Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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205. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the so-called New Brunswick model in the area of special education; if children with ASD with very significant needs will continue to receive their education in a special school in the appropriate circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2793/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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In September 2018, the NCSE was requested to develop policy advice on the educational provision that should be in place for students educated in special schools and classes and to make recommendations on the provision required to enable them achieve better outcomes.

It was agreed that the report will be completed and submitted by June 2020.

The NCSE was also requested to provide a progress report which was submitted to me on 5 November 2019.

The progress report provides an overview on the evolution of special education policy and provision in Ireland together with some preliminary analysis of emerging themes from a review of research literature; study visits to other jurisdictions; and consultations with parents, teacher unions and education representative bodies, students, advocacy groups; school visits and relevant Government Departments and bodies. This also inlcuded a study visit to New Brunswick, Canada to see how an education system, without special schools or special classes, support students with special educational needs.

The Progress Report does not draw any definitive conclusions and the preliminary findings are tentative.

The NCSE progress report is available on the NCSE's website.

The NCSE has commenced engagement in a public consultation with parents, students, people with disabilities, educators and other educational partners and stakeholders. The focus of this consultation will be on how best to move forward in the education of students currently being educated in special schools and classes.

Following this public consultation and further deliberations by NCSE, the policy advice will be finalised and submitted to the Minister by June 2020.

It is important to note that at this stage, the NCSE has not made any recommendations regarding the future education provision in any special school in its progress report.


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