National Council for Special Education Pat Curtin CEO June 2005
Planning Group Report • November 2000 Planning Group recommended the establishment of The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Functions • Research and policy advisory function • Localised information dissemination, co-ordination and delivery of services
Establishment Of Council • June 2001 - Government approved establishment of NCSE. • June 2003 - Oireachtas approved Establishment Order. • December 2003- Minister appointed Council.
Membership of Council • 13 member Council • Members to have a special interest in or knowledge relating to the education of children with disabilities. • Membership to include two nominees of the NDA. • Minister may include up to four persons nominated by parent associations, school management and teacher Unions.
Members of Council Tom Murray Chairman Christy Lynch Maisie Dooley Mary Keane Sinead McLoughlin PJ Gannon Frankie Berry Michael Shevlin Mary Grogan Gearoid O Conluain Antoinette Buggle Brendan Ingoldbsy Vacancy
Functions of the Council • (a) carry out research and provide expert advice to the Minister • (b)provide for a range of services at local and national level • (c)co-ordinate, with health boards, schools and other relevant bodies, the provision of education and related support services to children with disabilities.
Special Education Needs Organisers • 80 posts located all around the country. • 71 Started September 2004. • Some vacancies due to last minute refusals. Vacancies are currently being filled, • Letters issued to schools informing them of assignments of SENOs
Deployment of SENO’s • Each SENO has been assigned responsibility for specified Primary, Post-Primary and Special Schools within a geographical area. • Each SENO has been assigned schools catering for approx. 10,000 school going population. • Estimated case load – 400. • Accommodation in variety of convenient locations – Regional Offices, Institutes of Technology and Schools.
Deployment of SENO’s(Cont.) • Aim is to have SENOs responsible for Primary Schools and the Post-Primary Schools which they feed. • Assignments to be kept under review until patterns emerge. • Alignment with health board areas as far as possible.
Functions of SENO’s • Key function is organising. • Organising assessments, IEP’s, resources and supports. • Liaising with parents, planning intakes to primary schools, transfer to post-primary and exit from post-primary schools. • Deciding on resource allocation to schools within policy parameters. (teaching, SNA) • Recommending the appropriate provisions in relation to accommodation, equipment and transport within the policy framework.
Functions of SENO’s(Cont.) • In time advising schools/teachers on best practice, teaching aids, - best practice generally. • Gathering data on special educational needs students to facilitate better planning and targeting of resources. • Negotiating solutions locally. • Meeting disability interest groups. • Liaising with Parents, Schools HSE in relation to, assessments, education plans and support services.
Transfer of Functions • Functions in relation to the allocation of resources transferred to the Council with effect from 1 January 2005 • SENOs receiving applications from schools and conveying teacher and SNA resource decisions • Making recommendations to Department re other issues
ResearchFunction • Council Developing Research Programme • Recruitment of Head of Research • Clarification from Department on status of recent reports
Advisory Function • Advice based on research and best international practice • Council’s experience in implementing current policy • Stakeholders Views
THE DIFFERENCE • A clear focus on the needs of the child and how these needs may be met • Efficient resource allocation to schools • Better interaction with and involvement of parents and schools in decision making process • Independent Research and Advice
Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 Purpose To make detailed provision through which the education of persons who have special educational needs because of disabilities can be guaranteed as a right enforceable in law.
Education for Persons With Special Educational Needs Act 2004 Principal Provisions • Assessment (Section 3, 4, 5,6) • Inclusive Education (Section 2) • I.E.P’s (Section 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12) • Duty of Schools (Section 14) • Designation of Schools (S 10) • Provision of Services (Section 7) • Implementation of Education Policy by Health Boards (Section 16, 17, 39) • Establishment of NCSE (Section 19 to 50) • NCSE to prepare Implementation Report (Section 23) • Establishment of Special Education Appeals Board (Section 36, 37) • Provision of independent mediation by ministerial regulations (Section 38) • Maintenance of records (Section 41)
KEY DEFINITIONS • “Child” means a person not more than 18 years of age. • “Special educational needs” means, in relation to a person, a restriction in the capacity of the person to participate in and benefit from education on account of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or learning disability or any other condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without that condition and cognate words shall be construed accordingly.
Inclusion • Section 2 • Education alongside other children who do not have special educational needs • Unless inconsistent with the best interest of the child OR • the effective provision of education for the other children
Assessment • Assessments are deemed to include an evaluation and statement of the nature and extent of disability and an evaluation and statement of the necessary services • Assessment by persons possessing such expertise as Health Board, Council or Principal thinks fit.
Assessment (contd.) • Can include: - Psychologist - Medical Practitioner - Principal or Teacher - Social Worker - Therapist • Principal, Council or Health Board may organise assessments • Principal shall ensure that assessments are carried out in accordance with guidelines issued by the Council. • Council and Health Board must: - obtain consent of parents in writing. – Principal is required to consult with parents in advance • Health Board to carry out assessment of pre-school children • Independent body to be established by the Minister for Health to establish the standards for all assessments.
Education Plans • Guidelines on form of EP to be issued by the Council but shall include specified matters listed in Section 9 • These include; • nature and degree of child’s abilities, skills, talent • Nature of disability • How disability affects educational progress • Present level of performance • Special educational needs • Special supports needed • Goals over a 12 month period or less
Education Plans (contd) • Council may prepare and publish guidelines in relation to the supports appropriate to various categories of disabilities. • EP may be prepared by either the Principal or the Council.
Duty of Schools / Principals • To take practical measures to meet educational needs of students who are not progressing as their peers. • To adopt a policy of inclusive education (S.14) • Arrange assessments (S.3) • Comply with the standards for assessment set by the Minister for Health. • Consult with parents (S.3) • Consult with Council/SENO. • Prepare EP’s (S.3) • Review EP’s. • Co-operate with Council (S.3) • Ensure employees of school are aware of the special educational needs of pupils and the importance of identifying pupils with special educational needs.
Provision of Services • Provision of services may be through the Council or Health Board as appropriate. • The Act does not confer authority on the Council in relation to resource provision. There is provision for the Minister to confer additional authority and functions on the Council in relation to service provision. • Disputes between the Council and Health Boards will be referred to the Appeals Board. • Council and Health Boards shall implement Appeal Board findings.
Implementation of Education Policy by Minister for Health and Health Boards • Minister for Health and Children obliged to make resources available in the same way as the Minister for Education and Science (S.13). • A Health Board shall implement education policies and support service policies formulated by either the Minister for Education or the Minister for Health. • Council may following consultation with a Health Board seek specific assistance from a Board. • If the Health Board declines the Council may appeal to the Appeals Board.
Implementation of Education Policy by Minister for Health and Health Boards Cont. • A Health Board shall comply with the appeal decision. • Health Boards shall have primary responsibility for pre-school and over 18s. • Health Board may in such cases seek specific help from Council. • If the Council declines the appeals mechanism operates as in the case of a refusal by the Health Board.
Establishment of NCSE • Gives Statutory effect to the establishment of the Council already set up by order. • Defines roles and functions. • Outlines accountabilities. • Sets out membership . • Sets out consultation requirements – consultative forum, expert committees. • Allows it to operate within the policy framework decided by the Minister for Education. • Provides that NCCA consult with Council prior to advising Minister under section 41 (2) (f) of the Education Act 1998.
NCSE to prepare Implementation Report • Prepare an implementation report within 12 months of establishment (S.23) • Outline steps that must be taken to implement the Act within a 5 year period. • Specify a date for each provision. • Provide estimates of resources needed to implement each section of the Act. • Consider and advise on interim arrangements pending full implementation of the report.
Specific Functions under the Act • Organise Assessments in certain circumstances • Arrange preparation of Education Plans • Monitor review of plans • Liaise with parents • Liaise with schools, health authorities, service providers. • Undertake research • Advise the Minister for Education
Establishment of Special Education Appeals Board • Independent Body – Appointed by the Minister • Hear appeals under Act • Membership not specified • May sit in Divisions • May appoint own staff • Shall assist parties to reach agreement through mediation • Must perform its functions in accordance with policies set under S.12(2) of Act. • Hearings to be conducted with a minimum of formality • Appeals to be heard within 30 days of receipt by the Board
Commencement of Act • Act was signed by President on 19 July 2004 • Minister required to sign order establishing NCSE before the anniversary
Implications for School Planning • Need to include provision for informing all staff in relation to needs of special education pupils • Plan the identification of pupils with Special Education Needs • Plan inclusive education • Plan the involvement of parents in decision making • Plan appropriate inservice training/familiarisation for all staff • Plan Communication arrangements with NCSE, NEPS, HSE, Feeder Schools • Plan management of special resources
Planning (cont) • Plan assessments • Plan preparation and review of EPs • Plan Special Education Management
THANK YOU Pat Curtin