Nov 21, 2019, Irish Times: Lack of resources stymies education progress https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/lack-of-resources-stymies-education-progress-1.4089857 Sir, – Members of the National Principals’ Forum (a registered lobby group of over 1,200 primary school principal teachers across Ireland) believe Tuesday was an extremely dark day for Irish education. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) conference gave clear indications where policy makers are driving our education system. It is terrifying – the death knell has been sounded for specialised education or intervention, and any hope of ever meeting the needs of pupils with additional needs in a properly resourced or inclusive manner are dashed. In a report published on Tuesday, the NCSE says the State should consider moving to a “total inclusion” model, where all children are placed in mainstream schools, regardless of their level of disability (Home News, November 20th). The pretence of working towards more “inclusion” when the reality is that Special Educational Needs (SEN) is simply too costly for the Government’s liking is pernicious and disgusting …. The concerns of educators are neither acknowledged or addressed. We have tried relentlessly to raise awareness and offer practical and reasonable recommendations not excessively demanding of our exchequer. The Joint Oireachtas Committee is aware of the efforts we have made in this regard, and we appreciate its engagement and support. Sadly, despite our fruitless efforts to engage with education stakeholders and effect necessary change, the worrying trends in education are worsening, the most exceptional expertise is being lost daily in our country, and teachers and principals are exploited and becoming demoralised across every front. What hurts the most and damages the most is the lack of the supports we need to help all of our pupils…. ANGELA DUNNE, Principal Teacher, Representative of the National Principals’ Forum, Co Tipperary.
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