Plans for students with disabilities

 

Sir, – In “ASTI under fire for refusal to implement plans for students with disabilities” (News, December 19th), you state that secondary school unions had outlined to their members not to implement Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for children with additional needs.

Regrettably, we have entered January with secondary teaching unions heeding that advice, to the detriment of the children involved.

A quality IEP allows a pupil who has additional support needs to learn at their best in a manner that works for them and to reach their fullest potential.

ASTI is correct in stating that there is no statutory requirement to deliver IEPs.

Fifteen years have passed since the enactment of the Education of Persons with Special Education Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004, which includes a statutory obligation to produce IEPs. That the provisions that would have a positive impact on children with additional support needs remain to be commenced is shameful.

Successive governments have ignored the EPSEN Act out of reluctance to pay for the resources ASTI is asking to be put in place.

However, in advising members to not implement IEPs, ASTI is engaging in an action that will only impact on pupils with additional support needs and not on Government Ministers and officials who have to date refused to commence fully the EPSEN Act.

Inclusion Ireland and the many families who have contacted us in recent weeks would ask ASTI to reconsider its actions and for the Government to engage with the unions in a manner that does not have a detrimental impact on children with additional support needs and furthermore to advance the legislation and consequential resources required to ensure the best educational outcomes for the children involved. – Yours, etc,

MARK O’CONNOR,

Community

Engagement Manager,

Inclusion Ireland,

Dublin 1.