The announcement of a new enhanced Summer Programme for students with special educational needs and those facing disadvantage is good news for Cork students, a Fine Gael Councillor has said.
Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed an announcement from Minister for Special Education Josepha Madigan for the provision of expanded summer education programmes for pupils with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage, as a Covid-19 pandemic response measure, for summer 2021.
Up to €40 million in funding will be available for the programme, a 100% increase on the allocation for summer provision in 2020.
Councillor John Paul O’Shea said “This is a great announcement for students with complex needs in Cork. 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.
“Fine Gael in Government is determined to support students with additional needs and their families. We know that education is vital in ensuring that every child can reach their full potential. Funding for this year’s programme has increased by 100% to €40 million which clearly demonstrates our commitment in this area.
“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. The programme will include students in special schools and special classes, as well students with complex needs in mainstream classes.
“I encourage all schools in Cork to avail of this opportunity for the benefit of local students with complex needs who need it most,” Councillor O’Shea added.
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:
- Numeracy and literacy camps in DEIS primary schools.
- School-based summer programmes in primary schools with special classes and special schools.
- Home based provision for children with complex needs where no school-based programme is available.
- All primary schools (DEIS and non-DEIS) have the opportunity to provide a two-week summer programme for mainstream pupils with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage.
- All post-primary schools (DEIS and non-DEIS) have the opportunity to provide a two-week summer programme for mainstream students with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage
Announcing the programme, Minister Josepha Madigan said: “This is an important announcement for young people with additional needs and young people facing educational disadvantage. It is the largest summer programme there has ever been and for the first time, every student with complex needs across all primary and post-primary schools will be eligible to take part. This is something that I have sought to put in place, and I welcome the decision to make this expanded programme a reality.
“Having visited schools hosting summer programmes in previous years, I have seen first-hand the positive benefits that it brings. This summer, all students in special schools, special classes, and those with complex needs in mainstream schools will be eligible to participate in a summer programme. This is the first time that all schools will be eligible to host a summer programme and I urge all schools to do so. It is a very worthwhile and valuable opportunity for young people.”
Further details on the schemes and how schools can apply will be made available over the coming period at gov.ie/summerprovision.