Within this essay I will
“Discuss the relationship between Education and S.E.N. in Ireland”. As I began
to think about this question I asked myself is there a positive or negative
relationship between the two. I questioned if these two areas actually conform
together or are they like disagreeing magnetic forces. Throughout my research I
found mountains of information and opinions which I delved into.
will begin this paper by depicting four specific legislations regarding
education and disability within society. I believe these legislations are vital
in the fight for equality for people with disabilities. I will then move on to
examine and review the ‘Medical Model’ and ‘Social Model’, which are embedded
within history and has, most definitely, influenced the life which people with disabilities
received. Then I shall move towards the idea of inclusion and what this means
within the typical Irish classroom. I will confer what is in place and what
contributes to creating and maintaining inclusion in education. I will finally move onto the field of employment
for people with disabilities and investigate the area. I will try and identify
whether there is the same priority in making sure people with disabilities
attain an education compared to entering employment.
society the struggle to extinguish discrimination and stereotyping still
battles on. With regards a person with special needs it is fair to say that
there has been progress within the education system and recognising that we are
all equal. There is a number of legislations which acknowledges Special
Educational Needs (S.E.N.), and that it must be encompassed within the
educational system Ireland withholds today.
The Education Act 1998 aims to give
everyone an equal opportunity of education, which shows us that that Irish
educational system is taking responsibility in terms of creating a fair and
Within the Act
it acknowledges that “to promote best practice in teaching
methods with regard to the diverse needs of students and the development of the
skills and competences of teachers”. (The
Education Act 1998 , p10 )
Here we can identify that there is a need
and a duty that Practitioners must cooperate and adapt to the needs of all
their students. We can see that from the objectives of this piece of
legislation it does uphold that S.E.N. is a priority discussing that it is
vital that they provide support services. We can identify that the Irish
government, in the past, has recognised that there is an ever growing need of
improvement within the education system concerning S.E.N.. They have continued throughout the
years to create and expose other policies to promote equality to Special Needs
people within our country. However, it must be asked as to why it has taken so
long to get where we are today and is there enough being done.
One of the most
significant legislations which set fort equality within education for people
with S.E.N. is the ‘Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act
2004’. This act solely and specifically sets out and focuses on the voice of a
Special Needs person and their education. Although it does depend on the
severity of a disability this Act advocates that an inclusive education is
vital. It sets out that “A child with special educational needs
shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such
for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004’ P.7) This
quote promotes what equality should be within an educational setting. To follow
on from this act the following year the ‘Disability Act 2005’, was published.
This emphasized that all public services and businesses have a legal duty to
provide access and facilitate the needs of person with a disability. Alongside
this act the ‘Equal Status Act 2000’, which lawfully states, reminding human
beings that no one is to be restricted in anything they do or to be treated
unequally within society.
It can only be presumed
that from the establishment of all prior equality legislations regarding
disability more awareness has arisen within society especially through
education. We can see as time moves on that through education people have
become more conscious of people with disabilities. Therefore it can be
suggested that not only do these Acts try and generate equality to people with
disabilities, but also that there has also been a knock on effect to the greater
society and world. Most people now see a person with a disability or with
S.E.N. to be no different to any other person. These fine prints of law have
provided equal opportunities and a more knowledgeable humanity.
Within Ireland today
there are many human beings who inhabit here, which means diversity is spread
throughout this island. Diversity is a positive thing however not everyone can
see this. Not everyone looks the same, people have different personalities,
traits and so on. Hence, not everyone learns the same, the term “one size fits
all”, cannot be transmitted within education. This is why it is so vital that
special educational support is provided for any person whom needs it.
It can be evidently noted
that any kind of recognition or equality for a person who had a disability
years ago within society was clearly denied. This can be see through our
history, people with special needs had no rights due to lack of legislations
written or lack of medical understanding or research. This resulted in the
inadequacy of opportunities or choices they had. The Model, in which did not
help the stereotyping of Special needs people was known as the ‘Medical Model’.
It defined the person by their disability, “..undue emphasis on clinical diagnosis’,
‘..the very nature of which is destined to lead to a partial or inhibiting view
of disabled individual’.(BRISENDEN, S.) Society
would see people with medical conditions as the problem not society itself,
which we can see today with certain legislations it has put a stop to this
Hodkinson and Vickerman (2009), stated that this model had a
significant impact regarding educational support. Disabled people were strongly
discriminated within the time of this model and were prevented to attend
mainstream schooling. They were segregated by being put within a special school
or left at home due to being “uneducable”.
Thompson, J. 2010/ Adapted Gibson& Blandford 2005 p.22)
On the other hand the
‘Social Model’, had a completely different ideology. This model centralises the
environments role which, “..should be adapted to meet the needs of
the disabled person..”. (p.4 ‘Assisting Children with Special Needs- An Irish
Perspective’, 2nd Ed.,Eilis Flood – Gill&Macmillan Dublin 2013) On
the reverse we see a more modernise view here which holds equality within its
core. Once again mentioning the legislations I discussed earlier we can see that
this approach has taken central stage within the Irish society. Public
services, facilities and schools all have the responsibility to make adaptions
to fit individual needs within this model. This results in a more uplifting and
diverse atmosphere especially within the Irish educational system.
the classroom there are many different types of learners and this means that
there has to be an inclusive learning environment to benefit all who
participate within it. There must be adequate special educational support for
all that must require it. This means not only for students who may fall behind
but for those who are advanced. There needs to be a healthy, equal balance for
all to have a fair educational environment.
are many different aspects which contribute to a fair and equal educational
environment such as the curriculum, assessment, accessibility, student and parental
voice and academic support. It is very important that with an inclusive
schooling environment both students with and without a disability socialise and
mix. This will promote equality and demolish any kind of barriers. “Inclusion
is the value system which holds that all students are entitled to equal access
to learning, achievement and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their
education”, this statement does not define a specific type of
person that deserves this, everyone deserves and is entitled to it. (National
Council for Specific Education 2006 xii)
This statement has such
importance and relevance to every human being within the world and we should
not take this for granted nor deny anyone this.
schools today most S.E.N. students attend mainstream schooling. This means that
for equal access for a child with a disability they must have their needs
fulfilled. Therefore if a student has been diagnosed with S.E.N. then an
Individual Education Plan (I.E.P) must be created by the school they attend. This
act looks at different angles which contributes to establishing what the needs
of an S.E.N. child are relating to their schooling. This is to set specific learning objectives for the
respective student. Under the EPSEN (Education for Persons with Special
Educational Needs Act 2004) Act it sets out to, “to ensure that a continuum of
special educational provision is available as required in relation to each type
of disability”. (Section
20 Guidelines on
The Individual Education Plan Process 2017)
this act there is complete focus on the individual and what their needs
are. Its main aim is to centralise the
student to see where they are in academic terms and what path they will take to
get to where they want. It is an indisputable system once done correctly. The learner’s
best interests are the definitive goal of this initiative. It
identifies what roles and responsibilities principals, teachers and parents
must adhere to allow the child to have the most beneficial and positive
educational atmosphere possible.
Ireland today there are more disabled people within employment then there were many
years ago. This is an extremely positive thing and recognises diversity. It not
only gives independence to the person but it helps their self-esteem and
confidence. However, within Gannon &
Nolans report (Disability and Social Inclusion in Ireland), they revealed
that regarding wages there is discrimination between a person with and without
a disability. (p.12
Social Inclusion In Ireland ).
This is very shocking and surprising as with today’s
society there is much more understanding of disability and diversity. This is very
disheartening, as this country has become more open and accepting of
differences however, employers continue to discriminate and produce human
People who have disabilities which
cause them to have limitations within certain areas still have the opportunity
to work. This is brought through the ‘Wage Subsidy Scheme’, this gives the
opportunity for a person with a disability to work at their own capacity. This
initiative gives people with a disability a chance of independence and
happiness. It not only helps them to participate fully in society but helps
them to grow as a person. This financial support is provided through the
Department of Social Protection to employers. It promotes people who are
disabled to work on a full time basis.
(Citizens Information- Wage Subsidy Scheme 2017)
State also provides other grants which try to encourage and help disabled
people reach their full potential through working. These are in place so people
with a disability can go to work and provide for themselves. In particular
there is, ‘The Employment Retention Scheme’, which is a grant to aid employers
to hire disabled people who may work at a different rate therefore the company
is not a loss of production. There is also the ‘EmployAbility Service’, which
promotes a person with a disability to prepare themselves to enter the world of
work. There are many more with many objectives, which is a positive service
which tries to help engage people with disabilities into the world of work.
a survey undergone by the National Disability Authority (2011), a number of people from
the public where asked if they believed disabled people received equal
opportunities in regards of education, to which resulted in 50% stating they do
not. While 20% thought there was equal opportunity within employment, 63% did
not believe this. Another question which was presented was, does the government
provide adequate benefits for people with disabilities, which showed 43% stated
there is not enough. This survey was done in 2011, where legislations and
awareness was present within the society. It is frightening, that although so
much progression has been made in terms of disability, the fact that there are
still barriers currently placed within society for people with any kind of
conclude, from my research it is reasonable to state that theory and practice
are two completely different things. The legislations in place within this
state have a significant and crucial role in ensuring that people with any kind
of diversity have equality. It is also the schools and institutes that must
take action and make sure that they follow through with the theory. They have a
duty to provide an education that aids and assists each individual student no
matter how diversified they are.
is clear that however the amount of breakthrough that has occurred within the
past two decades there is also a lot more work within the area of equality and
diversity which needs to be consummated. Unfortunately, there will always be
judgement and stereotyping within society and the key is to stop this through
education. Education plays an integral and critical position within informing
people about equality. This will hopefully transmit further into the world and
destroy any limitations that are a manmade.
to go back to the question I first asked myself at the beginning of my research
it can be seen that S.E.N. education is hugely important and is acknowledged
within the Irish education system. I have most definitely found positive
impacts surrounding Education and S.E.N within Ireland. These findings have
affected the movement of diversity and educating citizens of their
understanding of disability. To compare, and as I have mentioned before there
still needs to be more work carried out and completed. I would have to
recommend that although learning in a classroom is crucial, emphasis should be
put on learning through their own personal experience of working. Despite the
wonderful grants and initiatives out there I feel that there is a need for more
of an incentive to promote work experience. This is a more practical form of
learning and a more beneficial method.
Living and the Medical Model of Disability
In-text: (Brisenden 173-178)
Your Bibliography: Brisenden,
Simon. “Independent Living And The Medical Model Of Disability.” Disability,
Handicap & Society 1.2 (1986): 173-178. Web.
CONTACT US – SPECIAL NEEDS PARENTS ASSOCIATION
In-text: (“Contact Us – Special Needs
Your Bibliography: “Contact
Us – Special Needs Parents Association.” Special Needs Parents
Association. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Oct. 2017. http://www.specialneedsparents.ie/about#.Wi2ntFVl_IU
EDUCATION ACT, 1998
In-text: (“Education Act, 1998”)
Your Bibliography: “Education
Act, 1998.” Irishstatutebook.ie. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 Oct.
FOR PERSONS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS ACT 2004
In-text: (“EDUCATION FOR PERSONS WITH
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS ACT 2004”)
Your Bibliography: “EDUCATION
FOR PERSONS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS ACT 2004.” http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2004/A3004.pdf. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Oct. 2017.
ON THE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN PROCESS
In-text: (Guidelines On The Individual
Education Plan Process)
Your Bibliography: Guidelines
On The Individual Education Plan Process. National
Council for Special Education, 2017. Web. 16 Oct. 2017.
AND SOCIAL INCLUSION IN IRELAND
In-text: (Disability And Social Inclusion
Your Bibliography: Disability
And Social Inclusion In Ireland. Brenda Gannon and Brian Nolan,
2017. Web. 16 Oct. 2017.
Children with Special Needs – An Irish Perspective
Your Bibliography: Flood,
Eilis. Assisting Children With Special Needs – An Irish Perspective.
2nd ed. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. Print.
essential guide to understanding special educational needs
Your Bibliography: Thompson,
Jenny. The Essential Guide To Understanding Special Educational Needs.
Harlow, England: Longman Pearson, 2010. Print.
Information. 2017. Wage Subsidy Scheme. ONLINE Available at: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_and_disability/grant_aid_scheme_for_employers_with_disabled_staff.html. Accessed 12 October 2017
Disability Authority. 2011. A National Survey of Public Attitudes to
Disability in Ireland. ONLINE Available at: http://nda.ie/nda-files/Public-Attitudes-to-Disability-in-Ireland-Survey-2011-PDF.pdf. Accessed 17 October 2017
Council for Specific Education. 2006. Guidelines on the Individual
Education Plan Process. ONLINE Available at: http://ncse.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/final_report.pdf. Accessed 10 October 2017.
In-text: (“Wage Subsidy Scheme”)
Your Bibliography: “Wage
Subsidy Scheme.” Citizensinformation.ie. N.p., 2017. Web. 14
B. AND LEWIS, A.
Teaching for Special Children?
In-text: (Norwich and Lewis)
Your Bibliography: Norwich,
Brahm, and Ann Lewis. Special Teaching For Special Children?.
Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2005. Print.
of Education. 1998. Education Act No.51. ONLINE Available at: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/1998/a5198.pdf. Accessed 16 October 2017.
of Education. 2004. EDUCATION FOR PERSONS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
ACT 2004. ONLINE Available at: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2004/A3004.pdf. Accessed 5 October 2017.
and Social Research Institute. 2006. Disability and Social Inclusion in
Ireland. ONLINE Available at: http://nda.ie/nda-files/Disability-and-Social-Inclusion-in-Ireland1.pdf. Accessed 17 October 2017.