Home > Circulars For Autistic Rights To Special Education

Circulars For Autistic Rights To Special Education

circulars special education

 

Circulars are documents that the Department of Education will issue from time to time on different issues. They inform schools and their Boards of Management about new rules around pupil’s welfare, child protection, as well as advice on how to provide for pupils with SENs.  

 

Several circulars spell out important provisions for autistic pupils’ rights to education and welfare. It is a good idea for families to familiarise themselves with these circulars so they can effectively advocate for their child. We have set out the relevant circulars below.

 

Circular No 0051/2007 – Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 and Disability Act 2005

This document sets out the basic rules for providing special education to teaching staff for their pupils. It is a core document and outlines some of the crucial services, including: 

Circular No 0013/2017 – Special Education Teaching Allocation – Primary

 

This circular outlines the purpose and role of the SNA scheme, namely in relation to: 

  • the primary care needs SNAs support is usually provided for; 
  • the secondary care associated tasks which SNAs may often perform, and;
  • the role of a Resource Teacher and how SNAs support these teachers.

 

SNA support is provided in recognised primary and post primary schools only; it is not provided in centres which are not recognised schools. 

 

It should not be assumed that all children with special educational needs will immediately qualify for an SNA – the SNA scheme’s purpose is to provide for pupils with significant primary care needs. Duties which may fall under secondary care associated tasks may include: 

  • preparing a workspace for a pupil’ 
  • assisting with an IEP/SSF, with a particular focus on developing a care plan to meet the care needs of the pupil concerned and the review of such plans, and; 
  • liaising with class teachers and other teachers such as the resource teacher and school principal, attending meetings with parents, SENO, NEPS Psychologists, or school staff meetings with the agreement and guidance of classteacher/principal.

 

For more information, see the circulars’ text in full on the Department of Education and Skills’ website here: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0030_2014.pdf

 

Circular No 0013/2017 – Special Education Teaching Allocation – Primary

This circular updates schools on the new allocation model for special education teachers. It applies to all mainstream schools in the country from the 2017/18 academic year and on. 

 

The new model provides a single allocation method for SENs teaching to each school, based on that school’s educational profile. This is so that schools may provide additional teaching support to their pupils who may need it.

 

It also tries to ensure greater certainty over the resources available to schools when attempting to meet their pupils’ SEN. Better timetabling an autonomy will allow for schools to plan in advance of the next academic year, in this regard.

 

The additional resources being provided to support this model means that no school will lose special educational teaching resources, on the introduction of this model, while extra resources will be placed in schools where the profile indicates that needs are greatest.

 

For more information, see the circulars’ text in full on the Department of Education and Skills’ website here: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0013_2017.pdf

 

Circular No 0014/2017 – Special Education Teaching Allocation – Post Primary

This circular updates schools on the new allocation model for special education teachers. It applies to all mainstream schools in the country from the 2017/18 academic year and on. It contains much of the same information as the preceding circular 0013/2017 for primary schools

 

For more information, see the circulars’ text in full on the Department of Education and Skills’ website here: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0014_2017.pdf

 

Circular No 0007/2019 – Special Education Teaching Allocation (Primary)

 

This circular sets out new rules for allocating special education teachers in primary schools, as well as the criteria for different schools’ profiles when updating their rules. It updates the original guidelines set out in Circular No 0014/2017.

 

The new allocation model was developed to address these inadequacies by creating a profile for each school, which is needs-based, and seeks to give schools autonomy to decide how to deploy the resources they have.

 

With regards to special education, the new model is designed to distribute, at regular intervals, the total available number of special educational teachers across the school system, based on the profiled needs of schools at the time of the review.

 

The circular goes on to explicitly state that there will be no reduction to the overall number of special education teaching posts within the school system.

 

For more information on the new allocation model, visit the Department’s website: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0007_2019.pdf

 

Circular No 0008/2019 – Special Education Teaching Allocation (Post-

Primary)

 

This circular sets out new rules for allocating special education teachers in post-primary schools, as well as the criteria for different schools’ profiles when updating their rules.. It contains much of the same information as the preceding circular 0008/2019 for primary schools. 

 

For more information on this circular, visit its text in full on DES’ website: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0053_2019.pdf

 

Circular No 0043/2019 – Home Tuition Grant Scheme 2019/2020 – Special Education Component

 

This circular sets out for parents and families on what resources are available to help provide an education to their children with SENs at home, including those who are autistic. 

 

The Grant covers three different categories, including: 

  • Early Intervention for autistic children; 
  • Children with SENs seeking a school place, and;
  • Students enrolled in schools with a significant condition or phobia that will cause disruption to their usual attendance.

A specific criteria is attached to each category which applicants must satisfy to successfully receive the Grant. 

 

It is also worth noting that the Scheme is not an alternative to a school placement and is provided in very limited and specific circumstances. The resources provided under it are allocated on an interim period until a suitable school place is found. When a place is available, the Grant will discontinue. 

 

For more information on the Grant, visit the Department’s website: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0043_2019.pdf

 

Circular No 0052/2019 – Exemptions from the study of Irish – revising circular 0012/1996 (Primary)

 

This circular sets out advice to primary schools on the procedures and the criteria to meet for a pupil seeking an exemption from studying Irish. Circular 0053/2019 sets out the same information for post-primary schools. 

 

The decision to grant an exemption rests with a school’s Principal, and is only considered in exceptional circumstances, yet a Principal must make the decision in close consultation with the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s), their class teacher, their SNA, and the pupil themselves. 

 

For a detailed explanation of the criteria for meeting an Irish Language Exemption, and the appeals process, see the Irish Language Exemption section under our Education chapter (pg.XX).

 

The circular does not apply to bunscoileanna and gaelscoileanna, or Irish-medium schools, where their curriculum is conducted entirely through Irish.

 

For more information on this circular, visit its text in full on DES’ website:

https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0052_2019.pdf

 

Circular No 0053/2019 – Exemptions from the study of Irish – revising circular 0012/1996 (Post-Primary)

 

This circular sets out advice to post-primary schools on the procedures and the criteria to meet for a pupil seeking an exemption from studying Irish. It contains much of the same information as the preceding circular 0052/2019 for primary schools. 

 

If a pupil was granted a successful exemption from studying Irish in primary school, it is important that their parent(s)/guardian(s) keep the documentation to show when transitioning into a new school for post-primary education.

 

For more information on this circular, visit its text in full on DES’ website: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0053_2019.pdf

 

Circular No 0058/2019 – Advice on the use of assessment instruments/tests for Guidance or for additional and special educational needs (SEN) in post-primary school

 

This circular sets out guidelines for post-primary schools on the use of examinations to assess the abilities and attainment/achievement of their pupils with SENs. Results from these tests will help inform what academic supports a pupil may need from their school.  

 

The circular makes an important distinction between standardised ability and attainment/ achievement tests; ability tests are designed to establish what a student is capable of knowing (predict potential), while achievement tests measure what is known and has been learned or achieved to date.

 

Information should be provided to parents and students regarding the purpose of the assessment and with whom the assessment results may be shared and why. The consent of parents and students should be obtained in advance of the assessment instrument being administered, in line with the school’s assessment and data protection policy.

 

Some assessments, such as standardised group achievement tests, can be administered by subject teachers, under the supervision of a suitably qualified person. Other tests should only be administered and interpreted by appropriately qualified professionals, depending on the nature of the instrument used.

For more information on this circular, visit its text in full on DES’ website: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0058_2019.pdf

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