Local TD Denis Naughten has called for immediate action from Government to address the crisis situation where 11 local children are set to leave primary school in the next two weeks with no provision made for their secondary education in September.
“Despite Minister Josepha Madigan assuring me four weeks ago that these local children would have access to an autism-specific class, their parents have yet to receive any details of where they will be going to school,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Where parents have been told that the school place is up to 100km away, they have been provided with no details of how their child is to get to school and who is going to pay the astronomical fuel bill these families are now facing.
“The lack of secondary school places for children with autism in Athlone and South Roscommon will force 11 students to travel up to 150,000 km over the next school year because of the failure to provide autism classes in schools any nearer than Glenamaddy in County Galway. So much for climate change and so much for helping families with the cost of living,” said Denis Naughten in the Dáil this week.
“Four weeks ago, the Minister of State told me she was meeting with the NCSE the following day and that she was going to bring up the crisis situation in Athlone and South Roscommon. She told me that the NCSE was confident it would meet the demands for special class places and special school places for this September in both Roscommon and Athlone, and that there would be sufficient capacity for those children from September this year.
“But to date not one of the parents has been contacted or has heard anything from the Department of Education.
“These children should be entitled to an education in their own town along with their schoolmates and their brothers and sisters and I don’t think it is too much to ask,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Editor’s Note: Link to the Dáil debate: https://denisnaughten.ie/2022/06/15/local-autism-places-update/