Dáil to debate FF motion to reverse 12% cut to resource teaching hours
I am appealing to the Government TDs in Kerry to oppose another dramatic reduction in teaching supports for children with special needs. The Dáil is to debate a Fianna Fáil motion this week, calling for a full reversal of upcoming cuts to resource teaching hours. and I am urging the Fine Gael and Labour Deputies in Kerry to do the right thing and ensure that this damaging cut, which will hit every school in the constituency, does not go ahead.
Under a decision taken by the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, resource teaching hours for children with special needs will be slashed by a further 12% from September. This will affect every primary and secondary school in the county.I have spoken to many parents and teachers of children with special needs in Kerry who are really struggling to understand how the government can justify this decision. It’s the third consecutive cut in resource hours, down overall by 25% since June 2011. Not only is there a profound impact on children with special needs, the entire classroom environment suffers. No amount of spin can hide the government has deliberately targeted children with special needs for cuts this September. The Minister for Education has seen fit to increase mainstream teacher numbers to cater for the increase in the student population. But at the same time he has decided to cap resource hours and special needs assistants. The result is that the thousands of children here in Kerry who are in need of special support in school will see a cut in that support when school starts back in September.
I am calling on all the government TDs in Kerry to do the right thing in the Dáil this week and support our calls to have this cut reversed. They have an opportunity now to stand up for local schools and the most vulnerable children in our school system by ensuring that this cut does not go ahead.