ARAGLIN PROTESTS CONTINUE OVER SNA HOURS REDUCTION
After a week of worry the parents of Zoe Byron O’Connor have once again taken their protest to the gates of Araglin National School, writes Brian Moore.
Zoe (7) who has Down Syndrome, has been a pupil at Araglin National School for two years and has just started first class.
“Our protest continues as Zoe’s special needs assistance’s (SNA) hours have been reduced from 25 hours a week to just five,” Zoe’s mother Annabel told The Avondhu.
“We have pleaded with the principal and the board of management to no avail. Zoe’s used to love going to school and she has made great friends but now every morning she doesn’t want to go. Also, Zoe cannot go to the bathroom on her own and she will not tell you that she wants to go. Now, we find that she has not been going to the bathroom at school and is actually in pain when she gets home. This is exactly why she needs a SNA,” her mother said.
A large group of parents have once again turned out at the protest to support Zoe and her family, “I want to thank all the parents and our neighbours for all their support and help,” Annabel said.
However, once again the principal, Mrs Childs, would not comment on the situation at the school.
A statement from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) read, “ The procedure is that schools apply to NCSE for special needs assistants (SNAs) and teaching resources to support the provision by schools of appropriate educational services for children with SEN.
"Additional allocations to schools of such resources are determined by NCSE based on the current needs of the pupils in the school within the national policy parameters set down by the Department of Education and Skills.
"The level of resources allocated to a particular school varies from time to time and is based on the needs of the pupils with SEN. In the case of Araglin NS, an allocation of resources has been determined on this basis by NCSE and the reasons for this determination have been communicated to the school and the parents involved. The NCSE is in ongoing contact with schools and will continue to keep its resource allocations under review.’
“We will continue our protest until Zoe’s SNA hours are re-instated. This is for our child’s safety and education and you can’t just take away a service that ensures these to basic rights,” Zoe’s mother concluded this week.
Thursday 9th September 7:30pm