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29 Nov 2021

Portlaoise special school pleads for help as conditions become intolerable

Staff at Kolbe School demand a fair deal for their pupils

special needs

Kolbe School Deputy Principal Kate Steed.

Staff at the only Laois school for children with severe to profound disabilities are calling urgently for a long awaited new building.

Kolbe Special School in Portlaoise has 41 pupils yet most of them go to classes in prefabs, and they no longer have space for a sensory room or for PE. Rooms and corridors are used for storage.

The nurses room is also in a poorly insulated prefab.

Deputy Principal Kate Steed teaches in what was the sensory room, now converted to a classroom because of a shortage of space.

“My class has no running water and no handwashing. These children have already got such a hard road ahead, and then for every other child in Portlaoise to get a new school. Our most vulnerable are left last, not even last, they are just left,” Ms Steed told the Leinster Express.

The principal Orlagh Mahon says parents are already worn out fighting for their children's health needs.

“The school will now have to fight for them. We have asked and repeat our request now to our politicians to put the pressure on to the dept of education,” she said.

The school is on a six year list for a new building, with a site selected for some years. The design brief has not been written yet.

“The care they get here is second to none. We are just disillusioned. Why are we still waiting,” Ms Mahon said.

FULL REPORT IN THIS WEEK'S LEINSTER EXPRESS OUT ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2

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