Launching Inclusion Ireland and TU Dublin’s Report ‘Education, Behaviour and Exclusion: The experience and impact of short school days on children with disabilities and their families in the Republic of Ireland’, Green Party Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Catherine Martin TD today said:
“The practice of short school days – of putting children on reduced timetables, where their engagement with the school is curtailed for a period that can run on for weeks, months or even years without formal due process – is wrong, shameful, cruel, and flies in the face of a child’s constitutional right to education.
“I was delighted to launch this Report from Inclusion Ireland and the Technological University of Dublin today, as it sheds light and strong evidence on what is an appalling practice at work all too often in our schools. The report found that 1 in 4 children with a disability have been put on short school days, with half of these arrangements lasting more than 20 days – this is beyond belief.
“The use of short school days is not optimal for anyone – but for children with disabilities it has resulted in a particular practice of exclusion. It also results in our teaching a dangerous lesson to other students in our schools, as it normalises and gives the signal that exclusion is ok.
“The Minister for Education needs to take action to match his words in the form of a directive to schools stating that this practice must stop, or at the very least ensure that the use of short school days is the exception and not the norm, and is closely monitored.”
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