Five special need pupils in Newbridge may have school places

Due to start secondary school

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Email:

paula@leinsterleader.ie

Five special need pupils in Newbridge may have school places

Conor Fluskey with his mum Sinead, Kelly Semple with mum Cecilia, Josh O' Shea with mum Christine, Jason Farrell with mum Amanda,

Five out of the seven primary school children with special needs seeking a place at secondary level in Newbridge, may have secured a spot for next September.

The seven children are due to finish primary school at Scoil Na Naomh Uilig in June 2018, but to date none of these children had been able to secure an appropriate or suitable place locally.

Five out of the seven children, including Cecilia Semple’s daughter Kelly (12) have ASD — Autistic Spectrum Disorders — leaving them with complex and severe educational needs arising from their diagnosis .

“There has been some movement of the situation,” said Cecilia Semple.

“St Conleths Board of Management held a review regarding their enrolment policy towards cognitive ability in pupils attending their ASD unit, which will mean five of children may have a place there. The National Council of Special Needs Education are meeting with St Anne’s soon so hopefully that will be good news for the other two pupils.”

Meanwhile the Minister for Education will meet shortly with Kildare TDs to discuss the plight of seven primary school pupils with special needs from Newbridge, who at present, have no school place when they start secondary school next September.

An initial meeting to be held last week was postponed until all TD’s from Kildare can attend. The meeting with the Minister has been arranged by Dep Fiona O’Loughlin, who is also Chair of the Oireachtas Education Committee. She spoke about this situation in the Dáil last year and the Minister committed to meeting with her to discuss the matter further.

According to Cecilia the Minster wants to meet with all the TD’s from Kildare next week however the parents were not invited to attend.

Meanwhile a follow up meeting with the parents and the NCSE (National Council for Special Education), St Conleth’s and Ceann Comhairle, Sean O’Fearghail will take place this Friday.

“Things are definitely moving now,”she added.

“So hopefully this will be resolved not just for our children but for the children coming after them. This is to make sure all the schools stand up now and put ASD units in place,” she said.