Kids behind the Cuts started in Dalkey School Project NS when a group teachers and parents met to raise awareness on the repeated reduction of support for school children with special educational needs.
Since September 2019, the Kids behind the Cuts team actively worked on formulating a mission statement that seeks to persuade government to create The Right Inclusion Model for Every Child.
The campaign for The Right Inclusion Model for Every Child calls for the State to provide for the rights of every child to an education. To respect the rights of all of our children, sufficient resources must be provided to those who have special educational needs. The Proclamation of our Republic promises to ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’. Under the current model, inadequate resourcing means that children with additional needs are not guaranteed their right to equal access to education.
We assert that The Right Inclusion Model for Every Child must include;
- SNA allocation to match the needs of the children
- Transparency in the Process:
- There are currently not enough SNAs in the system to match the needs and the appeals process is not fit for purpose. Based on school figures we have gathered to date, of the 129 reapplications, appeals and new applications made since May 2019, only 4 applications or appeals have been successful with 0.5 of an SNA post being granted equating to just 0.125 per application.
- The proposed General Allocation Model cannot match the needs going forward, given that current needs are not being met. Furthermore, the NCSE cannot know what number of SNAs is sufficient when schools are no longer to apply and parents are not to get a diagnosis. There will be no concrete information to inform accurate figures. SNAs are being allocated by budget rather than by need.
- Meaningful consultation with schools, parents and children’s advocacy groups is necessary to inform the right inclusion model.
- Multi-Disciplinary teams: Immediate removal of waiting lists for Assessment of Need to ensure timely, appropriate access to multi-disciplinary services. This will require considerable increases in staffing and resourcing of the various services.
- Options for children and their families: To have options of placements in mainstream school, special class within a mainstream school, and special schools according to each child’s needs.