Rath National School has been given the greenlight for an expansion of the school to accommodate children with autism.
The Board of Management of Rath National School applied to Laois County Council to construct a rear extension to the school to accommodate a two-classroom ASD unit with a floor area of 508m2. Included in the plan are new openings in the existing rear wall.
The council has now granted permission to the extension of the school at Rath in Ballybrittas.
The council ruled that development is in line with policy of the Laois County Development Plan 2011 - 2016 to “facilitate the development of primary, post-primary, third level outreach, research, adult and further educational facilities to meet the needs to the county, accessible to all members of the community”.
As part of the original application, the board of management included a letter from the parish priest, Rev Fr Thomas Dooley PP, saying he was in agreement with the planning application.
“I am also aware and in agreement with the staff of the school using 23 parking spaces at Rath Community Centre,” he said.
At present the school has a staff of 22, including six ASD staff, who park in the community centre, leaving the ten regular parking spaces at the school site for parents and school visitors.
ASD Units cater for the needs of children with autism who are attached to a mainstream and special schools. The pupil-teacher ratio in these units is typically 6:1 and pupils are further supported by a minimum of two Special Needs Assistants per class.