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Minister Quinn welcomes publication of a proposed new model for allocating teaching resources for students with special educational needs

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., today welcomed the publication of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Report on a Proposed New Model for Allocating Teaching Resources for Students with Special Educational Needs.

This new model was developed by a working group established by the NCSE, chaired by former chief inspector in the Department, Eamon Stack. It follows policy advice issued by the NCSE in May of last year on Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs in Schools.

In an effort to ensure that special needs teaching resources are targeted at those children who need them most, the NCSE recommended that a new model should be developed for allocating such teachers.

This model takes into account the individual needs of pupils and the educational profile of schools when allocating teachers and removes the need for medical assessments before resources are allocated.

It recommends that the educational profile of schools should take into account:

· The number of students with complex special educational needs

· The percentages of students performing below a certain threshold on standardised test results.

· The social context of the school, including levels of disadvantage.

Minister Quinn said, “Together with my colleagues in Government, I will carefully review the recommendations contained in this report. In looking to implement any new model it is important that we both protect the gains that we have made in relation to special educational provision in recent years, while also seeking to improve provision.”

“To assist with the process of considering the report recommendations, the Department of Education and Skills will immediately begin to gather information required to develop the new model. I want to see how the proposed model will impact on schools and to be assured that these changes will actually benefit children and young people with special needs.”

“I understand that any proposed changes to the way that we allocate teaching resources to our children with special needs can cause anxiety to parents and schools. It is therefore my intention that there will be full and comprehensive consultation with stakeholders and education partners, including the parents of special needs children, in advance of any changes to the current model for allocating resource teachers to schools.”

In conclusion, Minister Quinn also thanked Eamon Stack and the Working Group members for their work.