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New Guidelines for Setting up & Organising Special Classes

Posted by Schooldays Newshound on 09/08/2016. New Guidelines for Setting up & Organising Special ClassesTags: Teachers Education And Politics

The NCSE is today publishing new Guidelines for Setting up and Organising Special Classes. Special classes are for some students with special educational needs who benefit from smaller class sizes.

NCSE[1] research carried out by the ESRI and TCD found that some teachers felt ill-equipped to teach in special classes due to the complex and diverse needs of students. However, once they had received training, teachers considered that their ability to meet need was greatly improved. The NCSE Guidelines highlight the need for school leaders to proactively plan to meet the continuing professional development needs of special class teachers to ensure that they are equipped to teach students with diverse special needs.

The research also highlighted that some students felt a stigma attached to attending special classes and felt they were not popular with their teachers. The NCSE guidelines recommends that school planning should include whole school policies in relation to the education and inclusion of students with special educational needs to mitigate the risk of students feeling stigmatised.

Jennifer Doran, Head of Research at the NCSE noted “our research highlighted a number of worrying issues regarding special classes, such as students feeling negative about attending special classes and teachers feeling unprepared to teach in these settings. That is why we developed these guidelines- to provide good practice points to schools to ensure that all students feel valued and welcomed under a whole school approach to inclusion”.

The guidelines also set out clearly how schools can set up and organise special classes to create a suitable learning environment to meet the needs of students enrolled. The research demonstrated that schools leaders were uncertain about how to establish classes and the best ways to provide for students within them. These guidelines feature a number of good practice points that will be useful to schools and practitioners in creating supportive and inclusive learning environments for students who are unable to be in a mainstream class.

The Guidelines for Setting up and Organising Special Classes and the research report- Special Classes in Irish Schools are published here on the NCSE website


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