INTO President commends teachers supporting 34,000 pupils in Summer Provision & FAQs reminder

INTO President Joe McKeown has commended members participating in this year’s summer provision programmes.

The Department of Education recently announced the provision of expanded summer education programmes for students with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage for summer 2021 as a COVID-19 response measure.

Under the expanded scheme, pupils with complex special educational needs and those who are at the greatest risk of educational disadvantage will have access to an enhanced summer programme of education.

Indicative figures from the department indicate that more than 34,000 pupils will benefit from 1,346 school-based schemes run by nearly 1,000 schools this summer – an increase of 161% on last year.

This includes 230 DEIS literacy and numeracy camps, more than 400 programmes run by special schools or special classes as well as 466 inclusion programmes at primary level.

INTO President Joe McKeown said:

I really want to thank all of the teachers who are involved in summer provision programmes. It’s been a very long, very difficult and challenging year for everybody and, in spite of our best efforts, children with special education needs have struggled more than most.

There has been a significant increase in the number of teachers and schools that have engaged with summer provision again this year, up 161% based on last year, providing support to at least 34,000 students. It’s clear the teachers of Ireland have stepped up once again, something they have done time and time again over the last year.

The INTO’s commitment to children with special educational needs predates the pandemic and will continue long after it. We are calling on the Government to honour its commitment to invest in special education and to increase the supports that are available to schools. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

The summer provision programmes aim to support pupils to re-engage with education, build their confidence, increase their motivation, promote wellbeing and – for some who are at key transition stages – help to ensure they can move on to their planned educational placement next September along with their peers.

The INTO made representations to the Department of Education in recent months to ensure that their proposed summer programmes for this year would have more favourable terms and conditions for members who wish to volunteer to work as teachers or overseers.

The revised programmes this summer reflect many of the INTO’s demands including paid preparation time, reduced administration, increased funding, appropriate support and guidance materials, improved pay and quicker processing of pay claims.

Where the school-based programme is not available for pupils with complex needs, the home-based programme will continue to be available.

Members are reminded that information on each of the elements of the 2021 summer programmes is available via our Covid Hub updated informational page on Summer Programmes 2021. This includes an FAQ section which has been devised based on queries received from our members over recent weeks. The Summer Programmes 2021 section was recently updated to include a comprehensive FAQs on Home-Based Summer Programme 2021.