Standoff over places for children with special needs
A standoff over school places for children with special needs continues with a fresh instruction from Education Minister Joe McHugh to Dr Diarmuid Martin to open special classes in six primary schools under his patronage.
It is the first test of new schools admission legislation.
The matter has come to a head in the fast-growing suburb of Dublin 15 where there is a severe shortage of school places for children with special needs for the upcoming school year.
The Department of Education this week sent letters to six schools and their patron, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, advising that they should each open at least one special class for children on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Each class would cater for six pupils.
The schools are Scoil Bhride Boys NS, Blanchardstown; St Patrick's Junior NS, Corduff; Scoil Nais Mhuire Sois, Blakestown; Scoil Mhuire Senior NS, Blakestown; Ladyswell NS, Mulhuddart; Mary Mother of Hope, Junior NS, Clonee.
The statutory notices are the latest in a series of steps that kicked off earlier this year when a shortage of 88 places for the 2019/20 year was identified in Dublin 15.
Initially, the department wrote to 22 schools about the need for more special education provision, leading to engagement with the school communities.
However, a further statutory notice is being served on these six schools and their patron, who have 14 days in which to make representations.