31 May, 2018 - Statement from the Department of Education and Skills regarding St Thomas' Special School Clonshaugh

St Thomas’ Clonshaugh is a school with Special School designation dating from a period when separate education provision for members of the Traveller community was the norm.   

The phasing out of segregated education provision for Traveller children began in 2006 in accordance with Government policy which was developed in consultation with Traveller representative groups.     

The Department of Education and Skills has been engaging with St Thomas’ for many years to progress the transfer of its student cohort to the mainstream school system in line with this agreed national policy.  

Following a series of discussions with the patron of the school, it is now planned that St Thomas’ Special School will close no later than 30 June 2019.  Tusla’s Educational Welfare Service will provide ongoing support to the school and parents to plan for the transition of students to other schools in the area.  This will be done with the purpose of ensuring that appropriate supports are put in place so that students who will not have completed their education by June 2019 can take up school placements in the 2019/20 school year.

Minister Bruton welcomed that the school would have an extra year to plan for the phased closure and reiterated the government’s commitment to improving educational outcomes for members of the Traveller and Roma communities.