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Saturday 20 September 2014

Children take school SNAs petition to the steps of Dail

Published 18/06/2014 | 02:30

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Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Fine Gael deputy for Dun Laoghaire with the Children from the Dalkey School Project-Educate Together who brought petitions to retain their special needs assistants to Leinster House yesterday.

PRIMARY schoolchildren visited the Dail to urge the Government to halt plans that will make it harder for those with special needs to get extra help.

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Teachers and pupils from Dalkey School Project National School protested against government moves to increase the red tape around getting Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) for pupils with physical or behavioural needs.

The students handed in thousands of letters and petitions to TDs Mary Mitchell O'Connor and Richard Boyd Barrett to pass on to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

Principal Miriam Hurley said the school had lost a quarter of its SNA staff since last year and the new rules would mean a child had to be shown to be already failing in the school before an SNA would be considered.

"We want to raise awareness that there is a real risk of children not having equal access to education because the new procedure requires a long and lengthy paper trail before a school will even be considered," she said. Mr Quinn has insisted there are no cuts to SNA provision and a circular sent to schools merely clarifies the circumstances under which an SNA will normally be provided.

Irish Independent

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