It is open to any school to make an application to the NCSE for the establishment of special class. In most circumstances children enrol in special classes at the start of the school year. The National Council for Special education (NCSE) will sanction the relevant staffing resources once the school confirms enrolments. This minimises disruption for the child and allows time for a transition plan to be developed where a child is changing educational setting. It also ensures that resources are in place to support the child upon enrolment.
However, there are situations where new special class placements are required during the school year. Existing policy is flexible and allows new special class placements to be established at any point during the school year.
The NCSE, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.
The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.
The NCSE sanction special classes in schools at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure adequate provision is in place to meet need as it emerges.
The NCSE which advises me on policy in relation to special education matters is currently reviewing the educational provision for students with special educational needs. This review will look at current provision and make recommendations that will inform future policy. The review will be completed in June next year.