“Available in a number of schools across Ireland, this announcement will no doubt come as a relief to the over 500 students with special needs, who wished to be educated in a mainstream schools. Of the 88 primary and post primary schools to benefit nationally, 17 schools in Cork will offer the additional classes.
“I have long been a supporter of inclusive education as part of a continuum of provision for those of varying abilities. Such classes are designed for those with specific needs who can benefit from being part of a main-stream school, but need a low student-teacher ratio due to specific needs and challenges like Autism or Speech and Language Disorder.
“I commend the hard work and dedication of all the teachers and principals who are accommodating this realisation of inclusive education. Most of all, I support the determination of the parents of these children and the courage of the children themselves to embrace the challenge of mainstream education and fulfil their potential.
“This determination is recognised by Labour in Government and the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, has allocated 15% of his budget, totalling €1.3billion, to the provision of special needs education alone.
“The list of special classes per county is available on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie.”