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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



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Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress,

30th October -2nd November 2018, Dublin Castle


The right to an inclusive education is explicitly stated in Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD 2016). The term Inclusion is significant, and it has replaced the preceding term Integration. Where integration may simply involve a student with a disability being placed in a mainstream setting, inclusion involves a focus on the experience of that student, removing barriers and supporting the student to participate in the educational process in the same way as their non-disabled peers. Integrated education in Ireland has been part of education policy since 1993 when a report recommended ‘as much integration as is appropriate and feasible with as little segregation as is necessary’. (Department of Education and Science 1993, p.22) At around the same time The Salamanca Statement (Unesco 1994) put Inclusive education on the international stage claiming that .... "those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should accommodate them within a child centred pedagogy capable of meeting these needs" (UNESCO 1994, p.viii). Ireland's policy has moved towards inclusion with many references to 'Inclusive education' in the Education for People with Special Educational Needs Act (2004) This move towards inclusive education has been reflected in the allocation of increased resources (teaching hours and special needs assistants) to children with various disabilities in mainstream schools. In 2015/16 over 29,000 students with special educational needs were supported by Special Needs Assistants and almost 53,000 students received additional teaching supports within mainstream schools. (NCSE 2016, p.13) While many may argue that the supports remain insufficient, there is no doubt that the resources for inclusive education have increased significantly over the past three decades in school settings.

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