Statement re. ASTI advice on IEPs

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Since the introduction of the EPSEN Act (2004) inclusive education has become a success story for Ireland.

The vast majority of students with special education needs are attending mainstream schools and are in mainstream classes*. This is despite the significant under-funding of Irish schools and a decade of austerity. The success of inclusive education in Ireland is testament to the professionalism and commitment of teachers and other staff to students with special education needs.

Despite recent advances and improvements, schools and teachers remain grossly unsupported. For example, the new Resource Allocation Model, which is in place since September 2017, has not been accompanied by training for all teachers.

Classroom teachers are extremely concerned that without the proper training, they do not have the skills to prepare and implement complex Individual Education Plans/ Student Support Files.

The ASTI advice to its members - that they do not prepare and implement Individual Education Plans/ Student Support Files - seeks to ensure that the Government delivers on its responsibilities to students with special education needs by equipping schools and teachers with the training and supports needed to deliver a fully inclusive education service.  

The ASTI believes that forcing teachers to engage in the preparation of extensive planning documentation without the necessary training and resources is unworkable. Moreover it has the potential to undermine much of the excellent work going on in the classroom with students with special education needs. We note that the other second-level teachers’ union (TUI) has the same concerns and has issued similar advice to its members.

Parents and students can be assured that teachers and schools will continue to provide a quality education to students with special education needs including differentiated teaching, feedback and assessment, assistance with communication, visual supports etc. 

*It is estimated that up to 25% of the student cohort are students with special education needs.