Dáil Éireann - Volume 506 - 03 June, 1999

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

92. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the need for a full-time remedial service at St. Nicholas of Myra national school, Malahide Road, Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14799/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The school in question currently has access to a remedial service on a shared basis.

My priority is to ensure that all schools, which are currently without a remedial teaching service, will have access to the service with effect from September 1999. Arrangements to put this extension of service into place are currently being made in my Department.

I assure the Deputy that the needs of St. Nicholas of Myra national school will be fully considered in the event that additional resources become available to improve existing remedial services.

93. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of pre-school places for children with special educational needs on Dublin's north[135] side; and if an official of his Department will be appointed to receive details of any child in need of placement in order that parents may be assisted and an accurate assessment of need built up. [14800/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): My attention has not been drawn specifically to a shortage of pre-school places for children with special educational needs on Dublin's northside.

In 1998, I held a national forum for early childhood education. My objective in holding the forum was to allow all groups with an interest in the area of early childhood education to put forward their views as to how best to co-ordinate and support the future development of services in this area.

[136] The report on the outcome of the forum has now been received in my Department and is being considered as part of the preparation of a White Paper on early childhood education, which will set out the Government's proposals for future development of services in this area including services for children with special needs.

In advance of the White Paper, I recently announced an allocation of £1.2 million for special initiatives on early education. My intention is that this funding will be focused in particular on the development of early education services for children with disabilities.

Details of any child in need of placement should be forwarded to the special education section of my Department where the necessary follow-up action will be taken.