NEW MODEL FOR ALLOCATING TEACHING RESOURCES
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), in a policy advice paper to the Minister for Education and Skills last May, recommended the establishment of a working group to devise a proposal for a new model for the allocation of additional teaching resources to mainstream schools, based on the educational profile of each school. The Minister for Education and Skills accepted this recommendation and requested the NCSE to establish a working group to develop a proposal for a new model. This working group has now been established with Eamon Stack appointed as the Chairperson of the group.
The term of reference set out by the Department of Education and Skills for the working group was to:
‘develop a proposal for a model for allocating teaching resources to mainstream primary and post-primary schools that is reflective of recommendations in NCSE policy advice and takes account of factors that identify the educational profiles of schools and the recording of outcomes for students with special educational needs.’
The relevant NCSE recommendation (22.1) referred to in the above term of reference sets out that the allocation of additional teaching supports should be in line with the profiled educational need of each school. Additional teaching supports should only be sanctioned on the basis that planning is in place for the students concerned, as part of the learning plan process. The deployment of these resources should be linked to the student’s learning plan process, be time-bound and outcome focused.
The NCSE has provided an opportunity for relevant organisations to inform the development of the working group’s proposal. Representatives from The Special Needs Parents Association, Inclusion Ireland, Down Syndrome Ireland, Irish Autism Action, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, The Dyslexia Association of Ireland, Dyspraxia Ireland and Irish National Council of Attention Deficit Disorder Support were invited to meet with the NCSE in the Department of Education last Tuesday 17th September.
The disability groups present requested the opportunity to have further meaningful input into the Working Group at a later date prior to finalising the report on the Working Group’s recommendations to Minister Quinn which are due next Easter 2014. A previous request to Minister Quinn at a meeting last June to have representation on the Working Group itself was not realised.
The following questions guided the discussions at the consultation meeting which lasted 2 hours.
1. Educational profile of a school:
· How can the educational profile of a school be built up to ensure that all students with special educational need are included, without need for a diagnosis of disability?
· What information is available in the system to contribute to this profile?
2. Recording and measuring outcomes for students with special educational needs:
· What outcomes should be recorded?
· How should these be measured?
· How should they be reported?
The discussions were very focused and due the the short time frame, a request was made to have the opportunity to make additional written submissions at a later date to the NCSE which has been granted. SNPA would like to thank all parents and professionals who contributed with feedback and opinions prior to the meeting.