Inclusive Education



Special Educational Needs

Section 2 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 requires that: 

A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that to do so would be inconsistent with:

  • The best interests of the child as determined in accordance with any assessment carried out under this Act
  • The effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated.”

In Ireland an inclusive education has been interpreted as providing a continuum of educational provision for students with special educational needs that encompasses mainstream classes, special classes in mainstream schools and special schools.

The National Council for Special Education is the independent statutory body with remit to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children. Its services to children and schools are delivered through a national network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) who interact with parents and schools and liaise with the HSE in providing resources to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE sanctions the provision of additional resources to schools – Special Education Teachers, Special Needs Assistants and assistive technology - and provides policy advice to the Minister for Education and Skills. 


Educational Disadvantage

Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) is a targeted intervention to support schools which have high levels of educationally disadvantaged students. The DEIS Plan 2017 sets out the Department of Education policy and supports for schools.

Currently, there are 198 second-level schools in DEIS.


English as an Additional Language 

The Department of Education provides additional resources to schools to assist students for whom English is an additional language.


Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy

The National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 takes a whole of Government approach to improving the lives of Travellers and Roma in Ireland in practical and tangible ways. It contains specific actions for the education of Traveller and Roma children.


HSE Assessment of Needs Process (AON)

Click here for Report of Education Needs for the Purpose of the Assessment of Need Disability Act 2005 - Circular 0025/2024.

NCSE - Guidance Notes for Schools - Click here