Local Fine Gael Senator welcomes special school funding announcement

Local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, has welcomed the decision taken by the Department of Education to afford funding for two extra classrooms and toilets at St Teresa’s Special School in Creagh, Ballinasloe.

This funding is allocated for urgent additional school accommodation under the devolved projects within the Building Section of the Department. St Teresa’s Special School in Creagh, Ballinasloe, is dedicated to the education of children with moderate, severe and profound special needs and autism being one of only 115 special needs schools in the country.

“It is fantastic to hear that these classrooms have now been approved for St Teresas and to know that students will have a place in September. We owe so much to the incredible teaching and healthcare staff at St Teresas, especially Principal, Anita O’Reilly, and Vice-Principal, Geraldine Clarke, for driving this project.

“The School Board and support of Ballinasloe Area Community Development board (BACD ) must also be thanked for providing the location for such an extension in the park opposite the school.

“There was just no space remaining to accommodate additional students as this school has more than doubled in the last 10 years. The school teaches children from across the western region with 11 children starting in 2010 increasing to 27 children commencing their education journey in 2020 and Special Needs Assistants have also multiplied to support these children with severe and profound special needs.

“It was urgent to see progress here as we are already in April and I liaised with the offices of Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, Deputy Josepha Madigan, Minister of Education, Deputy Norma Foley, in the last few weeks to highlight the concern for capacity of special needs students within the Ballinasloe area.

“We have two additional major outstanding school projects - firstly, to source a site for a permanent school to accommodate children at St Teresa’s school. Locations are being mentioned, but we need to see firm commitments here from the Department of Education.

Secondly, to move the new school building for Scoil An Chroí Naofa DEIS Band 1 for close to 300 students to the next stage of planning approval and the tender process.

“I had the opportunity to raise the issue of St Teresa’s School in the Seanad and I would also like to thank the Leader of the House, Senator Regina Doherty, for supporting this project,” Senator Dolan stated.

School principal, Anita O’Reilly, expressed her delight with the news relayed by the Department of Education.

“This is wonderful news for parents of children planning to come to St Teresas this September. It is such a relief to have a plan in place to accommodate these children as we are at capacity in our current building.

“I would like to thank the Buildings Section at the Department of Education, we now have a number of months to have this established by September’,” Ms O’Reilly commented.

 

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