The Department of Education and Skills today (27.03.19) announced the trial of a new ‘School Inclusion Model’ which aims to build schools’ capacity to include children with additional needs and to provide other supports for pupils.
The need for comprehensive therapy supports in schools is something Inclusion Ireland has called for in numerous submissions to the Department of Education and Skills.
Supports are required at all levels of the education system to ensure that children and young people with disabilities receive an inclusive education and are supported to reach their full potential.
Seventy-five schools, both primary and post-primary, in Kildare, Wicklow and South Dublin are being invited to participate in the trial. Following an evaluation of the Model and incorporating learning from the pilots, the Model should be expanded to other parts of the country.
The announcement of this new Model, however, does not mask the lengthy waiting lists for many families waiting to get their child assessed, some of whom have resorted to the courts to compel the HSE to assess their children.
Additionally, a shortage of therapists within the health services is an ongoing problem. It is widely acknowledged that a delay in early intervention for children with additional support needs leads to a higher cost down the line for education and missed opportunities for children and young people.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stresses that: ‘inclusive education is a fundamental human right of every child with a disability. An inclusive education system is one that accommodates all students whatever their abilities or requirements, and at all levels'.
Read the press release from the Department of Education at this link