19th June 2013 - Special needs cut ‘regressive and damaging to society’, says IPPN

The latest cut to special educational needs teaching resources is regressive and deeply damaging to education and society, according to the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), the professional body for primary school leaders.
Seán Cottrell, IPPN’s Director, said 'fewer resources, bad Government decision-making and rising numbers of children with special educational needs are combining to directly target the most vulnerable children in our schools'.

‘This cut is the latest move to unpick the decision 14 years ago which, for the first time, allocated resources specifically targeting children with special educational needs',  said Mr Cottrell. ‘The cut will deeply hurt the most vulnerable children in our schools, their families and teachers. Some schools will suffer cuts much greater than 25%. This is a clear decision to target those children most in need of support. It contravenes the spirit of the Proclamation which pledged to “cherish all the children of the nation equally”, he said.
IPPN believes the move will exacerbate the chronic shortage of resources in primary education, and make the commitment to inclusion impossible to implement.
There is a huge sense of disappointment, annoyance and bewilderment among teachers and principals at the relentless scaling back of services to children most in need. The Government’s call for schools to use small groups and team teaching to cope with the cut shows how little understanding it has of special educational needs. These needs are often varied and need to be treated individually. Putting children with different needs together for group support is in direct conflict with special educationals needs best practice.
‘Schools are already having to do more with less. We fully appreciate that resources are fewer than they were, and the country’s economic circumstances are bad. But, the Government still has choices when it comes to public investment. Cutting back on special educational needs resources is very regressive. It will have far-reaching consequences for our shared future,’ said Mr Cottrell.

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