19 Aug 2022

Longford senator lauds €2bn boost to special education sector

Micheal Carrigy

Fine Gael Senator Micheal Carrigy has welcomed the anticipated recruitment of 1,000 special needs assistants

The recruitment of almost 1,000 special needs assistants and other supports in Budget 2021 will ensure children and young people receive the support they require, it was claimed this week.

That insistence came courtesy of Longford Fine Gael Senator Micheal Carrigy who said the additional resources directed towards the education industry could not have been more timely.

“Covid-19 has presented huge challenges for our education sector and our teachers, SNAs and many more across the sector have gone to extraordinary efforts in ensuring that our children could return to school this autumn,” he said.

“Budget 2021 will allow Government to invest a record allocation of €2 billion in funding to support children and young people with special education needs.

“This will provide for the recruitment of 990 additional SNAs provided dedicated support to students with additional needs. Over 400 additional teachers in the area of special educational needs will also be recruited.

Senator Carrigy said the allocation would bring the total number of SNAs in schools to 18,000 with budgetary measures providing for additional special classes and the further rollout of the School Inclusion Model.

“The overall budget for education this year has increased by €400 million to €8.8 billion, with DEIS schools and primary and post-primary schools in Longford benefitting from new investment.

“This increase is in addition to the significant financial supports already being provided to support schools to remain open during the Covid-19 crisis.

“There is also a further reduction in the staffing schedule at primary level by 1 point to 25:1 through the provision of over 300 mainstream teaching posts.

Aside from funding being set aside for special education, the Ballinalee postmaster was just as bullish about the increased financial clout which had been earmarked for other sectors of the industry.

Among them included a €50m fund to aid full time third level students in recognition of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 as well as supports for post-graduate students in a bid to make it easier for them to access Susi grants.

“Budget 2021 also contains €120 million for skills including extending the apprentice scheme and giving cash payments to businesses, 50,000 further education and training places and the extension of the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme.

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