04 SES 02 A, Particular Groups, Needs and Inclusion
Over the last decade in Ireland, there have been monumental changes in relation to the way provision is organised for pupils with dyslexia. In 2002 the Task Force on Dyslexia was published and a series of recommendation were made for the development of services for pupils with dyslexia related learning difficulties. Subsequent to the report, policy changes impacted on the way provision was organised in schools in terms of identification, assessment and support for pupils with dyslexia. This presentation examines the impact of policy regarding the organisation of support for pupils with dyslexia in Irish Primary schools based on a recent study “Dyslexia in Ireland, North and South-Perspectives on developments since publication of the Dyslexia Reports (2002).”
Dyslexia is considered as a high incidence special educational need (SEN) and hence within the mainstream setting, support is provided through a mechanism referred to as the General Allocation Model (GAM). This model is designed to ensure that all schools have enough additional teaching hours to meet the immediate and specific needs of pupils with high incidence SEN in order to make schools as inclusive as possible, and thereby, also eliminating the need for schools to make individual applications for additional teaching support on behalf of pupils experiencing dyslexia. These additional teaching resources can be deployed in a flexible manner, leading to more effective and efficient delivery of services (DES 2005).
However, there is concern that the support allocation model (GAM) may not always ensure that all pupils with dyslexia receive equitable access to educational supports and that existing resources within schools may not be used to greatest effect (NCSE, 2013). Research has indicated that early assessment and intervention is paramount in supporting pupils experiencing dyslexia and GAM attempts to achieve this by encouraging immediate and timely access to support. Nevertheless, McPhillips et al. (2015) suggest that the implementation of the model is inconsistent through the system and not all pupils with dyslexia are receiving adequate levels of support. The DES (2005) and NCSE (2013) state that additional teaching resources for pupils with high incidence disabilities including dyslexia may be allocated in accordance with pupils’ learning needs. Kinsella et al (2014) report that some pupils with high incidence disabilities can experience learning needs which are more severe than pupils with low incidence disabilities who receive a greater level of resources. Schools also report difficulties in meeting pupils with severe higher incidence learning needs. The NCSE (2013) recommend that additional support for pupils with SEN should be allocated according to their actual needs as opposed to the disability category. This premise would confirm that needs arising from dyslexia occur along a continuum reflecting the wide range of ability/need that can be manifested within categories and hence the support offered should also reflect this continuum.
An interpretive paradigm guided this research. The central aim of the interpretive paradigm is to understand the subjective world of human experience (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007). The interpretive paradigm uses qualitative methods that allows the researchers to get the personal views of the research interviewees. A key aspect of the interpretive paradigm, is that it doesn’t claim to represent all potential respondents, rather it holds that information gained from this approach can provide vital evidence (Reid, 1996).
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3: 77-101. British Educational Research Association (2011) Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.weraonline.org/resource/resmgr/a_general/bera.pdf Cohen, L. Manion, L. & Morrison K. (2000). Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge Falmer. Department of Education and Science (DES) (2002) Report of the Task Force on Dyslexia. Dublin: Government Publications. Department of Education and Science (DES) (2003) Circular 24/03: Allocation of Resources for Pupils with Special Educational Needs in National Schools. Dublin: The Stationery Office. Department of Education and Science (DES) (2005) Circular SP ED 02/05: Organisation of Teaching Resources for Students who need Additional Support in Mainstream Primary Schools. Dublin: The Stationery Office. McPhillips, T., Hazzard, D., Beck, G., Casserly, A.M. and Tiernan, B. (2015) Dyslexia in Ireland, North and South-Perspectives on developments since publication of the Dyslexia Reports (2002). SCoTENs: Author. National Council for Special Education (NCSE), 2014 Delivery for Students with Special Educational Needs: A better and more equitable way. Trim: NCSE. Kinsella, W., Murtagh, L., Senior, J., in association with Coleman M., (National Council for Special Education (NCSE), 2014) Review of NCSE Resource Allocation Process and Evaluation of Deployment of Resources in Schools. Trim: NCSE.
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