The Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan announce details of the 2023 Summer Programme. Once again, all schools will have an opportunity to run a programme for those children that need it the most, so that they can be supported, nurtured and encouraged to continue to engage in a fun and inclusive educational setting.
For 2023, additional funding was secured in Budget 2023 to run the programme to match the investment in 2021 and 2022, bringing the total funding available to €40 million.
This year’s programme is designed and developed to ensure supports are targeted to better assist children and young people to have access to a school based programme. For 2023 it is a priority that more children in special schools have access to a school-based programme.
This year introduces a new Special School Programme as a pilot initiative to ensure there is a real focus on supporting special schools. This programme has been designed and developed to ensure supports are targeted to enhance the availability of a school-based programme for pupils in special schools.
In addition, there are two in-school schemes at mainstream primary level:
- The Primary School Scheme for pupils in primary mainstream schools, which provides one cohesive scheme combining the Inclusion programme and special classes from last year.
- The DEIS expanded literacy and numeracy summer camp/campa samhraidh for pupils in DEIS schools. This is available to all sch.ools in the DEIS scheme, including those that received their new DEIS status in September 2022
There is one scheme at post-primary level, the Post-Primary Scheme.
This year all post-primary schools can offer a Summer Programme for students with complex special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage.
A central theme has been developed, ‘Building Confidence and Connections’. The aim of this theme is to help our children and young people to realise their potential, to be resilient in dealing with the normal stresses of their lives, to take care of their physical wellbeing and to have a sense of purpose, connection and belonging to their school community.
Minister Foley said, “the main focus for this year’s Summer Programme is that those children with the most complex special educational needs have access to a school-based programme. There are numerous supports now available to schools for this year’s programme and I encourage all school communities to examine how best they can offer this programme to their students. From visiting the programmes last year, it is evident how much the children and the whole school community benefits from these fun and inclusive programmes. I would like to thank everyone involved in making the programme such a success, and hope that even more schools will take up this very valuable opportunity for their students this summer.”
“I very much welcome the new role of co-ordinator for schools who will oversee the running of the Summer Programme. This will be a new key leadership role that will offer development opportunities for staff in schools. I believe this will be an important way to alleviate pressure from school management and present an opportunity for other teachers.”
Minister Madigan said, “I am delighted to announce the details of this year’s Summer Programme which builds on the successful programme last year, which saw over 42,000 pupils benefiting from both school based and home-based programmes. We were keen this year to make this announcement as early as possible to ensure schools have plenty of time to plan and use the additional supports provided.”
“I am particularly pleased at the introduction of a new pilot programme in special schools which will be supported by a new National Co-Ordinator. This will bring a new focus to supporting and engaging with these schools further and to help more special schools engage with the programme. Parents, children and school staff have all indicated to the department how valuable and enjoyable the Summer Programme has been for them. The benefit for children with special educational needs is clear and I hope that today’s announcement ensures that as many children as possible have access to the programme this year.”