Nearly 1,000 students with learning difficulties who sat their Leaving Certificate exams in 2014 were denied support from the Department of Education, new figures from the State Examinations Commission show.
Students with a specific difficulty with reading, writing or spelling, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, as well as those with physical conditions, are entitled to apply for help with their examinations under the SEC's RACE scheme.
In the last three years, the number of students denied special accommodation rose by 37pc.
The corresponding figure for 2013 was 894, while in 669 students had applications for a reader rejected in 2012.
“[This] did not happen by accident. It was a deliberate policy on the part of the Government to cut the funding available to cut down on the cost of examinations,” said deputy Fleming.
Adding: “They have been reduced to tears and their parents are helpless… [these] students are afraid to sit their examinations because they are being deprived of a facility of which they were able to avail in their junior certificate examinations.”
Where a student has a reading difficulty, a reader may be provided.
The range of provisions available to exam candidates include the use of a special examination centre, brailled and enlarged papers for visually impaired students, access to word-processors, tape or voice recorders, and exemptions from components of language subjects.
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