Robust framework urged for special needs education

Friday 17 May 2013 21.51
Report recommends breaking link between allocation based on category of disability to one of allocation based on need
Report recommends breaking link between allocation based on category of disability to one of allocation based on need

A review into how special needs resources in schools are currently allocated has been given to Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn.

The National Council for Special Education undertook what it described as a comprehensive strategic review of special education to determine how best to support students in the future.

It is the first such review in 20 years.

The NCSE carried out the detailed study over the course of a year, during which it sought the views of various professionals, advocacy groups and parents.

Its main recommendation to Mr Quinn is to break the link between allocation based on category of disability to one of allocation based on need.

It is also concerned about the length of time some parents have to wait for a diagnosis, leaving their children at a disadvantage compared to children of parents who can access private assessments.

This means not all children have early access to support when it is needed most.

The review also said a robust regulatory enrolment framework to ensure all children with special educational needs can access a school placement should be adopted.

A report from the Ombudsman for Children published in December was highly critical of how the special education needs of children with Down's syndrome attending mainstream primary schools were being met under the current models.

The NCSE review published today suggests that if the system were to focus on the need of the child as opposed to allocation based on category of disability, those concerns would be dealt with.

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