Aoife McGarry is the Policy Trainee at Inclusion Europe.
Her sister Róisín goes to a special education school called Scoil Niocláis Naofa Primay School in County Wicklow, Ireland.
There, mainstream students and students with special education needs learn and study together.
Aoife met with some of the staff behind this school and talked about the importance of inclusivity in education taking Róisín as an example.
What this video presents:
Mr Moran, the Principal
Ms Conroy, the Class Teacher
Ms Moran, the Special Education Teacher
Jean, the Special Needs Assistant
Maria, Róisín’s mother
[01:01] Do you have experience working in a school that does not have inclusive education policy?
Mr Moran doesn’t have any experience working in a school that doesn’t have inclusive policy. He has been working in this school for more than 20 years and he has seen progress in its inclusive policy.
Ms Conroy has been teaching for 20 years and there wasn’t much inclusivity back then. There were children that needed more help that it was given to them.
[01:53] What is your role as a special education teacher and as a special needs assistant?
Ms Moran spends her days in Solas (special education class) where she teaches students with special education needs. She works with the mainstream class teacher. She also organise trips for the students with special education needs.
Jean assists students with special education needs to participate in education.
[02:58] What kind of training did you receive for this role?
Ms Moran qualified as teacher in 1992 and received various trainings on the area of special education. She engages in ongoing training.
[03:25] How do the class teacher and special education teacher work together?
Ms Conroy and Ms Moran are always in contact about Róisín. Ms Moran informs Ms Conroy if Róisín is doing well that day and what kind of homework she can do.
Ms Moran teaches Róisín class behaviour so that when she goes to Ms Conroy’s class, she behaves accordingly.
They work together to make Róisín independent.
[04:21] There are negative arguments build around inclusive education (administrative difficulties, waste of time, more responsibilities, etc). Do you agree with them?
Ms Conroy disagrees with these arguments.
It’s not a waste of time. You’re not taking up any more time. Behaviour can be tricky if it’s a difficult behaviour. But if you’re calm and if you’re always modelling the best practice if possible, on how to handle situations like that. That is education.
[05:30] What do you think about the quality of education that the special education school gives to Róisín?
Maria is “extremely confident” in the education that the school gives to Róisín. She and the teachers meet to set what subjects should Róisín learn best for her future.
[06:35] What is the impact of having students with special education needs at school?
Mr Moran and Ms Conroy say that students with special education needs have a positive impact on everyone at school.
Mr Moran says:
We found that the children were more empathetic. We found that he (first boy with down syndrome enrolled at school) followed what his peers were doing as well. And he learned from them, and they learned from him.
[08:20] How has Róisín improved under inclusive education policy?
Maria says that Róisín is calmer and happier with her school routine.
She is so clever in taking all this information in!
[09:15] What does inclusive education mean to you?
Education is built around the child.
Depending on what the child needs to get to the same level as the other children, is the support that we would give them.
Ms Moran says:
It has as many benefits for the mainstream child as it has for the child with additional needs.
Mr Moran says:
It involves a strong team approach.
Ms Conroy says:
Regardless of their disability they are welcome all day, every day.
- Scoil Niocláis Naofa’s website: https://snndunlavin.com/
- Inclusion Europe’s work on education archives: https://www.inclusion-europe.eu/tag/inclusive-education/
The video with english subtitles:
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