Cork Sinn Fein TD has introduced a Bill that would make it a requirement for all children with special educational needs to be provided with an Individual Education Plan
The bill, created by Donnchadh O’Laoghaire would also place an onus on the Department of Education to inspect and report on the quality and prevalence of Individual Education Plans received by children with special educational needs in schools.
In 2004 the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act was signed into law and it gave great hope for children with special educational needs and their families that they would be able to access the support and resources they were entitled to.
However speaking in the Dail Deputy O’Laoghaire says the reality is that in 2022 we are still waiting for that act to be fully implemented:
“The EPSEN Act was signed into law in July 2004. With its signing came great hope for children with special educational needs and their families that they would finally get the support and resources they were entitled to. In 2022, we are still waiting for the EPSEN Act to be fully implemented.
Children born the year of the EPSEN Act will be turning 18 this year, and the school-based support that they were expected to receive under EPSEN has never arrived. They will have finished in the education system without this support.
One of the key provisions of EPSEN is that every child with special educational needs should have an Individual Education Plan. These are being provided by many schools, however we know that the non-mandatory nature of this means many children who need an IEP do not have one, and the quality of these varies greatly.
The Government have a long way to go to heal the relationships between families of children with special educational needs and the State. Parents are sick and tired of having to fight for an IEP, for an Assessment of Need, for an adequate school place. Everything is a battle.”