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(Ireland) Teachers MUST help special needs kids; especially autistic students

Updated: Feb 18, 2019

Feb 14, 2019, Irish Times: Teachers who do not support students with special needs may be in breach of law Department of Education issues warning to secondary teachers’ unions https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/teachers-who-do-not-support-students-with-special-needs-may-be-in-breach-of-law-1.3791491 The Department of Education has warned secondary school teachers’ unions that any move to cease co-operating with education support plans for vulnerable students could amount to a breach of the law. The move follows advice issued by the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) to members last year to refuse to implement individual education plans for pupils with additional needs. AsIAm, Ireland’s largest autism charity, has previously described the move as “truly shocking discrimination” against students with disabilities, while the Special Needs Parents’ Association has voiced concern that vulnerable young people risk being “held to ransom”. … However, AsIAm said it was disappointed that the union’s advice does not appear to have changed and said vulnerable children were still at risk of losing out in the classroom. “We’d like to hear a clear statement that the unions will ensure members meet their obligations under the Teaching Council’s professional code of conduct and ensure that the educational needs of young people with autism will be met.”… It said plans that required subject teachers to collaborate with parents, external agencies and other teachers for each student with a special education need were “impractical”. “The wider issue of teacher workload and initiative overload is not being addressed,” it added. The TUI has issued similar advice to members. However, the Department of Education letter states that the level of special education teachers allocated to schools has been greatly increased, with almost a fifth of the entire education budget now going on special education. It says provision has been made within this allocation for planning and co-ordination activities. It further notes that student support plans are a key tool in assisting teachers to record what steps are being taken to support teaching and learning for students with special needs.