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Applying for higher education supports

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Getting into college is a challenge for many students, one which is all the more difficult for anyone who has had their second level education impacted by illness, disability or learning difficulties.

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The Disability Access Route to Education scheme (DARE) seeks to level the playing field for such students by providing pre and post entry supports when applying to participating Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) through the Central Applications Office (CAO) and is open to school leavers who meet the eligibility criteria and are under the age of 23 as of January 1, 2022. To be deemed eligible for DARE students need to meet the Educational Impact Criteria and the Evidence of Disability Criteria.

As part of pre-entry supports the DARE scheme offers reduced points places to eligible students under the following categories - Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD and ADHD), Blind/Vision Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, DCD – Dyspraxia, Mental Health Condition, Neurological Condition, Speech & Language Communications Disorder, Significant Ongoing Illness, Physical Disability, Specific Learning Difficulty. To find out more information on the eligibility criteria under each category, see www.accesscollege.ie. The reduction in points for DARE places can vary each year and applicants must still meet the minimum subject specific requirements for their chosen courses.

Deadlines and Application Process

The first step is to apply to the CAO via www.cao.ie, which is now open, by February 1, 2022. Once this is done, DARE applicants have until March 1 to indicate that they wish to be considered for the scheme and to complete Section A of the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) which includes a short personal statement about the impact of the illness, disability or learning difficulty on their education. By March 15, Sections B and C must be completed, signed, stamped and returned to CAO by post. Faxed or emailed documents will not be accepted. This supporting documentation is used to establish whether or not an applicant meets the eligibility criteria for DARE and it is used by the colleges and universities to determine the kinds of supports that might be needed on entry to college. Section B, the Educational Impact Statement (EIS) must be completed by the school, indicating how the illness, disability or learning difficulty has impacted on the second level experience of the applicant. Section C looks for the provision of Evidence of Disability Documentation from the appropriate professional and can be provided in a number of ways – an existing report from the appropriate professional or a completed Evidence of Disability Form 2022 which can be downloaded from www.cao.ie or www.accesscollege.ie. In addition, some evidence may be required to have been completed in a particular timeframe. All deadlines are strict and non-negotiable so it is important to start applications well in advance of the final dates, to avoid unnecessary stress.

Benefits

As well as reduced points, there are lots of other supports offered to students who qualify for DARE and may include some of the following: orientation programmes, learning support, assistive technology, library support, exam accommodations, educational support worker and academic tuition. The provision of such supports seeks to level the playing pitch for entry to and access through higher education by widening opportunities for students who have a significant challenge in terms of their participation, experience and learning in secondary school.

Information events on DARE take place in various HEIs throughout the year, so check out college websites and social media for details. On Saturday January 8, 2022 a series of information sessions will take place in HEIs nationally for applicants and parents. For further details on information events and on the DARE scheme itself, as well as contact details for DARE support staff in the various colleges, see www.accesscollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie

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Applecroft B&B named in Ireland’s Top 10

By Michelle Crean What a better way for a local business to celebrate its silver jubilee than to be named in the Top 10 places to stay in Ireland especially as they prepare to reopen after the pandemic. Owners Kathy and Don Brosnan, who run Applecroft House in Woodlawn, were named number 6 in Ireland’s […]

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By Michelle Crean

What a better way for a local business to celebrate its silver jubilee than to be named in the Top 10 places to stay in Ireland especially as they prepare to reopen after the pandemic.

Owners Kathy and Don Brosnan, who run Applecroft House in Woodlawn, were named number 6 in Ireland’s Top 10 B&Bs for 2022 by the Irish Independent ‘Reader Travel Awards’ while Ireland’s Best B&B was named as Dingle’s Pax House.

The couple began their business in 1997 and are very happy with the feedback from visitors who voted for their B&B, especially after two difficult years.

“I’m thrilled, especially as we’re celebrating our silver jubilee this year,” Kathy told the Killarney Advertiser.

The couple built their house in the early ’80s and aptly named it ‘Applecroft’ as it was built in a field which has an orchard.

In the late ’90s they opened five spacious rooms up, each with its own theme; 
‘Poet’s Corner’, ‘Past Times’, ‘The 19th Green’, ‘The Race-goer’s Club’ and ‘The Kerry Way’, for guests as Kathy, who worked in The Europe Hotel and the Great Southern Killarney for many years, had a passion to bring a great stay experience to guests visiting Killarney. They kept themselves busy planting in their two acre garden during the pandemic.

They have won numerous awards over the years and have had film crews in but this latest award is the icing on the cake for the couple who are looking forward to reopening in late March.

“It’s amazing, and a bonus especially with the two years we’ve had. We’ve never experienced anything like that. It was “wow” – we were preparing to reopen on St Patrick’s Day that year and all of a sudden everything closed down on the 16. It was a big shock.”

Don creates amazing bread and scones which guests rave about, she added.

“I was delighted as we came tenth for breakfast and sixth for the B&B.”

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Tributes paid to life-long Legion supporter

By Sean Moriarty Legion GAA Club has led tributes to one of their most ‘fervent’ supporters who passed away on Tuesday. Described as one of the town’s ‘old stock’, Tim Looney from Coolgraine Park and late of Daltons Avenue, was a central part of Killarney’s rich sporting heritage. As well as a life-long supporter of […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Legion GAA Club has led tributes to one of their most ‘fervent’ supporters who passed away on Tuesday.

Described as one of the town’s ‘old stock’, Tim Looney from Coolgraine Park and late of Daltons Avenue, was a central part of Killarney’s rich sporting heritage.

As well as a life-long supporter of Legion, he played basketball in the famous town leagues of the 1970s and the seven-a-side soccer ‘Wipeouts’ competitions.

“He was a very proud Legion man and always flew the green and white flag out his window whenever the club was playing in a big game,” PRO Enda Walshe told the Killarney Advertiser. “He was a fervent loyal club supporter but was also one of the characters of the winter basketball leagues.”

Tim was also a regular participant in Dart Pub Leagues back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tim’s funeral took place today (Friday). He was laid to rest at Killarney Burial Ground after 10am Mass St Mary’s Cathedral.

Tim is survived by his wife Nuala, his children Joanne, Paudie and Timmy, and was a much loved grandfather to Stephen, Makaela, Chloe, Padraic, Keelan, Alex and the late Lorna. He will also be sadly missed by his daughters-in-law Margaret and Sharon, son-in-law Tony, sisters Kathleen, Sheila and Ann, brothers Lewis-John and Paddy, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, relatives, neighbours and many great friends.

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