the opportunity to return to the classroom over the summer to benefit from additional support and routine after a very difficult year.
“For the first time ever, all schools will be able to host a summer programme, meaning that more students than ever before will be able to take part.”
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The programme will include students in special schools and special classes, as well as students with complex needs in mainstream classes.
The programme’s aims are to support pupils to re-engage with education, build their confidence and increase their motivation, promote wellbeing and, for some who are at key transition stages, help to ensure they can move on to their planned educational placement next September along with their peers.
All schools (primary and-post primary) are encouraged to provide summer programmes and the eligibility criteria have been extended to include post-primary children with complex needs and children at risk of educational disadvantage.
Prior to this expansion, summer programmes were only available to special schools and pupils in special classes in primary schools and DEIS schools.
Today’s announcement recognises the value of such school-based programmes for children with complex needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage in all schools.
A home-based summer programme will continue to be available for children with complex needs where their schools are not providing a school-based programme.
The five key strands of the programme will run as follows:
Further details on the schemes and how schools can apply will be available soon at gov.ie/summerprovision .
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