Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan visited St. Teresa’s Special Needs School in Ballinasloe on Friday last following the announcement of two new classrooms for the school recently.
School principal Anita O’Reilly, vice-principal Geraldine Clarke and local Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan were on hand to welcome the Minister of State.
Minister of State Madigan said it had been a great experience to meet children and teaching staff at the school.
“St. Teresa’s caters to such a wide catchment area across counties of Galway, Roscommon, Offaly, Westmeath. Senator Aisling Dolan has raised the needs of students in the Ballinasloe area both here in St. Teresa’s and in Scoil An Chroí Naofa in Ballinasloe.
“The funding of two new classrooms here is a big step forward and will be so welcome to parents and students for this September. I am also conscious of the plans for new school grounds to allow a new special needs school for the area.
“Thank you to Principal Anita O’Reilly and her excellent team, teachers, SNAs and all who have given me a great tour of all the wonderful activities and care for children in the school here. I really loved seeing the garden and the wonderful artwork,” she said.
Senator Dolan said: “Principal Anita O’Reilly, vice-principal Geraldine Clarke and staff do so much in this great school, however there were was no place for ten children due to enrol this September. This situation caused real stress and anxiety for parents and teaching staff alike.
“I was delighted to hear recently that two extra classrooms were approved for St. Teresa’s. Ballinasloe Area Community Development have always supported the school and are providing a site for the two new classrooms. This demonstrates the community spirit in our town”.
The Fine Gael Senator added that she was currently following up on the site acquisition process for a new school grounds for St. Teresa’s and that there had been positive progress in moving to the next stage.
St. Teresa’s principal Anita O’Reilly said care comes first for students and that staff provide a range of special education.
“We have multi-disciplinary teams of specialists who help and support the staff provide speech and language, OT services, physiotherapy and many other therapies. These are vital supports which help the children reach their potential.
“We have been here since 2010 and we have grown from 11 students to 36 enrolled for next September. I want to thank the Minister for taking the time to visit our school and to meet some of our excellent staff. The funding for additional classrooms was essential and I want to thank the Minister and the Department of Education for supporting our school and children in the area.
“It was lovely to have the opportunity for one of our students Lorcan Donoghue to make a small presentation to the Minister – well done to Lorcan,” she said.
The chairperson of Ballinasloe Area Community Development, Seamus Duffy, welcomed the addition of two extra classrooms at the site and said the group supports the development of organisations in both business and education at its site in Creagh, Ballinasloe.