School Inclusion Model Steering Group

Who we are

School Inclusion Model Steering Group

What we do

A Steering Group to advise, monitor and oversee the development, coordination and implementation of the trialling of a new School Inclusion Model as approved by Government on 12 February 2019.

Expected timeframe for the group to conclude its work: Ongoing for the duration of the SIM.

Terms of Reference

€4.75m was allocated in Budget 2019 to support implementation of the recommendations made by National Council for Special Education (NCSE) in its Policy Advice Paper No. 6, “Comprehensive Review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme – A new School Inclusion Model to deliver the right supports at the right time to students with additional care needs”. The Secretary General of the Department of Education & Skills is responsible for accounting for these funds in line with the Public Financial Procedures and the duties of the Accounting Officer as outlined in the Comptroller and Audit General (Amendment) 1993.

The Department for Education & Skills is the lead Department responsible for the planning and implementation of the recommendations, including responsibility for delivery on time and on budget. A high level Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out roles and responsibilities for the trialling of the School Inclusion Model will be drawn up and agreed between the Departments of Education & Skills, Health, Children and Youth Affairs, the NCSE and the HSE. There will be a strong emphasis on integration of services across the sectors with the shared objective of improving outcomes for children through enhanced access to services to deliver the right support, at the right time by the right person. The MOU will be informed by the experience and evaluation of the therapy demonstration project which is underway.

A Steering Group is being established to advise, monitor and oversee the development, coordination and implementation of the trialling of a new School Inclusion Model as approved by Government on 12 February 2019.

The Group will be chaired by the Department of Education and Skills’ (Assistant Secretary General with responsibility for Special Education), and comprise high level representation from the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform; Health; and Children and Youth Affairs.

The Group will provide a forum for the lead actors with responsibility for delivering the actions underlying the model to agree it’s planning and delivery.

The Group will have the following functions:

a)      Provide a forum to consider the component parts of the Implementation Plan for the development of the School Inclusion Model, together with identification of project objectives, outcomes, targets, timeframes, progress indicators to be monitored, action leads, action lead deliverables and setting a clear escalation process if issues arise in the delivery of any action(s);

b)      Monitor and review progress on actions and provide guidance as necessary including clarification of roles and responsibilities, if required;

c)       While overall responsibility for governance and accountability of the new model will remain with the Department of Education and Skills the group will provide a forum to ensure effective governance, accountability, evaluation and inter-agency arrangements are in place;

d)      Review the communication and consultative arrangements necessary for consistent messaging and effective policy development and implementation;

e)      Provide a forum where relevant policy issues are discussed and clarified and be a clearing house for reports to Government; and

f)       Review the scope of and plan for evaluation.

A Working Group (WG) with agreed Terms of Reference will be established to support the Steering Group (SG) in carrying out its functions. The WG will report to the SG. Sub-groups of the Working Group, which will report to the WG unless otherwise agreed by the SG, will be established. They will include evaluation, workforce planning, training, nursing-led service and such other groups as may be established from time to time by the Steering Group. Each such sub-group will be provided with terms of reference and timeframes for their work.

It is anticipated that the SG will meet monthly initially and thereafter quarterly or otherwise as agreed. A schedule of meetings will be agreed.


Designated Public Official (DPO): Dalton Tattan, Assistant Secretary General, DES

Dalton Tattan, Assistant Secretary General, DES (Chair)                 

Patricia Coleman, DPER

Eddie Ward, DES

Kathleen MacLellan, DOH

Bernie McNally, DCYA

Teresa Griffin, NCSE

Anne Tansey, NEPS

Cathal Morgan, HSE

Mary O’Kelly, HSE

Anne Vaughan, Independent

The secretariat to the Group will be provided by the Department of Education and Skills.

The trialling of the new school inclusion model will comprise the following:

1. Establishment of a pilot of a new service model for children with special educational and additional care needs involving up to 75 participating schools in the Community Healthcare Organisation area (CHO 7). The pilot is planned to cover the 2019/20 school year. The new service model would have the following elements:

(a)  the introduction of a new frontloaded allocation model of SNAs to be allocated in line with profiled need having regard to the approach taken by the New Allocation Model for Special Education Teachers which was introduced in September 2017;

(b)  the expansion of the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) to support pilot schools; and

(c)  continuation of the pre-school and in-school demonstration project in the pilot area to ensure a wrap-around service for the pilot schools.

2. Establishment, on a pilot basis, of an NCSE Regional Support Team in the Community Healthcare Organisation area (CHO 7) in which the pilot is to take place, to include specialists in relevant disciplines, in order to inform teacher Continuing Professional Development and best practice in schools in that area;

3. The development of a National Training Programme for SNAs and a pilot roll-out;

4. The provision of a nursing service for children with complex medical needs in schools to complement existing HSE-supported nursing provision; and

5. The trialling in the NCSE of a new functional operating model in order to better reflect the establishment of the NCSE Support Service and regional teams, and to more fully integrate supports for the piloting of the new model.


Meetings documentation



Address: Department of Education and Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath D01 RC96

Phone: (090) 6484187

See Also