For the parents of deaf children campaigning for teaching supports at mainstream schools of their choice, here is an outline of two key education acts as a reference.
Ten Pieces Of Legislation (Ireland)
- Ten pieces of legislation cover education supports and hearing services in Ireland.
The two acts outlined below are completely separate from each other, but summarise the supports deaf children are entitled to, when attending mainstream schools in Ireland.
- The Salamanca Statement (1994, Spain)
- Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs (2004, Ireland)
The Salamanca Statement
This manifesto was drafted at the 1994 UNESCO World Conference on Special Needs Education. Ireland was among the more than 300 participants representing 92 governments and 25 international entities at this event.
Read the Salamanca summary (link above) on the website of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (UK) or download the full PDF from the UNESCO website.
A key point:
” regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminating attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all; moreover, they provide an effective education to the majority of children and improve the efficiency & ultimately the cost-effectiveness of the entire education system. “
The Sound Advice team knows that not all parents of deaf children want their child/ren to have a mainstream education, but educational options are a basic right.
Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004
Ireland’s EPSEN Act was drafted in 2004 under the NDA, but needs joined-up thinking in terms of policy making and service delivery. In particular, greater collaboration between the education and health sectors is needed. Government cuts in recent years drastically limited the potential for EPSEN provisions, to the end that the act can be rendered almost obsolete.
By October 2010, all sections of the EPSEN Act were to be completed in the five-year plan (2005) sent by the NCSE to the Department of Education (DES) in October 2006. This did not happen, despite the number of teachers supporting students with special-needs at mainstream schools, increasing to almost 7,800 in 2008, from under 2,000 in 1997 (DES #).
The NCSE offers an Appeals Process in relation to the 2010-2011 teaching year. Last April, an independent board of appeals for the cases of children with special educational needs, was found to not have heard a single case since set-up in April 2007 with funding from the Department of Education.
Many parents have emailed the Sound Advice team with concerns about their child’s resource teacher (service quality and attention in the classroom). If you are one of these parents, please tell your story here (posts and content can be anonymous) – or post to our Facebook wall.
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