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Government Announce Schools Taking Part in Project bringing Specialised Therapists into Schools and Pre-schools

Specialised therapists will be working in 150 schools and pre-schools across the country from this September
Government focuses on linked up services and early intervention

The Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D. and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. and Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD., today (6th of July, 2018) announced the schools and pre-schools taking part in the first ever project to provide in-school and pre-school therapy services. The project will be managed and co-ordinated by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

This government is committed to ensuring that every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential. The model for this project has been developed by the Departments of Education and Skills, Children and Youth Affairs and Health and will complement existing HSE funded provision of essential therapy services.

The 150 schools and pre-schools selected are located within HSE Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) Region 7 which includes West Dublin, Kildare, and West Wicklow. The schools and pre-schoolswere chosen to be representative of the overall educational system and include settings in disadvantaged areas, large, small, urban and rural schools and pre-schools as well as those with differing special educational needs.

These schools and pre-schools will receive the support of 19 speech and language therapists and 12 Occupational Therapists. The NCSE will also recruit 2 National Co-ordinators to manage the project. €2.25m is being allocated to Phase One of the project in 2018.

Phase one of the project will focus on:

  • Early intervention and tailored supports.
  • Bringing specialised therapists into schools and pre-schools to provide tailored support to children.
  • Collaboration and greater linkages between therapists, parents, teachers and other school and pre-school staff.
  • Developing greater linkages between educational and therapy supports.
  • Providing professional training and guidance for school and pre-school staff and parents in supporting children’s therapy and developmental needs.
  • Maximising the participation of parents in their children’s communication development. 

Announcing the schools taking part, the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D., said:

“Parents always tell me that they would like to see a more joined up approach to delivering services that is tailored to their child’s needs. This model will bring together therapists and educational professionals who have until now often operated separately.

“Another crucial part of this model, is the focus on early intervention. Addressing an issue early on can have a transformative impact on a child’s progression. If we want to have the best education and training service in Europe, we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to give our children the best possible start in life.”

Announcing the pre-schools taking part, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone:

“Access to therapists is one of the biggest issues raised with me by parents.

“I am delighted to work in partnership with Government colleagues to deliver speech and language as well as occupation therapists in preschools and schools through this pilot. It is crucial that such access happens as early as possible which is why the involvement of pre-schools is key.

“It is my hope it will be a success and improve the lives of children, parents and families. We can then work to ensure it becomes the model for every school and preschool throughout the country.”

Minister Harris, said,

“Access to speech and language therapy at a young age can be life-changing for children in need of such intervention. This pilot will see more tailored in-school therapeutic supports, which will allow for earlier intervention and better outcomes.

“This government is committed to ensuring every young person is given the best opportunities in life. Earlier invention is key to this and I have no doubt that this pilot will make an important difference in the lives of the children in these schools.”