A new school in Wexford for children with extra needs will be one of four in Ireland to be established next year.
The announcement of the new schools for Wexford, Limerick, Kildare and Meath was made earlier today.
It's understood that each new school will be established in time for the next school year, according to the Education Minister.
Minister Norma Foley says the government says it will work hard to ensure that all four new schools will have the right resources ready to go in time for September 2024.
The schools will cater for young people with autism and complex learning needs up to 18 years of age.
The new schools are set to be located in Gorey in County Wexford, Limerick City, Enfield in County Meath, and in the South Kildare area.
There is concern surrounding their staffing as schools around the country are facing a recruitment and retention crisis with many teaching roles not being filled.
"We absolutely want to make sure that when we open a new school, or indeed even a special class in a mainstream school, we want to make sure that they're fully resourced. There's no point having a building where there are no children in it in the first instance, or second of all, children who don't have either the devices and equipment that they need or indeed their SNA or special education teacher, so we want to make sure that we provide all of that for them," Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan said.
A Red C and ASTI survey conducted earlier this year found that three-quarters of schools received no applications for a teaching post that had been advertised.
81% of principals admitted that they had hired an unqualified teacher that school year.
Welcoming the news, Minister James Browne explained that the new special school will be provided in Gorey to help Wexford families get the support they need.
"I know how influential a special school can be on the life of a child with additional needs and their family. Today’s announcement will have a major knock-on benefit for so many families. The delivery of a third special school in County Wexford proves the Government’s commitment to helping families, including those families that have children with additional needs. This new school will complement St Patrick’s Special School in Enniscorthy and Our Lady of Fatima in Wexford Town,” he said.
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