Pilot Project for Schools
Minister Jan O’Sullivan TD today announced that a Pilot of the New Model for Allocating Resource Teachers to Schools will be put in place for September 2015.
In February of this year, following consultations with education partners, the Minister announced that she was not proposing to change the way resource teachers are allocated to schools to support children with Special Educational Needs for the coming school year.
Through consultations, there was a broad welcome for the proposed new model from Parents, disability groups, schools and stakeholders. However, there had not been sufficient time to address all of the concerns which have been raised in advance of the 2015 school year.
The Minister therefore asked her Department to design a pilot of the new model, which schools could opt into on a voluntary basis.
Minister O’Sullivan announced today, that following further consultations with education partners, a pilot of the new model will be put in place in a number of schools from September 2015.
The main features of the pilot model will be:
- Approximately 50 Schools (30 primary schools and 20 post primary schools) will participate in the pilot project.
- No participating school will experience a reduction in their resource teaching allocation during the pilot.
- Schools which are due to gain allocations based on their profile under the new model will receive these increases.
- A representative selection of schools, including large and small, primary and post primary schools from both rural and urban settings in both advantaged and disadvantaged communities is being used in order to ensure that as full a range of schools as possible is represented.
- Schools will be invited to participate in the pilot project and participation will be on a voluntary basis.
- Schools participating in the pilot project will receive assistance and support from the NCSE Inclusion Support Service, the Inspectorate and from the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS).
- Pilot schools will receive guidance from the Department in relation to how to utilise support teaching allocations under the pilot.
- The pilot will test the utilisation of resources by schools and the distribution and management of those resources by schools to support all pupils with learning needs in schools, taking into account their level of need, regardless of any particular disability diagnosis, as envisaged by the NCSE Working Group Report.
- The pilot will be the subject of review by the NCSE and DES Inspectorate.
- The pilot will allow for the practical effect of the application of the new resource teacher allocation model in schools to be gauged. It will allow for the testing of the guidance and supporting materials for schools
- The learning experiences of schools, principals, or pupils will also be evaluated.
The Minister said: “I am pleased be able to announce today that not only am I providing additional resource teaching supports to schools for the coming school year, but that we are also continuing to develop the new resource allocation model.”
Increase in Resource Teacher Numbers
Minister O’Sullivan today also announced that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) will increase its allocation of Resource Teacher Posts to schools by over 9% for the start of the coming school year.
The NCSE will allocate 6,454 resource teacher posts to schools for September 2015, which is an increase of 554 posts - or 9.4% - since September 2014.
The Minister said: “I welcome the fact, that even in the constrained economic circumstances we have faced in recent years, we have been able to continue to meet the needs of children with special educational needs attending our schools.
“This year we have again increased the number of Resource Teachers which will be allocated to schools, keeping pace with both demographic growth and increased demand.”
The NCSE will today publish details of the allocations which will be made to each individual school on the NCSE website ncse.ie.
The NCSE will also have a second round allocation process to respond to late enrolments, or from diagnosed disabilities emerging after the closing date for the first allocation round, to the start of the new school year.