Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, has welcomed the decision to open a new special school in Midleton. The school will be operated by COPE Foundation on a temporary basis and will be located at the site of Midleton Educate Together NS at Market Green while a permanent site is sourced.
“Further to contact from parents of children with special needs, local school principals and principals of special schools, I have been working to highlight the need for a new special school for children in the East Cork area. I am very pleased that the Department of Education and Skills have decided, on the advice of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), to open a new special school in East Cork to meet the demand for special school places, particularly for children with autism (ASD).
“I understand that COPE Foundation will operate the new special school as a branch of Scoil Aislinn which caters for children with autism (ASD) and complex needs aged 4 to 18 years. The Department have committed to the staffing of the school to include a Deputy Principal, Teaching and SNA staff and have approved the premises at Market Green as a suitable start-up location while the permanent accommodation needs are being finalised. While this school may not be available for the first week in September I understand that Home Tuition will be offered to children until the school is open”, said Minister Stanton.
“The special schools in Cork are doing superb work providing education and other services to children with ASD and those with physical and intellectual disabilities. However, the rise in ASD diagnoses, in particular, in recent years means that these schools are no longer able to meet demand and parents have been contacting me raising concerns that the options available to their children may not fully meet their child’s special educational needs”.
“Another concern which has arisen frequently was that children were being required to undertake long commutes to special schools which can lead to stress and a negative impact on behaviour and learning. It has long been recognised by the Department and NCSE that best practice for children with ASD and other disabilities is for them to access education and other supports in their community. I am delighted that this new special school will mean that children with ASD and other intellectual and physical disabilities will soon be able to access appropriate education close to their homes.