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Implementation of assessment policy - Ireland

At school level

  • The current approach to assessment of pupils with special educational needs is that it should be carried out with as much involvement of teachers and parents as possible and that it should inform learning and the planning of teaching for these pupils.  The establishment and operation of a continuum approach is encouraged through teacher education initiatives and advised by NEPS psychologists in schools.  Where input from Education and Health agencies are required for assessment, the aim is to have as co-ordinated (or multi-disciplinary) an approach as possible.
  • The development of Individual Educational Plans, with regular and effective reviews, is the focus of assessment.  These plans can vary in terms of complexity and specificity, depending on the level of need of the pupil.
  • The DES aims to reduce the need for formal assessment by professionals from outside the school for the purpose of accessing additional resource in order to focus on support and intervention for pupils as early as possible.  The General Allocation model was designed to achieve this, as well as to ensure early and appropriate assessment of need and intervention at school level, as described above.
  • Whole-school evaluations are carried out by the DES inspectorate on a cyclical basis.  The school’s approach to assessment and provision of education for pupils with special educational needs is a focus of these evaluations.

At  system level

In order to develop a co-ordinated approach to assessment and  IEP development by health and education personnel, a cross-sectoral working group has been established between the two departments.

The NCSE and the DES have both prepared documents as to how the EPSEN act can best be implemented.  Teacher education and increased personnel such as NEPS psychologists and SENOs have been identified as resource issues to be addressed in order to ensure the smooth commencement of the act in 2010.



  • DES – Department of Education and Science
  • EPSEN Act – Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act
  • IEP – Individual Educational Plan
  • NCSE – National Council for Special Education
  • NEPS – National Educational Psychological Service
  • SENO – Special Educational Needs Organisers
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