Wednesday 21 March 2018

Poorer special-needs pupils 'receive less help'

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

PUPILS with special educational needs from middle-class backgrounds continue to receive more support at school than those from working-class areas.

It may be because parents who can afford it are paying for private psychological assessments, which can speed up access to the supports they need.

A variation in the level of resource teaching available to pupils is highlighted in a breakdown of allocations in a number of Dublin suburbs from next September. It shows that in two middle-class areas, Dublin 6W and Dublin 14, on the southside of the city, there is an allocation of one resource teacher hour per 6.5 children.

However, in Dublin 17, covering an area of severe disadvantage on the northside of the capital, there's an allocation of one resource teacher hour per nine children.

This is despite the fact that higher levels of learning difficulties are usually associated with working-class areas.

Labour TD Aodhain O Riordain, a former primary principal in Dublin's north inner city, said schools with access to private psychological assessments appeared to have greater resources than schools dependant on the state-funded National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).

Mr O Riordain said there was a serious problem with the current system of resource allocation.

Irish Independent

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