Fifteen special schools have contacted the Department of Education in recent weeks to say they are facing soaring insurance costs that would threaten them with closure.

Some schools are facing premiums of up to €60,000.

The Department of Education has said Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh is concerned about the issue, and has held a number of meetings about it.

In a statement, the Department said its Special Education section is working as a matter of urgency on the issue, and has had ongoing contact with other relevant departments to seek a resolution.

Some schools are under the patronage of a diocese and are covered by a group scheme, while others are on their own.

Breda Corr, the General Secretary of the National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education, said rising costs began emerging as an issue in 2016.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, she said the NABMSE commissioned a report on the issue, which recommended a group scheme be established for the schools in question.

She said a number of special schools have told them that costs are continuing to rise.

"They're telling us that they'll have to close if this continues. Obviously from our point of view, a solution has to be found, because it's not an option for schools to close and pupils be left without an education."

Ms Corr said the schools are responsible for paying those premiums from their own resources, which she says is becoming impossible.

She said it is harder for smaller schools to absorb the cost because they're not owned by the state, and are therefore not fully funded by the State.

She said it is harder for smaller schools to absorb the cost because they're not owned by the state, and are therefore not fully funded by the State.

She added that it is a lot of pressure and worry.

"It is an awful lot of pressure for voluntary boards of management to be dealing with, and it's a worry. No board wants the school to be closed, no board wants pupils to be left without an education. In our opinion, a solution needs to be found. It isn't an option that schools can close."

Ms Corr said it is her understanding that the Department has given an advance on the school's capitation to help schools pay for their insurance.

She said that in the interim, they are working on developing a group scheme.

She added that a solution urgently needs to be found.

"The best solution would be that the group of schools would be indemnified by the state's claims agency and would be under the general insurance scheme.

"I think that would give greater assurance to the schools, and they'd be part of a larger solution. I hope it'll happen, but we've been advised by the department that other solutions will be explored."