Friday, January 13, 2012

Don't stop the miracles - oppose cuts to teachers in disadvantaged schools

I got a letter home from my son's school today - and a text asking me to read the letter.

It was important you see.

The school has been told that it will lose two more teachers under cutbacks in the Budget.  This is on top of two teachers lost last year.  And there are only a small number in total.

My son attends a 'disadvantaged' school (a DEIS school).  Not because we are disadvantaged.  We're not.  But because the school has an excellent asperger outreach unit and these all seem to be attached to disadvantaged schools.  Funny that.  The school also takes lots of other children with a variety of special needs and many with none.  It also works miracles.  Yes we have hit a few speed bumps in the last 18 months, but aspie boy is now attending mainstream classes regularly, on his own.  

Just two years ago he was out of control and causing constant disruption in his previous school, even with the support of an SNA.  And I was really worried about where he would end up.  As a school drop out?  Or worse if his anger issues could not be addressed?  Now I am looking for a suitable mainstream secondary school for him and I have a good story to tell when I ring them.

How has this been achieved?  

With a lot of intensive work by a highly trained team in very small classes:  the asperger classes have 6 pupils, a teacher and 2 SNAs.

All this work that is helping my son and others will be put at risk by these proposed cuts.  These are children with huge potential.  They just need a bit of extra help to get there.  It is in the DEIS schools that this extra help is provided.  And so they have a higher pupil- teacher ratio.  And perhaps the Government thought they were another soft target, perhaps the Government thought the parents did not vote and would not protest.  Well they were wrong. 

We love our children and we want the miracles to continue.

We won't let these cuts happen.

7 comments:

  1. Because provision varies from area to area it must be hard for those in charge of budgets to work out where to put resources. I have the impression provision for children with Aspergers where I live is pretty good - it's certainly valued - and some of this is attached to one of the main-stream schools so children can move between full classes and special ones as their needs change. (It's on site.) This is at secondary level. I don't know what happens for younger children who can't stay within main-stream. My impression is that one of the hiccups in meeting the needs of children with all sorts of special needs can be a fixed idea of what 'should' happen. So glad the school your son has been going to has helped so much. Looks as if people with the money for education are about to find out you are not a soft target after all.

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  2. Once again, they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. These "cuts" will save them money short term but look at the bigger picture. How much money is it going to cost when kids who can successfully mainstream have to drop out back to more specialised education. Pathetic :(

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  3. Maybe the politicians should come and SEE what these schools do on a day to day basis. But then, they never do. I hope the cuts won't be too drastic for you, but let us know what happens

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  4. this is really so heartbreaking :-(
    why are they always taking it away from those that need it mosr

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  5. Bloody annoying that cuts are made without properly looking at the schools to see where these teachers are most needed.

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  6. Write to your MP. Maybe your school could invite him to visit. Failing that, try the same with a local councillor (preferably someone with responsibility for the education budget). There's no excuse for them cutting school provision for children who need extra help. They should see the results for themselves.

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  7. Thank you for all your comments: reading them I realise that I should have put in a bit more of an explanation for readers who live outside Ireland. My son is in an asperger outreach unit that is integrated into a mainstream school - basically he and 5 fellow pupils are just in another room along the corridor, so that they can be integrated easily into mainstream classes again when they are ready. The school is a designated disadvantaged school, one of about 100 in Ireland, and they have higher pupil teacher ratios. In the most recent Budget, these schools (only, I believe) were targetted for a reduction in teacher numbers. Many of the boys in my son's school need extra help for a variety of reasons, and there is the sad possibility that their lives could go badly wrong if they don't get it x

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