The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D., today announced appointments to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) for 2019 – 2022.
The Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 provides that the Council shall comprise 13 members (at least 6 men and 6 women), including one Chairperson, all of whom are appointed by the Minister.
As the term of office of the current NCSE Council comes to an end on 31st December 2018 and in order to ensure that a Council is in place for the 1st January 2019 and has a quorum, it is necessary to make a number of appointments, in advance of completion of a selection process under the Public Appointments Service (PAS) which is currently underway.
As it is expected that this process will not be completed until early in the New Year, the Minister has appointed Mr Joe Hayes, member of the NCSE Council 2016 – 2018 as Chairperson Designate of the NCSE Council for 2019 to 2022. In accordance with the terms of the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, Chairpersons may be appointed as Chairperson Designate until the Oireachtas Committee approves the appointment.
On announcing the appointment of Mr. Hayes as Chairperson Designate today, the Minster said that:
“I welcome the appointment of Joe Hayes as Chairperson Designate of the NCSE Council. Joe brings considerable skills to the role both from his previous service as Ambassador in the Diplomatic Service, as member of the current NCSE Council and his strong interest in and personal knowledge of education of children and adults with special educational needs.”
The Minister also re-appointed four members of the out-going Council, who are eligible for re-appointment, having served only one term. The following members have been re-appointed:
- Ms Anne Tansey (Nominee of the Minister for Education and Skills)
- Mr Don Mahon (Nominee of the Minister for Education and Skills)
- Ms Aine Lynch (Nominee of the National Primary Parents Association)
- Ms Antoinette Nic Gearailt (Nominee of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools)
The remaining 8 vacancies will be filled early in the New Year from nominations by the National Disability Authority (required by section 21(4) (a) of the EPSEN Act 2004); nominations by relevant stakeholders, recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers and principals of schools, parent representatives (required by Section 21(3) of EPSEN Act) and from nominations under the PAS Process, including the Minister for Health’s nominee.
The NCSE is a Statutory Body with the structure and functions set out in the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004, with a 13 member Council which must consist of at least 6 men and at least 6 women. Its functions include:
- planning for, and co-ordinating, the provision of education for children with special educational needs and ensuring that a continuum of special educational provision is available conducting and carrying out research
- providing policy advice to the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to special education
- disseminating information, including best practice, on special education to parents, schools and other interested persons
- consult with voluntary bodies to ensure that their knowledge and expertise can inform the development of policy by the Council.
The Minister welcomed the new appointees and wished them well in their roles on the Council of NCSE over the next four years.
Note for Editor
Establishment and Role of the Agency
The National Council for Special Education was established under the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act, 2004 to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children. The NCSE provides advice and information on special education to schools and parents; allocates resource teacher and special needs assistant supports to schools; undertakes and disseminates research into special education; and provides policy advice to the Minister for Education and Skills on issues relating to special education. The NCSE also has advisory roles in relation to the provision of specialist equipment/assistive technology for students and special school transport arrangements.
The general functions of the Council are set out in Section 20 of the EPSEN Act.
In carrying out its functions under the Act, the Council is required to consult directly with stakeholders as necessary and to establish a formal national Consultative Forum representative of all the stakeholders. Further information on the work of the National Council for Special Education is available at www.ncse.ie.
There is no remuneration or fee for the position. Travel and Subsistence will be paid at the current Public Service rates.
Appointment of Chairperson
Under the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, November 2014), a chairperson may be appointed under the PAS process or outside this process where the "Minister has independently identified a person who is evidently and objectively highly-qualified and capable of effectively discharging the role of Chair of a State Board and who has not otherwise applied through the stateboards.ie process".
In accordance with the terms of the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, persons being proposed by Ministers for appointment as Chairpersons of State Bodies/Agencies are required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the Body or Board in question.
Chairpersons may be appointed as Chairperson Designate until the Oireachtas Committee approves the appointment.