The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Understanding Special Educational Provision in the Republic of Ireland: Implications for Support and Teaching Strategies

Michael Shevlin, School of Education Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)

Richard Rose, School of Education University of Northampton (United Kingdom)


This research describes a longitudinal study of special and inclusive education in Ireland. Data were collected from a national survey and field visits to primary, post-primary and special schools across the country. Illustrative case studies were developed in order to provide a picture of the influences of policy and provision on the experiences and outcomes for pupils with a diverse range of needs and abilities. The research suggests that there is a commitment to supporting the development of inclusive education provision in schools. Examples were seen of innovative teaching and the development of support systems that enable pupils to access both academic and social learning. Parents and schools were seen to experience difficulties in accessing psychological assessments to secure appropriate provision for children with SEN. Teacher confidence in addressing a range of SEN is variable and expertise in this area often resides with specialist teachers rather than across a whole teaching staff. For many pupils, access to therapeutic services is limited and others have difficulties availing of assistive technology. Many pupils with SEN make good progress through their schooling, though their academic attainment is often less than that of their peers. Pupils in general enjoy school and are well supported in their transition from primary to post-primary education. The implications of this research for developing appropriate supports and pedagogical strategies will be discussed.

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