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Cuts to special education teaching allocations will not wash says INTO Congress 19/04/17

Cuts to special education teaching allocations will not wash says INTO Congress

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Press Release

Irish National Teachers’ Organisation

INTO Congress 2017 in Belfast

At the INTO annual Congress in Belfast today, primary teachers demanded an assurance that there would be no cuts to special education teaching under the new model of provision set to be introduced this September.

Delegates made it clear that industrial action is on the table should this new model result in a reduction of resources to schools.

The Department of Education has given a commitment that no school will receive a lower allocation of teachers for special education in September. It also says that allocations to schools will remain in place for two years.

Allocations under the new model are determined by a combination of baseline allocation, complex special educational needs, achievement, social context and gender in schools.

However, primary teachers voiced their concerns about cuts to allocations after this two year period. Speaking to the motion Mary Conneely from Drogheda Branch said she believed the model was being introduced to legally cut teaching allocations to pupils with special needs in the future. She said it was not underpinned by experience of working in the special education sector.

“Its introduction over a period of time is designed to disguise the detrimental effect it will have and to blind us to the actual reductions it will mean for schools – a bit like putting a lobster in the freezer but it still ends up in the boiling water.”

Aisling Frawley from Ennis said schools could not rely on the HSE to have reports on children ready on time.

Ambrose McGinity called for watertight legal safeguards for teachers principals and boards. He said teachers should not accept a wishy washy compromise and should withdraw co-operation from the model if concerns were not addressed.

Mary Callan Brady from Castleblaney Branch told delegates that the gathering of standardised test information by the Department of Education and Skills was never intended for the allocation of teaching resources to schools. She said tying testing to resources was a dangerous trend that teachers should fight.

Mary Clancy from Dublin demanded that the INTO ensure that schools experiencing improvements in children's teacher should not experience a reduction in the staffing that delivered those improvements. She said this would be a disincentive for improvement.

Doreen Sheridan a language support teacher from Donegal condemned the exclusion of language support from the new model. She said children with language needs deserved support.