17 April, 2019 - Ministers McHugh and Halligan host final in series of Regional Stakeholder Forums

Final regional meeting to focus on Social Inclusion, Wellbeing, Access to Higher Education and Special Educational Needs

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Research and Development John Halligan T.D. will today (Wednesday April 17) host the final in a series of five regional forums with stakeholders in the education and skills sector. 

The Ministers have brought together a range of figures from the education sector to gather views and exchange ideas on the future direction of education policy within the areas of Social Inclusion and Special Education. There will also be a focus on access to Higher Education and in particular the National Access Plan and the progress review of the plan which outlines some key challenges which need to be addressed.

Today’s forum is being held in Waterford IT and will look at a wide range of issues including the provision of education for children with autism, the importance of inclusive education and the trial of the new School Inclusion Model for the upcoming school year to support students with special educational needs.

The forum will also focus on the role of DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the Department’s main policy initiative aimed at tackling educational disadvantage in primary and post primary schools. The Ministers will also gather views on the promotion of wellbeing and positive mental health in schools and how this can be improved which is addressed in the Action Plan for Education 2019.

Speaking ahead of the forum Minister McHugh said: “Today’s forum represents an important opportunity for engagement with those at the heart of the special education and higher education sectors and also the area of educational disadvantage. This Government recognises the importance of inclusive education for all and I look forward to hearing from all stakeholders at today’s event on how we can continue to meet the needs of these vital areas in education.”

Minister Halligan said: Education has the power to transform lives through the delivery of a quality learning experience that challenges every person to realise their potential, to raise their aspirations and to achieve their personal ambitions. We want to make our education and training system more flexible, innovative and responsive over the entire course of a person’s life and I am particularly delighted that this important event in Waterford will be attended by so many key regional stakeholders.”

Notes to Editor 

The five regional meetings focused on the following topics:

  • Education and Training Priorities 2019 -2021
  • Future Skills and Brexit
  • Special Educational Needs, Social Inclusion, Wellbeing and Access to Higher Education
  • Higher Education and Technological University Model
  • An Ghaeilge