SPECIAL EDUCATION: Are our schools really getting more inclusive?
7 Backers raised €260 of €4660

Though it is recommended that more students with special education needs be able to access education in mainstream schools, there is huge concern over the allocation of key supports required to enable this.

In order to become a fully inclusive education system, special education teachers (SETs) have been identified as essential for those who require small group support or individualised teaching.

But advocates fear new allocation criteria will strip support from those who need it most.

This investigation will expose how, despite government promises, some of our most vulnerable children are at risk of leaving school without basic literacy and numeracy skills, due to lack of adequate teaching support.


SETs, alongside special needs assistants (SNAs), specialist equipment and other targeted supports were identified as being the reason behind progress to date in mainstream schools for students with learning disabilities, deaf and vision-impaired students as well as students with conditions such as Down Syndrome.

The policy advice paper which stated this, by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) in early 2024, also found intervention by SETs resulted in better results and student engagement.

We will delve into the process of allocation of SETs and find out whether there is a proper framework or a patchwork implementation of this key support across the country.

For the 2024/25 school year, the criteria for allocation of SETs is changing and will no longer be based on the ‘complex needs’ of students. This has sparked outrage from advocates who fear it will impact the most vulnerable children who need the highest level of support.

Our team will dig into how this change came about and its potential impact on students.

Different approaches to education - whether in mainstream, special classes or special schools - are being implemented across the country. We will examine solutions that are working at a local level and question the government on issues hindering national rollout.

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You can contact us at and find out how we work here. Our investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.

7 Backers raised €260 of €4660
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