Uncategorized

Teachers Bullied by Government, ASTI stand up.

The words below are from the inspirational Noelle Moran ASTI, who posted them as a comment on our VFT Facebook page.

We felt that her words deserved more space, so here they are. Well done, Noelle and ASTI. We call on all Teacher Unions to stand up against Government bullying of teachers. (The article to which Noelle refers is linked at the end of this piece). Thank you, Noelle. Solidarity with ASTI.

Noel Moran: “As the person interviewed for this article, I was disappointed that some points made by me over the phone to contribute to this article did not make it to the finished piece and there are others presented here I feel need clarification. There are also inaccuracies here I want to correct. As a result I wrote this piece and copied it beneath the article on journal.ie, and as it was done, I decided to copy it here. Most people on this page are teaching and are very familiar with the situation but this is for those of you who are not and want more information on what all of this is about:

1. During the term of the Croke Park Agreement 2010-2013 inferior pay rates were introduced for new entrants to the public service in 2011 and 2012. It emerged that the terms of the Agreement did not extend to new entrants which enabled the government to impose this inequality. Unions did not sign new entrants up to inferior pay scales. Pay Agreements mean the unions agree not to take industrial action on issues and as such this issue was not acted upon during the term of CPA. One of the key reasons ASTI recommended rejection of the following agreement, the Haddington Road Agreement 2013 to June 2016 was so that outside of a collective bargaining agreement we could take industrial action so that the government would address this issue. Regrettably on the expiration of the CPA other unions did not remain outside of the HRA so that we could deal with this issue collectively, given that it is a public service wide issue and not just affecting teachers. In spite of a recommendation for ASTI to reject HRA in a second ballot it was accepted and consequently, due to being party to a collective agreement with the government once again our hands were tied and we were not allowed to take industrial action to address the unequal pay. One of the primary reasons we have rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement is to enable us to deal with this issue. Many people reading this post work in the public sector, and many others have family members who do so, and it is very unlikely people would deem it fair that two like colleagues, irrespective of the job type, should be paid on totally different pay scales. This is unjust. It should never have happened but will continue if we keep signing up to collective bargaining agreements preventing us from taking industrial action to restore a common basic pay scale for all working within a particular profession.

2. Casualisation is a huge problem in teaching with many teachers teaching part-time hours and being made permanent on less than full hours meaning they earn less than full salary. This has become an increased problem since 2004 although the article incorrectly refers to security for new entrants ‘forfeited in 2013’. Some teachers have contracts which will eventually lead to permanency; others do not. For those who do not have contracts leading to permanency, under HRA the government promised to establish a panel which teachers could have access to after a certain amount of service in different schools which would help them towards obtaining more secure employment. The promise of a panel was one of the very few positives promised by the government under HRA. They had 3 years to establish this panel but talks have not even commenced on setting this up. Teachers delivered on their commitments under HRA and the government reneged on theirs but still expect teachers to sign up to another agreement. This is unacceptable and hard to believe!

3. There was a paid substitution and supervision (S&S) scheme for teachers for approx. 12 years up until HRA. The S&S scheme covers yard duty and supervision of classes when teachers are away with teams etc. Under HRA, teachers agreed to do 3 years of this S&S unpaid for the duration of this agreement but written into HRA was a partial restoration of this pay in September 2016 and 2017. This was agreed to as part of HRA not LRA. It was not the case that teachers ‘thought that from June 2016’ we would get extra payment for these duties as this articles quotes me saying; it is that it was written into HRA that there would be partial restoration of this money in 2016 and 2017. There is nothing written into the HRA that this partial pay restoration was to be conditional on signing up to future agreements. Teachers have delivered on the 3 years free S&S as agreed under HRA, but after the event, the government is now saying it will renege on what was agreed to and is threatening not to pay us this money in 2016 and 2017 if we do not sign up to LRA.

4. The government intend to use FEMPI legislation (the questionable continued legal existence of this legislation is a separate issue) to freeze our incremental salary until 2018. They are also threatening redundancies and the ending of the teacher redeployment scheme, the withdrawal of a faster route to permanency for those who qualify for permanent CID contracts in addition to the threat not to make the S&S payments promised and agreed to. This list is not exhaustive. There are other threats, financial and otherwise and they have told us there will be future penalties in the medium term if we do not sign up to LRA. An interesting aspect to all of this is is there really a choice anymore? Our union had no say in what went into the Lansdowne Road ‘Agreement’; nor did most other unions. It was presented to us and we were expected to ballot but it currently looks like no union is allowed to actually reject these agreements. The result, as we are realising is a backdrop of threats. HRA was a sectoral agreement for all of the different groups of public sector workers. It is time for the government to revisit the idea of sectoral agreements as agreements dealing with Education, Health etc separately would have more benefits for those sectors than universal ‘one size fits all’ agreements. That said, these agreements will achieve nothing at all if the government chooses to renege on its side of the bargain. Our union has accepted an invitation to talks with the Minister to talk about issues of mutual concern. Hopefully, this will start a process to address the issues.

** On a separate note, the picture used to go with this article is one from a strike day at some point. Today was a Protest Day, during the school holidays as some people who posted comments have pointed out, and there were no strike placards used at the Dáil**

Thanks for taking the time to read this. The issues mentioned above are not all of the issues, but are the ones referred to in the article. I hope this puts some context around the reasons the ASTI has chosen not to sign up to LRA and is reacting to government threats under FEMPI and in general. Thanks to all who showed up at our Dáil Protest today and to all others who wished us well. The solidarity is much appreciated.”

 

http://www.thejournal.ie/teachers-react-to-lansdowne-road-agreement-2856827-Jul2016/?utm_source=shortlink

 

Advertisements
Standard
Education

Droichead. An integrated induction framework for newly qualified teachers: Voice for Teachers Analysis and Critical Response Report.

In this Report, Voice for Teachers examines the Teaching Council’s recent document on Droichead.

Note: the TC document upon which this VFT Report is based was published by the Teaching Council in March 2016, just before the new Teaching Council representatives took office.

1.0         The TC Droichead Framework Displays a Lack of Respect:

1.1         Lack of Respect for Teachers:

The TC wastes no time in insulting teachers and demonstrating its contempt for the professional status of newly qualified teachers by describing induction as “a socialisation process”(p.2). We socialise our pets, we do not socialise our professional colleagues.

1.2         Lack of Respect for the Inspectorate:

The TC then goes on to insult the DES Inspectorate by explaining to us that “the NQTs’ experienced fellow professionals are best placed to support them through the induction phase” (p.2). The DES Inspectorate have been responsible for the probation / induction of NQTs for decades. We now learn that apparently they were not the best people to do that work.

2.0         Unfairness and Inequality for NQTs:

The careful phrases used throughout this document are a worry – words like “normally”; “a number” and “As a general rule” lead us to conclude that the TC plans to continue with its loop-hole ridden modus operandi. Loop-holes for some only that is, others will have to rigorously adhere to rule and jump through every hoop. This signals inherent unfairness in this process from the outset. Indeed, depending on the school setting and how rigorously this document is applied:

  • Some NQTs will have “at least two classroom observations” (p.5), while others will have an unstated number of visits.
  • During the process “an NQT will have a number of interactions with all members of the PST, called professional conversations” (p.4). The number is not numbered, therefore, one NQT may have many such meetings, others may have few.
  • The NQT observes other teachers during the process, “at least two classroom observations carried out by the NQT” (p.5). Again, there is an opportunity for difference / inequality here.
  • “Droichead allows for a large measure of flexibility in the creation of Taisce” (p.5). Once again there is scope here for unequal treatment across the country. The TC calls it “flexibility”, we call it loop-holes capable of causing inequality.
  • Some NQTs will complete this phase within 60 days, but others “will undertake the Droichead process for the duration of the time that they are in the position recognised for the Droichead process” (p.6).
  • All NQTs are required to attend cluster meetings and “one other professional learning activity” (p. 6). The examples given may be freely available in urban settings, but not in rural settings, once again discriminating against some NQTs.
  • The Quality Assurance outlined on pages 7 and 8 is far too vague.

 

3.0         Droichead is Better than the Current System, Or Is It?

The TC is claiming that Droichead is better than the current system, but they would wouldn’t they. We have analysed the TC Droichead document in some depth and we disagree. We find many, many flaws in Droichead.

Teachers are already involved in the Induction of our NQTs, and have been for decades. Droichead offers nothing new, except more paperwork, constant observations of NQTs (instead of two visits now) and much more work for teachers. An ESRI Report looked at Droichead, but failed to ask very pertinent questions, such as “Is Droichead better than the current system of probation?” The question cannot be answered by the ESRI Report, because it was not asked, it was not part of the Research Design utilised by the ESRI. We believe that it should have been one of the most important research questions for the ESRI to include during their planning stage (Research Design). The fact that it was not included is very concerning.

3.1         Unfairness and Inequality for NQTs:

Already discussed above at 2.0

3.2         The Inspectorate:

The dreaded knock on the door from the cigire is referenced by some people as a negative aspect of the current system, but NQTs will still have the possibility of such a visit. The current system of probation consists of the Inspectorate visiting every NQT. Droichead involves the Inspectorate visiting failing NQTs, making it obvious to the community that the NQT is failing.

3.3         Teaching Settings:

The current system does not allow unprobated teachers to teach / complete probation as an LST. We don’t need Droichead to change that silly anomaly, it could be changed in the morning.

Droichead says it allows induction as an LST, but also confusingly tells us: “A primary teacher will normally undertake the Droichead process when employed as a mainstream class teacher” (p.2). (Note: the TC emboldened the word “normally”). The document continues later to state: “Other than in exceptional circumstances, schools should deploy NQTs in a mainstream setting” (p.2). “As part of the Droichead process, the school should also endeavour that there are opportunities for the newly qualified teacher to teach in a mainstream setting” (p.2-3). More loop-holes and double-speak from the TC?

3.4         60 Days instead of 100 Days:

The current system requires two 50 day periods of employment or one 100 day stint. Droichead consists of an unknown number of days. NQTs need to be very, very wary of the 60 day claim. The TC give the impression that probation / induction can be completed in one 60 day period, but that is not the full story. This TC document talks about “phases”, but does not explicitly state how long each phase will actually take.

The “minimum requirements of post-qualification practice” is 60 consecutive school days for primary teachers and 200 hours for post-primary teachers. (Note: the bold and underline is ours). The TC does not tell us what the maximum requirement or the actual requirement might be. The document does state, however, that “Ideally, the NQT will undertake the Droichead process for the duration of the time that they are in the position recognised for the Droichead process” (p.6).

This quote indicates a very open time-frame. Later, the document states: “It should be noted that these are absolute minimum periods of practice and the Council believes that, where the period of an NQT’s practice in a school exceeds those thresholds, it is advisable to defer the making of a recommendation until nearer the end of their time at the school” (p.6).

If the PST decide that the NQT is NOT ready to progress to the next phase of probation / induction, then the time must be extended even further. “It is open to the PST to recommend an additional period of professional practice, so that the NQT may avail of further supports to aid their development (p.6). There is no exact time specified. It might be another 60 days? It might be much longer? The NQT could be involved with Droichead for quite some time. “When the NQT has completed their Droichead process, and the consensus of the PST is that they are ready to move to the next phase on the continuum of teacher education, the PST makes a recommendation to the Teaching Council to that effect” (p.4).  Therefore, we can only surmise that we should take that 60 days / 200 hours claim with a pinch of salt.

Currently, NQTs in Primary schools find it very difficult to find 50 consecutive school days in which they can complete half of their probation / induction. Finding 60 consecutive school days minimum, will obviously be even harder for primary teachers to find. Currently, the inspector visits the NQT before the 50 /100 days expire. With Droichead, the process is unlikely to be shorter than the current system. NQTs should be wary about believing any such claim.

3.5         Droichead Pay:

In the current system, the NQT is paid as a fully qualified teacher. Will NQTs completing Droichead be paid as fully qualified teachers? Will NQTs be paid at all? The TC have failed to outlaw JobBridge, so are they planning to use Droichead as a form of JobBridge, to recruit NQTs as Interns? This is all very uncertain. The quote on page 2 allows for obfuscation: “A primary teacher will normally undertake the Droichead process when employed as a mainstream class teacher”. Other TC announcements regarding guaranteed placements for NQTs is very alarming indeed. Guaranteed Placement in other countries usually means that NQTs are allocated to schools  immediately after they get their final results. Is it for 60 days? A year? Do the NQTs displace other Temporary Teachers? Are NQTs given preference for maternity leaves etc…? Are NQTs interviewed for this guaranteed placement? Will NQTs displace other teachers? Will NQTs be ex-quota? If the NQT is not satisfactory, does the school still have to accept them on a “guaranteed placement”? Along with a great many other things about Droichead, this needs to be better explained and made explicit. We cannot just guess as to what the TC intends with Droichead. NQTs cannot be lured into Droichead with unproven promises.

(Note: Interestingly, this idea of “guaranteed placement” does not appear in the March 2016 Droichead document. It did feature, however, in the Teaching Council announcement about Droichead, in the NIPT Droichead day for Principals in City West recently and in discussions with INTO on Droichead. Why is it not included in this Droichead document for everyone to read? What else is being hidden?)

4.0         Teachers Have Said No To CEPP and No To Droichead:

4.1         Teachers Judging Colleagues:

INTO members have stated repeatedly that we will not judge colleagues, not newly qualified colleagues and not experienced colleagues. Yet this document states that “fellow professionals” (p.2) will make a recommendation that the NQT is / is not ready to move to the next phase of teacher education. Oh no, we won’t!

4.2         Opt-out for Principals / Not in Reality:

Principals have steadfastly stated that they will never “sign off” / judge an NQT. The Teaching Council have given the impression that Principals can opt out of probation / induction, but it is only an illusion. In reality, there is no opt out for Principals, as the following quotes from their Droichead document prove:

  1. “The PST is a team of fully qualified teachers in a school, ideally with five years’ experience, including the principal” (p.4)
  2. A principal may wish to establish a PST, involving internal school staff and one external PST member” (p.4) presumes that the Principal Teacher is the one who is responsible for establishing the PST
  3. “an NQT will have a number of interactions with all members of the PST” (p.4)
  4. The Droichead Quality Assurance (DQA) panel will “discuss the process with the Principal” (p.8)
  5. The principal ensures that the Droichead process has been properly conducted” (p.8)

(Note: bold and underline is our emphasis).

4.2.1      Dangers for the Principal:

There are many. For example, if the school deems the NQT fit to progress to the next phase and the Principal agrees that the process has been conducted properly, what happens next? Will the NQT feel they have a right to future employment in the school, because the school deemed them to be satisfactory? On the other hand, if the NQT is deemed as not being ready to proceed to the next phase, what happens next then? Must the school “keep” the NQT in the guaranteed placement, even though he/she isn’t doing very well? What will parents / pupils themselves in the future have to say about that? Who will be blamed? What will the NQT do if the school refuses to give him / her more time? Sue the school using employment legislation?

4.3         No opt-out for Teachers:

We have more than enough to do to teach our pupils (and all that goes with that). We do not have the time or the resources or the training or the pay to do the Inspectorate’s job as well as our own job. However, this document does not give an opt-out for teachers. In fact, it allows Principal Teachers to delegate much work and responsibility to the other teachers in the school.

4.3.1      We are not Inspectors:

We are not inspectors, as described on page 5: “Other professional conversations will follow observations of the NQT’s practice”. This indicates that teachers will be required to observe the NQT teaching and then give feedback to the NQT. That is the work of the Inspectorate. Indeed page 5 has a sub-heading entitled Observation and Feedback. If written feedback is required, that is a huge time commitment. As we know, paperwork has a tendency to grow, not diminish, once it is introduced onto our workload. The TC document does not specify that the feedback must be written, neither does it say that it need not be written. We all know full well that there must be a paper trail to protect ourselves if we embark on judging NQTs via Droichead. Have we been offered additional pay for this additional work? No, we have not.

4.3.2      We are observed very frequently already:

We are observed by many people already, probably more than any other professional. We have taken on student teachers that have an ever-increasing and extended element of observing our practice. The Educational Psychologist; Occupational Therapist etc…etc…etc… all want to come in and observe us in our classrooms. Now, Droichead expects us to allow NQTs to observe us too. We have never been asked to give our permission, it is just expected.

4.3.3      Droichead Judges and Inspects Experienced Teachers:

Teachers will be judged and inspected during the Droichead process as our reward for taking over the role of the Inspectorate:

  • If we contact the Chief Inspector for support, we will be judged as to whether or not we tried hard enough before we bothered the Inspectorate, who will check that “genuine efforts have been made to engage in the Droichead process” (p.7)
  • Through Droichead Quality Assurance (DQA) visits, we will be judged again. “The DQA panel visits a sample of schools where the Droichead process has taken place” (p.7-8). The DQA will send a “report to the Teaching Council setting out its findings and recommendations” (p. 8).

 

5.0         Privacy and Confidentiality:

It appears that we are all equal, but some are more equal than others.

5.1         NQTS:

Unfairness and inequality is demonstrated again by the TC when they talk about confidentiality. “NQTs should respect the privacy of others” (p.5), yet the NQTs’ right to confidentiality may not necessarily be respected in return. For example, it is very obvious that the NQT is in trouble if the cigire arrives, as described on page 7. Where is the respect for privacy and confidentiality for the NQT in that instance?

5.2         The PST:

The PST Team is also reminded about confidentiality: “PST members should respect the privacy of others and the confidentiality of information garnered during the course of the process” (p6).

5.3         The Teaching Council:

The Droichead Quality Assurance (DQA) Report will be sent to the Teaching Council. The TC will consider it, possibly ratify it and publish it on the internet, then circulate it to the NIPT and the Inspectorate (p.8). The TC have not reminded the DQA; the TC representatives; the NIPT or the Inspectorate about confidentiality.

 

6.0         Consistency and Quality Assurance:

Some points on this topic have been made elsewhere in this Report. In addition, it must be noted that the Quality Assurance outlined on pages 7 and 8 is extremely vague. Specifics are needed or there is no assurance.

6.1         Review Mechanism for NQTs:

The review mechanism where NQTs can raise concerns is extremely vague. “A review mechanism is in place where NQTs wish to raise concerns about aspects of the Droichead process” (p.8). What aspects are allowed? What is the precise mechanism? It should be absolutely explicit and clear, to protect all parties.

6.2         Circulation of Data:

The TC document does not mention circulating the DQA Report to the NQTs or to the PSTs. This is another example of disrespect and exclusion.

Why does the TC intend to circulate the DQA Report to the Inspectorate? They have been deemed by the TC not to be “best placed to support them (NQTs) through the induction phase” (p.2).

6.3         Engagement:

Why will the TC engage with the DES on the implementation of this Droichead policy? Why not engage with teachers? Do teachers only exist to carry out the work and have no say in policy?

 

7.0         Conclusion:

All in all, this document is full of expectations for teachers to undertake extra work, without a mention of extra pay, reward or even a thank you. Teachers are expected to absolve the Colleges of Education; the DES; the Inspectorate; the TC; the NIPT of responsibility and work. A much better idea is as follows:

  1. Teachers have enough work, thank you.
  2. Colleges of Education must qualify student teachers as being fit to begin teaching or fail them.
  3. The End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Droichead – The Teaching Council’s “Innovative” Scheme to load more work onto Teachers and Principals OR An Excellent New Road to Probation for Newly Qualified Teachers?

“Droichead” is the scheme whereby Principal Teachers and Mentors probate Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) instead of the Inspectorate, as was traditionally the case.

Voice for Teachers feels that the glaring element missing from the pilot “Droichead” scheme is a ‘voice for NQTs’.

Principals and other teachers quite rightly do have that choice. The person impacted most by Droichead has been given no choice by the Teaching Council pilot scheme.

That is not fair. NQTs should have the choice of being probated through internal or external inspections.

 

We, and the majority of teachers in Ireland, have many concerns about Droichead. For example:

  • We question a system where a principal must “sign-off” on a teacher’s career.
  • There are concerns about the future of staff relations under this Droichead initiative.
  • There is scope for exploitation of all parties involved.
  • Small communities would not take kindly to a Principal “failing” a probationary teacher.
  • The probationary teacher would be “under a microscope” every day, all day.
  • Would the NQT feel able to seek advice or admit to a lesson not going too well under Droichead?

 

With few jobs, and an over-supply of teachers, that three year limit for probation should not be imposed on NQTs. (Any NQT who is unable to find a position in which to complete probation within that three years is able to apply to the Teaching Council for an extension, so why frighten vulnerable, unemployed NQTs with that three year threat?)

 

Voice For Teachers does not understand why NQTs are even required to be probated? NQTs are FULLY qualified when they graduate. Probation is served for a period AFTER getting a job. NQTs are expected to serve probation for a job they do not have. It makes no sense.

Why couldn’t the Teaching Council come up with innovative, new ideas to support NQTs as they ease into the profession?

What is “innovative” about mentoring NQTs in our schools? We have been successfully mentoring informally for years. Judging and “signing off” is not innovative, it is giving us the Inspector’s job to do on top of our own job.

Why couldn’t the Teaching Council support and help NQTs by:

  • Scrapping probation as an outdated, unnecessary hurdle.
  • Demanding that Colleges of Education stand over teaching qualifications awarded, and endorse their graduates as “fit to teach” aka probated.
  • Including a probationary period during the new 4-year B.Ed programme?

Such moves would help to “enhance the post-qualification experience”.

Instead, Droichead is an easy fix – get the teachers to do the work!

Teachers have enough to do.

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Special Needs Supports Under Threat Again

Thank you to Alice O’ Donnell for alerting us to this letter in the Irish Times tod.

http://www.irishtimes.com/debate/letters/special-needs-pupils-and-schools-1.1790091

Sir, – I am a parent of two children with special needs, one with Down syndrome and another with autism spectrum disorder. I am also a teacher of three children with special needs in a mainstream class of 28 children in St Anne’s school in Shankill, Co Dublin. My children also attend this school. Most of the special educational needs (SEN) children in St Anne’s have behaviour modification programmes and individualised plans.

The Department of Education and Science recently published a circular (0030/2014) that will drastically reduce the level of support for children and teenagers with special needs. A shocking aspect of this circular is their intention to remove almost all access to specials needs assistants in secondary schools.

This withdrawal of specials needs assistant support in secondary schools comes at a crucial stage for both students and teachers. Secondary schools are only now having to cope with increasing numbers of children with special needs as they come up through the system. Many teachers are still in the early stages of working with children with special educational needs in an inclusive environment. Many of them have not been provided with relevant training to upskill to meet the challenging demands of working with children with SEN children.

This “inclusion policy” is negligent and finance driven. Under the guise of “value for money” it makes victims of our precious, vulnerable children by kicking away their specials needs assistant support.

Both of my children have access to a specials needs assistant as part of an individualised plan and appropriate interventions. Without their invaluable help, they would not be as productive and independent as they are.

My son is starting in mainstream secondary school in September. He suffers from extreme anxiety as part of his Asperger’s syndrome and requires access to a specials needs assistant to take him out of class for breaks to keep him calm.

He knows when he needs to go and get some time out and then he can return calmly to class without affecting his classmates.

If, as the circular suggests, he should be left until he has a meltdown, he would disrupt and upset all the other children and the teacher, embarrass himself and reduce his self-esteem.

Did these policy reviewers come into classrooms? Did they talk to teachers? Did they talk to parents?

This is not inclusive education. It is blatantly excluding children with special needs from reaching their full potential and is therefore denying them the right to access the same educational opportunities as their peers. By removing access to specials needs assistants, the rights of all children in these “inclusive classrooms” to an equal education will be denied.

Maybe these policy reviewers need to upskill themselves on what is really needed in our schools?

I invite them to come to our school any day of the week to see how invaluable the specials needs assistant are.

Is it not better practice if a specials needs assistant accompanies the child rather than a teacher out of the classroom? According to this circular, we should wait until the child or teenager displays violent behaviour or self-harms before we intervene.

I would ask all parents to raise this matter with their public representatives and all candidates in the upcoming local and European elections. – Yours, etc,

CATHERINA WOODS,

Standard
Uncategorized

Will SNAs be a Thing of the Past Soon?

Can teachers include children with Special Needs fully without SNA support?

Voice for Teachers alerted our members when Circular 0030/2014
“The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme to support teachers in meeting the care needs of some children with special educational needs, arising from a disability”
was published.

The INTO magazine intouch has an article on that Circular on page 28 of the current issue (Issue 144).
All teachers should be very concerned about this Circular 00030/2014. Particularly the following – “it is expected that all primary school pupils having their first school experience will have been enrolled and commenced attending school before any application for support will be made” (intouch, May 2014: p.24).
What about ensuring that the child’s transition to school is as smooth as possible?
What about Early Intervention?

The section on behavioural issues is equally worrying. In short, it appears that the school will have to prove (in writing over a period of time) that for example “there is a clear and documented history of violent behaviour or assault, or self harm, or other safety issues”; “it is impossible to teach him/her in a classroom situation without additional adult assistant support” (also p.28).
What about the other children in the class?

The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (EPSEN) 2004: page 7, has this to say,
2.—A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an
inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs
unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that
to do so would be inconsistent with—
(a) the best interests of the child as determined in accordance
with any assessment carried out under this Act, or
(b) the effective provision of education for children with whom
the child is to be educated.

2.(b) is clear that the other children in the class have rights too.
Does this Circular 0030/2014 really intend that children and staff must suffer violence for a period of time before even applying for SNA support?
Does this Circular infer that the DES no longer supports inclusion?

The last sentence on page 28 of the intouch magazine already quoted tells us, “The CEC will consider the details of the circular over the coming weeks”.
Make sure that your CEC Representative hears your views on this Circular at the May meetings.

The Irish Mirror outlines some very serious concerns for parents and teachers here:

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/education/struggling-children-lose-special-needs-3437372#.U2dPoAUWpSp.facebook

Standard