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Written Answers. - Classes of Disturbed Children.

Thursday, 28 March 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 463 No. 5

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 112. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Education Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  if she intends to set up special classes and/or units for socially maladjusted and/or emotionally disturbed pupils who cannot operate in mainstream classes without seriously disrupting the education of their fellow pupils. [6833/96]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach I can assure the Deputy that any application for the establishment of a special class to cater for children who have been assessed as being emotionally disturbed will be given urgent and sympathetic consideration by my Department.

The Deputy may be aware that I recently introduced a pilot scheme of teacher-counsellors which is intended to offer special targeted support to selected schools encountering particular difficulty in coping with disruptive and disturbed pupils.

The key role of the teacher-counsellor is: (a) to co-ordinate a whole school approach to devising and implementing good practice and strategies which will help prevent the occurrence of disruptive behaviour; (b) to teach and counsel small groups and individuals who exhibit persistent behaviour difficulties in the classroom.

The pilot scheme has been introduced in the Tallaght-Clondalkin area and in the north inner city area of Dublin.

The pilot scheme is being closely monitored by my Department's primary inspectorate. The question of further development of the scheme will be considered in the light of the review of the pilot phase and having regard to resource availability.

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