Inclusion Ireland significantly concerned about the new Special Education Teacher allocation model
Inclusion Ireland has expressed significant concern about the new Special Education Teacher Allocation model (circular 0002/2024 Department of Education).
CEO of Inclusion Ireland, Derval McDonagh explained, “The criteria ‘complex needs’ has been completely removed for allocation of additional resources to a school. The rationale for removal of this criteria is of most concern:
- Perceived inaccurate/inconsistent data from the Children’s Disability Network teams leading to variations in allocations of teaching hours across the country. This rationale is deeply flawed. The solution to inaccurate data is to work towards making the data more accurate in partnership with the CDNT’s and ensuring consistency, NOT to remove the criteria.
- The growth of special schools and classes: The allocation model blatantly points out a discriminatory system where pupils who have more significant support needs are encouraged to avail of special schools and classes ‘a significant number of pupils with more complex needs are now supported in these settings, and these elements of the continuum of education provision are resourced separately to the SET model’. Inclusion Ireland have long advocated for real choice for children who have higher support needs to attend mainstream schools. This would seem to completely contradict the new policy advice from the National Council of Special Education, working towards more inclusive schools.”
She added: “All policy should be ‘rights’ proofed and child centred. The single biggest theme we find in all of our work is lack of trust. Children need to trust that they will be welcomed and accepted exactly as they are in their local school. Families need to trust their child will get the support they need. Schools need to trust that they will get the resources they need to support all children in their community. Today Inclusion Ireland will write to the Department of Education seeking a briefing on these significant changes and their implications on our obligation as a state under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Inclusion Ireland has previously raised concerns about the reallocation of Special Education Teachers when there are staffing concerns and pressures in a school. We need to resource and equip schools better so that all children can have an inclusive school experience.”
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