Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

11.04 9 Jan 2021


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In-class learning for students with special needs should resume "as quickly as possible", the CEO of the National Parents Council Primary has said.

Children in special classes and special schools will receive home tuition from Monday, the Minister for Education confirmed this week.

It follows the Government's U-turn on plans for students with special needs to return to the classroom next week.

Minister Norma Foley will meet with stakeholders on Monday to discuss the resumption of in-class learning.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh, Áine Lynch of the National Parents Council Primary said that homeschooling is not a viable option for vulnerable children and those with special education needs.

On the return to in-person learning, she said: "I think we want to see it happen as quickly as possible and I think there's a number of cohorts of children that we need to see this happen for.

"Clearly, there's children that have special education needs whether they're in special schools, special classes, and children who are in mainstream classes but also have special education needs need to be catered for."

Ms Lynch added: "The other group of children that we really need to make sure that we give in-school support for is children who are coming from vulnerable backgrounds and disadvantaged areas.

"These are the cohorts of children which homeschooling just isn't really working for.

"If you have a child with special education needs, trying to do remote learning is just impossible, it can't happen."

Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children's Rights Alliance, told the same programme that she understands why schools had to close but the Government needs to rethink its overall approach.

"The Chief Medical Officer was open to specific groups of children attending schools, he just wants to reduce the traffic," she said.

"We haven't put enough thought into how many different groups of children should be allowed go to school at this moment in time.

"We need to go back to the drawing board and look at who are the most vulnerable children, let's get the schools open for them now.

"Parents need to be aware that schools are safe," she added.

Main image: File photo. Credit: Monika Skolimowska/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

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