Special Schools funded by my Department are intended to cater for children and young persons with complex special educational needs from the age of 4 years until the end of the school year in which they reach their 18th year.
Some people with a disability, over the age of 18, and who have complex needs, may require specialised support throughout their lives. Ongoing care and support services within the community, in a post school setting, are provided by voluntary or statutory organisations. Responsibility for such care and support rests with the HSE.
Special school staff typically have extensive engagement with parents, HSE multi-disciplinary teams and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) which involves planning for the child’s future, including options for further education, training, employment or other placement options subject to the child’s abilities, including the young person’s transition to adult services when they reach the age of 18 years.
It is important to note that students with complex special educational needs who transfer to adult service settings can continue to participate in educational programmes through Further Education - adult educational programmes or in adult settings which are allocated resources towards educational provision.
A special school may, subject to application, retain students over the age of 18 years who are pursuing courses leading to accreditation on the National Qualifications Framework (Junior Certificate/Leaving Certificate Applied/FETAC 3); for an additional year in order to complete these courses.
Subject to the fulfilment of the criteria outlined above, special schools are invited to make applications, in January each year. My Department may then exempt a school from the provisions of Rule 64(1) of the Rules for National Schools for a student.
Additional associated services for students over the age of 18, such as school transport, capitation and teaching resources, will only be considered in respect of those students for whom an exemption from Rule 64(1) of the Rules for National Schools has been granted by the Department of Education and Skills, allowing the school to retain such students for an additional school year.
My Department received an application from the school for the student referred to by the Deputy, for an exemption from Rule 64(1) for the 2019/2020 school year. As the student does not meet the criteria for retention outlined above, it is not possible to allow their retention for an additional school year. I understand that there is a place available for this young person in HSE Adult Day Services.
Any review of the decision in this case would only take place on receipt of a request from the school.
Correspondence in this case will be replied to as soon as possible.