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Special Educational Needs

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (413)

Mary Lou McDonald


413. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education when she expects the National Council for Special Education to complete and submit its policy advice on education provision in special classes and special schools first commissioned in September 2018. [61740/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In September 2018, the then Minister for Education and Skills requested the NCSE to advise on future educational provision for students in special schools and classes and to make recommendations on the provision required to enable them to achieve better outcomes.

The NCSE strives to ensure that its policy advice is informed by robust and wide-ranging consultative and research processes. Its policy advice is always informed by international best practice.

A lot of work has been done and NCSE published a progress report in November, 2019. At that stage, NCSE had reviewed existing educational provision in Ireland, conducted a detailed literature review, consulted various stakeholder groups and visited a number of Irish schools. NCSE had also looked at fully inclusive schools and practice in Canada and Portugal.

The report found that no evidence to show that one type of special education placement is better that another. It also stated that any decision to move towards greater inclusion would require careful consideration and planning. It is not something that could be achieved in the short term.

Since the publication of the progress report, NCSE has conducted further research and analysis, engaged in a public consultation survey and has received further submissions and expert inputs. It has also examined the implications arising from the UNCRPD.

Before the advice is finalised, every effort is being made to ensure that NCSE has consulted widely with a view to developing shared understandings on the critical issues involved and proposed solutions.

The policy advice is expected to be completed in early 2022.