Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (223)

Clare Daly

Question:

223. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 186 and 216 of 30 April 2014, if he was aware when he made his reply of the recent ESRI-NCSE report which raised concerns over the extent to which teachers have the appropriate skills and qualifications to meet the needs of children with ASD and if he will share the documents he received from the Teaching Council that address the concerns raised by the ESRI-NCSE report with regard to the skills and qualifications. [22414/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The report to which the Deputy refers is a major report on special classes in Irish schools 'Understanding Special Class Provision in Ireland' and was published on-line by the NCSE and the ESRI on May 8th last. The report is based on a national survey of schools undertaken by researchers at the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin for the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). The report is the first output from a two-part research study on special classes. Part two involves a more in-depth look at special classes in a number of case study schools and, among other things, will collect information about the skills and qualifications of special class teachers in case study schools. Part two of the study will be completed in 2015. The NCSE will then consider the findings from this study as part of its role in providing policy advice to my Department.

The issue of teacher skills and qualifications in relation to supporting students with special educational needs in mainstream schools was also addressed in the NCSE policy advice to my Department, 'Supporting Students with Special Educational Needs in Schools', published in May 2013. Recommendations relating to teacher education and training have been referred to the Teaching Council for consideration. My reply to PQs 186 and 216 of 30 April 2014 refers to the general responsibility of the Teaching Council for the registration of teachers and accreditation of teacher education programmes and not to any specific documents. I am satisfied that the Teaching Council takes relevant research, reports and policies into account in making its decisions.