Minister must intervene in changes to the assessment of needs process
Labour education and justice spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has demanded that the Junior Minister for Education Josepha Madigan reverse the decision on the changed assessment of needs process for primary school children.
Calling for the Attorney General to carry out a review of the legality of shifting responsibility from the HSE to school principals, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said ultimately children will be put at further disadvantage as a result of this decision.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“Minister Madigan must immediately halt this decision and start again. The decision to shift the responsibility as carrying out the assessment onto teachers and principals rather than fully qualified educational psychologists shows a Minister totally out of touch with the needs of children with additional needs.
“The Disability Act (2005) is very clear – the responsibility to carry out an assessment of children’s needs is with the HSE and is to be completed within six months. We know that the HSE hasn’t been able to keep up with the demands, however the school community cannot continue to pick up the services other State bodies are failing to deliver.
“Teachers and principals are exasperated at this latest announcement from the Department. Announced out of the blue last Thursday, teachers feel that they are not adequately trained for the new responsibility.
“There is a real risk here that the State is leaving itself open to legal action from parents. The AG must review the decision and determine the legality of what the Minister has dumped on teachers and principals.
“Labour leader Ivana Bacik raised this with the Taoiseach today such is the level of seriousness. School communities can’t be abandoned and children must be given every support they need.
“All children deserve a fair start and an education system that supports and uplifts them. That is Labour’s aim – to build an education system that works for children, families, teachers and communities. This decision must be reversed to give every child an opportunity to thrive in the education system.”