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Learning and teaching - Ireland

Support for teachers

In-career development

In-career development opportunities for teachers who are working with students with low achievement and students with special educational needs (learning-support teachers and resource teachers) are funded by the DES and are available in a number of University Departments of Education and Colleges of Education throughout the country. Courses in special education are also available on-line to teachers.  The courses include a substantial component on test administration and interpretation.  Teachers are compensated for time spent in some of the training modes outlined. In addition, teachers sometimes undertake training and further study in the area of special education within their own time without compensatory leave. 

In-school support

Teachers are supported in their role in operating a continuum of support for pupils with special educational needs by the NEPS booklets referred to above, by the Guidelines on Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum (NCCA) and by access to standardised tests that are normed on school children in Ireland. Teachers may also consult their assigned NEPS psychologist and/or the assigned SENO for advice.

The School Development Planning support services (SDPS primary and SDPI post-primary) provide expertise and time for schools to plan for all areas of teaching and learning, including the area of special educational needs. 

The Curriculum Support Services  (PCSP and SLSS) provides advice and training to teachers on implementation of the curriculum, with a particular emphasis on differentiation to cater for the needs of pupils with special educational needs.

The Special Education Support Service (SESS) provides professional development and support for school personnel working with pupils and students with special educational needs in a variety of educational settings including mainstream primary, post-primary, special schools and special classes. Courses are organised at centralised venues and teachers with particular expertise are made available on request to visit a school to support a teachers/teachers with specific needs in terms of professional support in the area of special educational needs.



  • DES – Department of Education and Science
  • NCCA – National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
  • NEPS – National Educational Psychological Service
  • PCSP – Primary Curriculum Support Programme
  • SESS – Special Education Support Service
  • SENO - Special Educational Needs Organisers
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