Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (317)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

317. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the inspection requirements of teachers concerning individual education plans. [13150/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In 2017, the Department published Guidelines for primary and post-primary schools to support their work in meeting the needs of children with special educational needs. These Guidelines emphasise the importance of educational planning. This is in the context of ensuring that the children with the greatest level of need receive the greatest level of support. The level of support required by a student will depend on the needs identified. To this end, supports may be provided for all students, for some students or for a few students. Tools such as the Student Support File, developed by the National educational Psychological Service (NEPS), are intended to equip schools to undertake such work.

At the level of the individual student, the plan which is put in place should be developed through a collaborative process involving relevant teachers, parents/guardians, the pupils themselves and external professionals, as necessary. The plan should include clear, measurable learning targets relating to priority learning needs, and specify the resources and interventions that will be used to address student needs in line with the Continuum of Support process. While class and subject teachers in primary and in post-primary schools retain overall responsibility for the provision of education to their students, in most instances special education teachers will lead and develop the student’s support plan. As outlined in the Guidelines for schools, by using the Student Support File and the Continuum of Support process effectively, special education teachers can be confident that the priorities they have identified for the students are appropriate to the needs and most likely to advance learning. The planning process for students should include regular reviews of learning targets as part of an ongoing cycle of assessment, target setting, intervention and review.

The Looking at our School 2016 quality framework, which is used to inform the work of inspectors as they monitor and report on quality in schools makes clear that inspectors review the quality of both teachers’ preparation and planning for teaching, and their teaching practice in light of the published Guidelines. The extent to which inspectors focus on plans for students varies depending on the focus of the inspection model in use in any inspection. For example, in conducting specialised evaluations of provision for children with special educational needs at either primary or post-primary levels, inspectors will have regard to, inter alia, the manner in which teachers’ plans, either for individuals or groups as appropriate, identify clear, relevant learning objectives that are contextualised to pupils’ learning needs and the extent to which those plans facilitate appropriate provision for the learners concerned.

Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 315.