Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen has welcomed the approval in principle by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D. to provide for the provision of a 2 classroom special needs unit and the replacement of the prefabricated classroom and resource room with a permanent build at Broadford and Kilbane National School.
“I am delighted that this much needed additional permanent accommodation has been approved for Broadford and Kilbane National School. The number of students enrolling at this progressive school continues to grow, and projections for the next few years are also very promising.
The school authorities were in contact with me in relation to their pressing need for additional accommodation as indeed was my colleague, Councillor Joe Cooney and I visited the School to see the situation at first hand for myself and made strong representations to the Minister advocating and supporting the need to provide funding to have this necessary accommodation put in place.
Scoil na Maighdine Muire, Broadford & St. Josephs National School Kilbane National School, Kilbane were amalgamated in 2014 to form the new Broadford & Kilbane National School and it is located in Broadford. The School has 125 mainstream students, a special needs unit which caters for children in the entire area and no building works have taken place on the school grounds since 2007.
When I visited the School I was very impressed with the good work being carried out by the teachers and Board of Management. They have a dedicated autism teacher and the unit there which is accommodating 6 pupils with autism. It is housed however in a temporary portacabin which is accessed externally and a small sensory room is located in a separate portacabin. This temporary accommodation is totally unsuitable for special needs teaching and I am very pleased now that the Department has recognised this and that are going to provide a permanent structure.
Many children travel from nearby communities to avail of the excellent services bring provided there for special needs students and the addition of a second classroom will ensure that there will be adequate accommodation in Broadford Kilbane National School to cater for them.
I understand that the Board of Management are due to meet this week to discuss this offer from the Department and I hope that once they have confirmed their approval to the Department that the full terms of the grant and conditions will be issued to the School Authorities so that construction on this additional accommodation can commence at the earliest opportunity.”