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Changes to set allocation model – groups call for pause for meaningful consultation

AsIAm, Down Syndrome Ireland and Inclusion Ireland have this evening written to the Department of Education requesting that the implementation of the revised SET allocation model be paused until meaningful consultation takes place for those most affected by the decision – students with additional educational needs, and their families.

Whilst our 3 groups have engaged with the Department in recent days there remains insufficient clarity on the basis of the model for us to provide any meaningful reassurance to families that this approach is inclusive and equitable for students with the greatest level of support needs attending our schools. In particular, we are concerned that the new circular appears to suggest that a grounds for removing complex needs from the model is the growth of special classes and schools, which will be of concern to many parents who wish for their child to attend mainstream school in an inclusive and accessible setting. Additionally, we have not seen detailed modelling to assure us that children will not be disadvantaged by the proposed changes.

On Monday we will launch a short, joint consultation to ascertain the views and experiences of our collective communities on the proposed SET allocation model. The data gleaned from this process will enable us to give the clear views and concerns of students with additional needs at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education on the 5th March and with subsequent engagements with the Department. In undertaking this consultation and requesting this pause, we call on the Department to ensure it never again excludes the voices of our communities from critical decisions which affect us – the UNCRPD demands no less.

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