Students from Clare and across the country with complex needs are now eligible to take part in the Summer Provision programme.

Local Fine Gael TD Joe Carey made the announcement after he received confirmation that the eligibility criteria for participation in the Summer Provision has been widened from his party colleague, the Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan.

Minister Madigan confirmed to Deputy Carey that children entering primary school in September are now eligible for the programme. Children with Down syndrome who are attending post-primary school are also eligible to participate in the home-based strand of the programme.

Welcoming the news, Deputy Carey said: “This is another positive development for children with complex needs and their families. Summer Provision is crucial in supporting children with complex needs and preparing them to return to education in the autumn, following the recent restrictions.

“I received several representations from families in Clare in recent weeks asking if the eligibility criteria would be widened and I’m very happy to confirm that this is now the case.”

Deputy Carey said schools in Clare can apply the following criteria when selecting children they feel would benefit from the Summer Provision:

(1) Pupils with a diagnosis of autism;
(2) Pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties;
(3) Any child in a special school or a special class in a primary school;

(4) Children transitioning into a special class from early year settings to primary school;
(5) Pupils in primary school mainstream classes who present with the following disabilities;
  *children with Down syndrome
  *children who are deaf or most severe hard of hearing
  *children who are blind or have a most severe visual impairment
  *children who have a moderate general learning disability
  *children with severe emotional behavioural difficulties
(6) Children with Down syndrome who are attending post-primary school in the home-based strand of the programme;
(7) Children with complex needs entering primary school next September.

A total of 243 schools across the county have so far registered for the summer programme for children with complex needs. Some 240 of these schools have indicated they intend to run the School Based Education Programme.