11 Mar 2019, 11.05

The Joint Committee on Education and Skills will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3.30 in Committee Room 2, Leinster House to discuss the delivery of services for students with Down Syndrome.

Key Stakeholders from the Sector will come before the committee, including Down Syndrome Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills, Irish National Teachers' Organisation, The Association of Secondary Teachers and the Teachers' Union of Ireland.

Ahead of the meeting, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Committee Chairperson Fiona O’Loughlin TD, said: “The Committee is eager examine the challenges and opportunities for  students with Down Syndrome as they access educational services.

“The vast majority of children with Down syndrome en-roll in their local primary mainstream school. Children with Down syndrome are progressing to mainstream Post-Primary school, having had their Primary education in a mainstream setting.

“Students and teachers alike need our support. The success of inclusive education in Ireland is testament to the professionalism and commitment of teachers and other staff to students with special education needs.”

The Education for Persons Special Educational Needs Act, 2004 states that children with special educational needs should be educated, wherever possible, in an inclusive environment with children who have no such needs.

Furthermore, since September 2017, a new model for allocating special education teachers has been introduced for all mainstream primary and post primary schools. Under this allocation model schools are provided with a set level of special education teaching resources, based on the profiled need of their school.

Deputy O’Loughlin TD concluded: “The opportunity to engage with the expertise and insight of Down Syndrome Ireland, and similarly, the chance for the Committee to input directly with the Trade Unions which represents tens of thousands of teachers across the country is most welcome.”

Committee proceedings can be viewed live here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/cr2-live/

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Media enquiries

Alan Neary
Houses of the Oireachtas
Communications Unit
Leinster House
Dublin 2
+353 1 618 4743
+353 86 010 7500

Twitter: @OireachtasNews