Post-primary students with Down Syndrome will be offered equal access to summer provision this year – a decision that has been warmly welcomed by local parents.
The government announced a turnaround on the special education scheme today to ensure all students with Down Syndrome would be eligible.
This is the first year that students with Down Syndrome have been offered places on the scheme. The traditional July Provision catered for children with a severe/profound intellectual disability or autism. This year it has been expanded to include 5,000 more children of different needs, to prepare them for the reopening of schools in the autumn.
There was huge disappointment when it first emerged that students with Down Syndrome at post-primary level were not eligible.
Yesterday’s government announcement is expected to benefit an additional 670 children.
Gina Grant, spokesperson for Donegal Down Syndrome said: “We welcome this news. We hope teachers are willing to work with students eligible and are rushing to avail of the educational program. We are asking them to reach out now and let us know their availability.
“We would assume the application process is the same and principals need to sign a paper to prove eligibility into the program.
“The program means all students with Down Syndrome in primary and post primary are treated equally in receiving 10 teaching hours a week for 4 weeks.”
The expanded programme for Summer Provision 2020 is made up of a school-based strand and a home-based strand. It is being offered to approximately 15,000 children and 4,000 children will be participating in the programme across more than 240 primary schools.