Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Provision of Special Needs Education: Discussion

Dr. Niall Muldoon:

"Taking over" is probably the strongest possible term to use. The term I would use, which is cited in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, is "recalibration". The Department of Education must have more say and input on where there should be less autonomy in circumstances where we are talking about the rights of a child to proper education, that is, specialised education. There should be no doubt over that. Again, the only question should be how a school gets the resources to provide it, not whether it will provide it. It should make sure the resources come on stream. For example, if five places are needed next year, the school needs to provide those places. Ultimately, a school will know it needs those five places three years in advance and the funding for them will be put in place. There should be no equivocation about that. I would call it a recalibration but there should be a more hands-on input at Department level which in turn will place more responsibility on the Minister.