Mother speaks out about unfairness of summer school system for children with disabilities

July Provision is a programme for children with autism and disabilities to have an extended school year

But many teachers and SNA’s feel exhausted by the end of the year with just one third of special schools participating in the programme.

Amy O’Gorman from Ballincollig told the Echo that the school her 11 year old son attends is not running the programme due to staffing challenges.

Her son David, who is non verbal and a wheelchair user, attends St Paul’s School however the school says it had to take the difficult decision to stop offering July classes as they did not have enough available staff who were familiar with the children

Speaking to RedFM News, Principal of Scoil An Athar Tadhg in Carrignavar Marc Sheehan says they felt lucky that they were able to complete the programme:

“Majority of our staff were from our own schools, which was a huge advantage. And certainly,  I mean it is difficult to recruit staff in any circumstances at the present time and be a teaching resume staff because of Covid restrictions, we were very pleased with it but I think we were fortunate that our staff was from one cohort, generally.”

Speaking to RedFM News; Cork based teacher with the Department of Education Bébhínn Coleman, outlines why some staff are hesitant to sign up for the programme:

“Teachers like me on temporary contracts all year, we are not getting paid for the summer months, so I suppose we do it to have a job for the summer and then the fact that you’re not getting paid for doing July provision until November, sort of defeats the purpose so I suppose if you were paid a little bit sooner after completing the July Provision, you’d be less inclined to pick up another job for Summer, as teachers, I think that’s what generally people have to say about it.”

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