A new model for allocating special education teachers (SETs) to mainstream schools was introduced from September 2017, based on the profiled needs of schools. Over 13,600 SETs are currently provided to mainstream schools to support the learning needs of pupils who have additional needs in literacy, including those arising from specific learning difficulties.
It is the policy of my Department, in accordance with the principles of inclusive education, that pupils with such additional learning needs are supported in mainstream classes with additional provision made by a special education teacher.
In September 2018, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) was requested to develop Policy Advice on Education Provision in Special Classes and Special Schools to examine whether placement in specialist settings brings about improved educational outcomes and experiences, relative to their ability, for students with special educational needs.
This Policy Advice is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.
My Department is also arranging for a review of the policy on reading classes and schools. This review will inform future policy for supporting children with special educational needs and the place of this specialist provision in those supports.