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Education in County Kildare

Special Education

Special Education SupportSpecial education in Ireland includes students with learning, physical and sensory disabilities.

Pupils with special needs are enrolled in mainstream primary schools and provision is made to integrate those with special needs into mainstream schools through the existence of special classes, places in mainstream classes, and provision of learning support teachers and classroom assistants.

There are many organisations that support students with special needs.

National Council for Special Education (NCSE)

The National Council for Special Education was set up in 2003 to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children.

The general functions of the Council include:

  • Planning and co-ordinating provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs
  • Disseminating information on best practice concerning the education of children with special educational needs
  • Providing information to parents in relation to the entitlements of children with special educational needs
  • Assessing and reviewing resources required by children with special educational needs
  • Ensuring that progress of students with special educational needs is monitored and reviewed
  • Reviewing education provision for adults with disabilities
  • Conducting research and publishing findings

Current Operations

The Council allocates additional teaching and other resources to support the special educational needs of children with disabilities.

Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) deal with applications for additional teaching and Special Needs Assistant support for children with special educational needs from all schools.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

The NCCA is responsible for advising the Minister for Education and Science on the requirements of students with a disability or other special educational needs, in relation to curriculum and syllabuses.

In 1999 the NCCA published a discussion paper:
Special Educational Needs: Curriculum Issues (1999).
This discussion paper guided the NCCA in its work in this area and this culminated in the publication of a suite of documents:
Draft Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities (2002).
The primary aim of the draft guidelines is to support teachers at primary and post-primary levels in meeting the learning needs of these students, irrespective of the context in which these students are being educated.

The Special Education Support Service (SESS)

The In-Career Development Unit of the Department of Education and Science established the Special Education Support Service (SESS) in September 2003. The service will, as appropriate, consolidate, co-ordinate, develop and deliver a range of professional development initiatives and support structures.

The SESS facilitates a partnership approach involving support teams of practising teachers, Education Centres, the Inspectorate, the National Educational Psychological Service, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the National Council for Special Education, Third Level Colleges, Health Board Personnel, Teacher Unions and other relevant bodies and services.

The service, in partnership with ICEP, part funds teachers seeking online training in the area of special education. At present, courses on eight topics are subsidised: Dyslexia, ADHD, ABA, Autism, Inclusion, Managing Student Behaviour, Gifted and Talented Students and Teaching Troubled Children.

Useful Links

National Council for Special Education -

NCCA and Special Educational Needs -

Special Education Support Service (SESS) -

Irish Association of Teachers in Special Education (IATSE) -

Irish Learning Support Association(ILSA) -

National Disability Authority(NDA) -

The Learning Clinic -

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