The policy of this Department is that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.
Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.
This policy has been informed by published research, including the Report of the Task Force on Autism (2001), the Evaluation of Educational Provision for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (2006) and National Council for Special Education (NCSE) policy advice on Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2016).
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs. This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where the NCSE identifies need.
The NCSE works with families and schools to ensure that advance planning is in place so that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.
Where there is no suitable placement available for a child with Special Educational Needs, Home Tuition Grant funding to provide a compensatory educational service for their child. The availability of a suitable school placement is assessed by the NCSE having regard to, although not limited to, the relevant diagnosis and relevant professional reports.
By its nature, the grant is intended to be a short term intervention and should not be regarded as an optional alternative to a school placement.
The Home Tuition grant will not available where the NCSE confirm that an available placement has been identified to Parents. Failure to enrol a child in an identified placement will not give rise to eligibility under the scheme.
The NCSE has been requested to review the circumstances of this case and engage with the family directly regarding the childrens educational needs.