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Lack of Clarity about proposed Resource Allocation Model for Children with Special Educational Needs raised – Nolan

27 October, 2016

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Education and Skills Carol Nolan has raised concerns in relation to the proposed new model for resource teaching hours in an engagement with the National Council for Special Education at this morning’s Oireachtas Committee Meeting on Education and Skills.

Teachta Nolan said:

“The new resource allocation model has been designed in response to the fact that assessments for children are not carried out in a timely manner, causing huge delays in accessing critical resources.

“While I welcome genuine attempts to ensure that children with special educational needs are in a position to access resources within an appropriate time frame, there are serious concerns with the proposed model.

“The €18 million allocated for the model is insufficient as a department briefing states that €24 million would be required to implement the model in 2017.

 “The Department has also yet to publish the review of the pilot project of the proposed new model, which was carried out in 47 schools across the state last year.

 “It is an issue of concern that the details upon which schools will be allocated resources such as the educational profile and weighting systems have not yet been finalised.

“The fact that resources once allocated under the new model will remain fixed for two to three years raises questions about the flexibility to deal with students who enter the education system with special educational needs or who have needs that only come to light at a later stage in the school year.

“The implementation of the EPSEN act 2004 still remains critical and the National Council for Special Education has made it clear that the new resource allocation model is not a substitute for the implementation of the act in full.

“Despite this, it would appear that the Department of Education has abandoned the implementation of this act in the foreseeable future and there are concerns that this new model will become a permanent feature of our education system.

“I am calling on the Department to of Education to give a clear commitment that supports for children with special educational needs will be adequately resourced, that the EPSEN Act will be implemented in full, that the review of the pilot will be published and immediate action will be taken to clarify the details of the new allocation model prior to its introduction in schools next September.” 

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