Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (61)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

61. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether the school inclusion model is fit for purpose, providing the necessary resources for children with additional needs and not placing undue pressure on schools to manage the provision of the resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47386/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

On 27th March I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model, a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs, which is being piloted in 75 schools in the Kildare/Wicklow/South Dublin region in the current school year.

The School Inclusion Model aims to build schools’ capacity and to provide the right supports at the right time for students with additional needs.

The School Inclusion Model pilot, comprises the trialling of:

- a frontloaded SNA allocation model based on schools’ profiled need having regard to the special education teacher allocation model introduced in 2017;

- an expanded National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) to support pilot schools;

- the continuation of the Preschool and In-school Therapy Demonstration Project in the pilot area to ensure a wrap-around service for the pilot schools;

- the establishment of an NCSE Regional Support team in the pilot area to include speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour practitioners, in order to inform teacher Continuing Professional Development and best practice in schools;

- the development of a national training programme for SNAs with pilot roll-out; and

- the provision of nursing support for children with complex medical needs in schools. 

A comprehensive independent evaluation of the pilot will be undertaken. This is required to test the effectiveness of the model and to provide guidance on issues to consider in any potential mainstreaming of the School Inclusion Model.