Sunday 19 November 2017

Pupil (6) 'left to sit in his own excrement'

Brian McDonald

A SIX-YEAR-OLD child was forced to sit in class in his own excrement because of cutbacks in special needs assistants (SNAs) in schools.

An assistant located in another part of the school had to be asked to change the child, shocked delegates at a trade union conference were told yesterday.

Social worker Frances Griffin told the IMPACT delegates that following cutbacks last year, the number of SNAs and the hours they worked had been slashed.

Ms Griffin said she knew of one national school in a disadvantaged area in Dublin where cuts had been having a very significant effect.

One class of 28 six-year-old boys included two children who were assessed as having special needs, while many of the other pupils had severe behavioural problems.

Ms Griffin said: "The children have lost a vital lifeline to participation in the class. The SNA is only in the class from 9am to 11am for those three days. Outside of that time, because one of the children is incontinent, he has to sit in his own excrement until an SNA from elsewhere in the school can be located to come and change him. Where does that leave the dignity of the child?"

Delegates unanimously adopted a motion opposing any cuts in SNA numbers.

Irish Independent

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