Change X (Community and social enterprise innovators) are hosting a meet up session next Monday night in The Happy Pear. They do great work and like a community challenge – Pop in if you can!
It’s almost unthinkable that students with special needs should be left without basic supports in their leaving cert year. Many would expect that as a fundamental level of social justice in a modern education system. However, new figures paint a not-so-pretty picture for families with special needs. Last year alone the State turned down support measures for 1,193 students due to sit their Leaving cert exams.
The support required depends on the needs of the child. Among other conditions, Students with needs as diverse as visual impairment; dyslexia; dyspraxia; autism or Asperger’s can apply for necessary supports – such as the assistance of a reader; the use of a laptop; access to scribes whilst sitting exams under what’s called the ‘reasonable accommodation’ scheme. The logic being that the support follows the individual need of the student.
It all sounds sensible on paper. However, In practice recent figures debated at Oireachtas committee level show an alarming number of applications are being rejected. The rejections have increased year on year under this government’s watch. Take reader applications for example: 669 students with special needs were denied access to a reader back in 2012; rejections rose to 894 in 2013; and now we learn that in 2014 – 914 children’s application for a reader were turned down. If anyone doubts the overall context it’s worth pointing out that this is a 37% rise in rejected applications compared with a modest 4.5% increase in overall applications in the corresponding period. Continue reading
It sure wasn’t on my mind as I enjoyed the flavours, fun and festival feel at last Sunday’s Taste of Wicklow event in the Abbey grounds. But something did strike me – for the first summer in several years people seemed to be more than simply a little bit more sunny-side-up. What could it be? The weather? Nope, there was more to it than simply our annual trademark ‘enjoy while it lasts’ relationship with the weather! There must be something else to explain the welcome pep in people’s step! What on earth could it be?
By the time I had got home, watered the dog and sat down to flick through the papers I had all but forgotten my earlier observations. As I glanced over the week’s news – terrorist attacks in Tunisia and France, the Berkeley student burials and the Greek Euro Exit saga – my eyes stalled in their pursuit and focused on those two sigh-inspiring words: Banking Inquiry. Continue reading
Its been a long and memorable road these last few months. Personally I’ve never been involved in such an energetic, committed and caring group of people as our Wicklow Yes Equality Team. Whatever happens tomorrow we can be proud of the cause we have championed and the effort we put into it. One person for me deserves a huge hug/pat on the back/handshake for his patience, dedication, diplomacy and persistence. That is Ian McGahon Win, lose or draw it’s been an inspiration to work with you Ian. Get some rest!