East Galway TD Anne Rabbitte has called on the Minister for Education to clarify the status of the July Education Programme, also known as the ‘July Provision’.
The July Provision provides funding for an extended school year for children with a severe or profound general learning disability or children with autism.
But with the curtailing of the school year, parents now need to know what the position is regarding the scheme, the Fianna Fáil TD has said.
Parents of children with special needs have contacted the TD, expressing concerns that without this scheme, there will be no structure or routine in their children’s lives until September when the schools are expected to return.
“While I am the first to advocate that we adhere to the public health guidelines, England has set out a roadmap to some schools and children returning to classrooms in June,” said Deputy Rabbitte.
“I believe the Department, the Government, and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) must give guidance on whether the school year can be extended to accommodate students who fall under the July Provision scheme in some way, even if this means the scheme being pushed out to August.”
She added that if this is not feasible, other options must be considered.
“I appreciate home schooling may not be suitable this summer if we cannot see schools return, but the scheme needs to be altered accordingly.
“For children with special needs routine is so important.
“Like almost everyone of us, routines have been broken up since March 12th when the first public health guidelines were introduced.
With a final decision yet to be made – I am urging Minister McHugh to consider all alternatives which may see parents and children avail of this scheme,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.