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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in primary education


5.Primary Education

5.4Organisational variations and alternative structures in primary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures

Special schools are classified as primary schools by the Department, but generally include all the features of primary schools described above, and an add-on dimension providing post primary education. In 2020/21 there are 134 special schools catering for 8408 pupils.

Irish medium schools do not differ from the structures set out above. However, those established outside the Gaeltacht generally operate under the Patronage of An Foras Patrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Gaeilge Teoranta, a national organisation representing the interests of such schools.

Multi-denominational schools do not differ from the structures set out above, but are generally under the patronage of an organisation entitled Educate Together [1].

The National Council for Special Education provides a visiting teachers service [2] for children who are deaf/hard of hearing and for children who are blind/visually impaired. The service is staffed by qualified teachers with particular skills and knowledge of the development and education of children with varying degrees of hearing and visual impairment. The service offers longitudinal support to children, their families and schools from the time of referral through to the end of post-primary education.

Each visiting teacher is responsible for a particular region and is allocated a caseload of pupils. The VT supports the children, parents, teachers and other professionals involved with the child. The work involves liaising with other professionals and agencies such as audiological scientists, ophthalmology services, speech and language therapists, low vision specialists, psychologists, early intervention teams, school staffs, and with parents. For babies and younger children, support is usually provided in the home in the presence of the parents and visits take place by mutual agreement.

The National Council for Special Education [3] provides a network of Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) on a geographical basis to liaise with schools and parents of children with special educational needs in their respective areas. This involves identifying the needs of children and deciding on the level of resources schools require to provide them with an appropriate education service. The SENO deals with applications for additional teaching and Special Needs Assistant support for children with special educational needs from all schools. The SENO also assists with

applications for transport and Assistive Technology. A SENO can advise schools and parents on the facilities, services, and resources available to assist children with Special Educational Needs.

The National Educational Psychological Service also provides support to schools on a geographical basis.

NEPS provides a school-based, consultative, psychological service in two ways – through the provision of an individual casework service for students and a support and development service for school staff.  The NEPS casework service involves the provision of a psychological service for a student, with the psychologist working with the student, teachers and parents, and other professionals if appropriate, to identify need and plan for intervention and review to support the student in school.  The NEPS Support and Development service is an applied psychological service for school staff to help build their capability to respond to the wellbeing, academic, social and emotional needs of all students, and particularly those who are experiencing barriers to their wellbeing, learning, inclusion and participation.

Source URL: ary-education-21_en


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