Home » Breaking News » New class in Doonbeg NS will help everyone shine
Attending the official opening of a new sensory room at Doonbeg National School were (l-r) Claire Daly (SNA), Assumpta Lillis (SNA), Deputy Joe Carey T.D., Jennifer Barker (Special Class Teacher), Neil Crowley (School Principal), Margaret Dillon (community representative), and Angela Fitzpatrick (Chairperson Board of Management). Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

New class in Doonbeg NS will help everyone shine

A NEW Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) class has opened at Doonbeg National School.  Called An Ghrian, it will provide children attending mainstream school with additional support throughout the school day.

School principal Neil Crowley said, “We would have seen that there were children with these needs in the school and we wanted the best approach to support their needs as best we could.”

He has no doubt that the An Ghrian will make a big difference to the children accessing it.

“Oh, definitely. The supports are there to give them the best access to education required.”

Mr Crowley said a lot of work has been done over recent months.

“We are very excited about our new class and we have seen so much work completed for it by the staff over the last few months.

“The Special Class Teacher and the team of Special Needs Assistants, have closely worked together to make our new class a welcoming and supportive learning environment.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for the children who will now have access to the appropriate support structure to help them on their educational journey.

“I would also like to acknowledge the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) for their role in assisting with the establishment of the special class and Joe Carey TD for his support.”

He said that the absence of such facilities can pose a lot of problems.

“Trying to secure places in special classes, can be a challenge for many families, especially if there are no classes in a locality or when classes further afield may be oversubscribed. The availability of the special class within the community, will hopefully lead to less anxiety for families.”

The importance of having the class attached to the mainstream school, means that while the child’s individual needs can be catered for in this safe and adapted environment, there are also opportunities for the children to integrate and be included in mainstream activities.

Chairperson of the Board of Management, Ms. Angela Fitzpatrick said, “The addition of the special class is tremendous for the school and the parish and on behalf of the board of management, I am very grateful to Mr. Crowley for all his hard work in achieving this outcome and to Mr. Joe Carey T.D. for his support. ”

Deputy Carey officially opened the special class and he praised all involved in bringing it about. “Having worked closely with the school community in Doonbeg on this really important issue, an in-depth review of the school’s special education provision was secured with the Minister for Special Education, Ms. Josepha Madigan and her officials at the Department of Education.

“The recommendation was that a special class was to be sanctioned at Doonbeg NS. The positive outcome to this process is really welcome and hugely important for the pupils attending Doonbeg N.S. who desperately need this support.

“I want to pay tribute to the Principal of Doonbeg National School, Mr. Neil Crowley, to the parents of the children for their support and to Minister Josepha Madigan for taking on board the concerns.”

Further information about the special class can be obtained by contacting the school office at 065-9055311 or by email at: doonbeg.ns.clare@gmail.com.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.