My colleague, Minister for Education Richard Bruton has introduced a new system for the allocation of Special Education Teachers. The changes will be introduced from September 2017. The new model will be a fairer and better way to allocate resources to support children with Special Educational Needs.
Special Education teachers will be allocated to schools on the basis of the profiled educational needs of each school.
The new allocation model, which has been devised by a working group established by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and further developed by the Department of Education and Skills in close collaboration with parents, teachers, disability representatives and other stakeholders, is aimed at providing better outcomes for children with special educational needs.
Key Features of the New Model for Allocating Special Education Teachers to Schools
- Additional provision for 900 extra teaching posts is being made available for 2017 to support the introduction of a new allocation model.
- This will also ensure that no school will receive an allocation for special educational needs support on the introduction of the new model which is less than the allocation the school received in the current 2016/17 school year.
- Where additional need has been identified, schools will receive additional allocations.
- Up to 1000 schools will receive additional allocations
- The remaining schools, regardless of what their school profiles indicate, will not receive allocations less than they currently have.
- No school who had previously been in receipt of an allocation for a child with a low incidence special educational need will see a reduction in its allocation for that child.
- Schools will receive earlier allocations, receiving a single allocation for special educational teaching resources in January of each year, as opposed to a staggered allocation process.
- Schools will receive one allocation per year as opposed to a number of different allocations: the new model will replace the existing system of General Allocations combined with NCSE allocations, with a single profiled allocation model for schools.
- This will allow schools to plan and timetable at an earlier stage.
- It will reduce the administrative burden on schools. Schools will no longer have to complete an application process annually.
- Schools will no longer have to wait for assessments for children to receive supports in schools.
- Children who need support can have that support provided immediately rather than having to wait for a diagnosis.
- The new model will give greater autonomy to schools to allocate resources to the pupils who most need these resources, regardless of their diagnosis.
- Schools will now be able to allocate resources to pupils taking into account their learning needs as opposed to being constrained by a diagnosis of disability and this is something that is welcomed by almost all parental and disability representative bodies.
- Schools will be frontloaded with resources, based on each schools profile, to provide supports immediately to those pupils who need it without delay.
- The introduction of the new model will give certainty to schools about their allocations for the coming years instead of the uncertainty caused by an annual application process.
- The combination of a baseline allocation based on school size and profiled allocation will give a fairer allocation for each school which recognises that all schools need an allocation for special needs support but which provide a graduated allocation which takes into account the actual level of need and pupils in each school.
- The introduction of the model enables NEPS psychologists and HSE professionals to focus more on assessment for intervention, and review, including guidance on evidence informed programmes, rather than assessment to determine eligibility for resource allocation.