Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
National Council for Special Education
252. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the recent consultation carried out by the NCSE will not lead to closure of schools (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3172/20]
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 to the Minister 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 and consultations with parents, teacher unions and education representative bodies, students, advocacy groups; school visits and relevant Government Departments and bodies. The Progress Report does not draw any definitive conclusions and the preliminary findings are tentative.
The NCSE is also examining implications following ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2018, Article 24(2) of this convention obliges states, inter alia, to ensure that children can access an inclusive, quality and free education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live.
The NCSE is currently engaged in a public consultation with parents, students, people with disabilities, educators and other educational partners and stakeholders. The focus of this consultation focuses on how best to move forward in the education of students currently being educated in special schools and classes. The special schools to which the Deputy refers have been included in this consultation process.
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 of any special school.