On 27th March I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model – a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs.
The School Inclusion Model, supported by €4.75m funding allocated in Budget 2019, aims to build schools’ capacity to include children with additional needs and to provide other supports for pupils.
The achievement of better education and life outcomes for all children including those with special needs is a key element of Government policy. In 2019, over €1.87 billion will be invested in Special Education, nearly one fifth of the overall Education budget, and up 49% since 2011.
Seventy-five schools, both primary and post-primary, in Kildare, Wicklow and South Dublin have been invited to participate in this new package of education and health supports to be piloted and evaluated in the 2019/20 school year.
One feature of the School Inclusion Model is the continuation of the In-school Therapy Demonstration Project which provides access to therapy supports for schools and students on a tiered basis delivered by qualified speech and language and occupational therapists.
Another element of the pilot is an enhanced Regional Support Team for schools in the pilot, under the auspices of the National Council for Special Education, which will include speech and language and occupational therapists.
As set out in my Department’s Circular 0030/2014, while it is appropriate for SNAs to assist students to access therapy support in school, or to assist a therapist in providing support for a child or assist the child to perform therapy tasks directed by a therapist, SNAs are not responsible for the management or provision of therapy services in view of the particular skillset required to deliver therapeutic interventions.