Wednesday, 22 June 2022
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs
Last month the Government announced the Summer Programme to allow all primary and post-primary schools to offer a summer programme for students with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage.
The total funding available to provide summer programmes this year is up to €40 million.
The programme was developed following extensive engagement with education stakeholders, parent and disability advocacy groups.
The programme aims are to support pupils to maintain their connection with education, to build their confidence and increase their motivation, promote wellbeing and for those who are at key transition stages, helping to ensure they continue their education journey in September either in school or in further/higher education or training.
The programmes on offer this summer include:
- Special Classes and Special School Programme in primary (2-5 week programme).
- Inclusion Programme (Primary) for all primary schools for mainstream pupils with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage.
- Inclusion Programme (Post-Primary) for all post-primary schools (2 weeks) for students with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage
- DEIS Numeracy and literacy Camps/Campaí Samhraidh in DEIS primary schools (one week per camp)
- Home based provision for students with complex needs where no school-based programme is available (4 weeks – 40 hours)
The Special Class and Special School Programme is open to all pupils attending special classes and special schools. The Primary Inclusion Programme is open to pupils who have complex needs and those who are most at risk of educational disadvantage.
For the purposes of the Primary and Post Primary Inclusion Programmes, pupils with complex needs are defined as:
Students presenting with the most significant needs in mainstream classes in primary and post-primary schools who are accessing the highest level of the Continuum of Support (School Support Plus). This will include a small number of students with enduring needs which significantly affect their capacity to learn, to function independently and to participate in education. These students require highly individualised and differentiated learning programmes that are significantly different to their peers. These students may present with the following:
- Significant needs with physical and/or sensory functioning (including students who are Deaf or have severe to profound hearing loss and students who are blind or have a severe to profound visual impairment)
- Significant needs in cognitive functioning and independence/daily living skills (including students who have moderate to severe OR significant/profound learning disability)
- Significant needs in social communication, social interaction combined with rigid repetitive patterns of behaviour (including students with Autism)
- Students with Down syndrome
- Students with severe OR significant emotional behavioural needs to the extent that these behaviours of concern are impacting on a student’s ability to learn, to function independently and to participate fully in school life.
Children who meet the above criteria and are entering primary school in September 2022 are also eligible for the Primary Inclusion Programme.
Once places have been allocated to pupils with complex needs as outlined above, schools may offer places to pupils who they consider to be at risk of educational disadvantage.
The home-based programme is available to all pupils with complex needs where a school based programme is not available for them. Further details are available on gov.ie/summerprogramme.