06 Dec 2021

No provision for career guidance in special needs schools teaching primary school curriculum

Political journalist Tim Ryan analyses and writes about issues at both local and national level


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There is no sense in appointing 17 people, or that high a number, to a Judicial Appointments Commission that will simply make recommendations to a Justice Minister, probably providing the Minister with three or four names, and for the Minister to end up deciding on the appointment of a judge, possibly on a political basis, Fianna Fáil Deputy John McGuinness told the Dáil.

“This is wrong,” he said. “We are now outsourcing these appointments. It is a case of give them away to a Commission, send health issues to the HSE and create some other quango that will deal with the issue we are afraid to touch because we lack the political leadership and muscle to do what is necessary for this country, which is, essentially, to show leadership and fairness. This is what is happening here.”

Speaking during a debate on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, he said the Government is also afraid of doing it because it will result in it having to make a decision based on its own advices or possibly based on common sense.

“That is what is lacking in this area - true commitment from a Government and true commitment from Fine Gael, which had a reasonable track record in this area,” he said.

“However, it bows down to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Shane Ross) who preached against all these quangos in the very recent past. I do not know why it does not challenge him because he needs to be challenged.”

Lack of career guidance in special needs schools criticised

As it currently stands, there is no provision for career guidance in special needs schools that teach the primary school curriculum, Sinn Fein Deputy Kathleen Funchion told the Dáil. This, she said, completely ignores the fact that students up to the age of 18 attend these schools.

She asked the Minister for Education & Skills the reason guidance in special schools is not included in the career guidance review announced in January 2018 despite assurances from representatives of the Department of Education and Skills that it would be included.

In response, Minister Richard Burton said the purpose of the review of career guidance is to ensure that high-quality, relevant career guidance information is provided to students from post–primary level up to further and higher education.

“Drawing on the results of the consultation and further consideration by the steering group, the question of the specific role and objectives of career guidance in supporting students in special schools will be assessed further,” he said.

“It is therefore not the case that guidance in special schools is excluded from review.

“Rather, as is the case with several aspects of the review, further consideration of the detailed design and precise content of the review is required in light of the submissions received, to ensure that the review meets its objectives.”

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