Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 17 February, 1999

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

164. Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the refugee support service for the children of programme refugees, which has been of great assistance at Scoil an Chroí Ró Naofa Íosa, Huntstown, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, has been terminated. [4533/99]

165. Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Minister for Education and Science if the services of a further resource teacher will be provided to Scoil an Chroí Ró Naofa Íosa, Huntstown, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, to support children academically, particularly in the learning of English. [4534/99]

[1262] Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 165 together.

The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced a major new initiative under which all children assessed as having special education needs arising from a disability will henceforth be entitled to an automatic response to those needs. The response may take the form of resource teacher support or special needs assistant support, or both, depending on the needs of each individual child.

The special educational needs of pupils attending Scoil an Chroí Ró Naofa Íosa, Huntstown, will be considered in this context. The school authorities should contact the school inspector and provide him with all relevant information on the special educational needs of the children concerned.

The visiting teacher scheme for providing tuition to cater for the language needs of students from refugee families has been revised resulting in the termination of the provision in most of the individual schools concerned. I expect to be in a position in the very near future to announce details of a new scheme to help the authorities of national schools, which have enrolled substantial numbers of non-national pupils with English language deficits. The posts which were available on the former scheme will be redeployed and a substantial number of new posts will be created for the new scheme. The appointees to this new scheme will be attached to specific schools and will not operate on a visiting teacher service basis.