Parents outside the school last week / JOSELE

Eight children with special educational needs in a class of 25 at Marbella school

Parents of pupils at Antonio Machado are asking the school to reduce the proportion so that children can receive better schooling

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS MARBELLA.

The Antonio Machado primary school in Marbella has only one class in the third year of primary and in this class of 25, there are eight children with special educational needs. Parents of the pupils with extra needs gathered outside the school last week to demand a "dignified education" and that the school lower so that their children receive the attention they need.

"We have been fighting for three years for the division of the class and the administration has always turned its back on us. It is a class with very special characteristics. Right now there are 25 children enrolled. Of these, eight are diagnosed with special educational needs and two of them very dependent,” explained Pilar Jurado, one of the mothers. "In addition, because of the environment in which the school is located, we also have students at risk of social exclusion or with issues at home,” she continued.

Jurado went on to say, "We are not asking for segregation. In fact, we do not know who all the children with special needs are because we have always respected their privacy, but the situation in the classroom is increasingly complicated.”

After lockdown

In the first year of primary school the class teacher herself encouraged the parents to ask for the class to be split. "It was a very hard year. The children came out of lockdown, each with their own particular circumstances at home and the class was completely crazy," she recalled.

Loli Baena, who works at the school explained that the teaching assistant (TA) for the dependent children has to be shared with the rest of the school, meaning that when the TA leaves the classroom, one teacher is left alone with the class and "if one of the dependent children needs to go to the toilet, the teacher has to accompany them", Baena explained.

The regional government’s department for educational development has told SUR that "the request we have received from the school is that they are asking for the school to be split for the next academic year 2023-2024. The Junta de Andalucía will study the case in order to alleviate it," they reported. They added, “The resources will be distributed according to the needs and we will look into the situation raised by these families.”

The parents pointed out that their initial proposal was for a solution to be found for the next academic year, but in view of the pressing needs, they have sent a new letter to find a solution sooner.