The role of the Special Education Support Service (SESS) is to enhance the quality of learning and teaching in relation to special educational provision. The service co-ordinates, develops and delivers a range of professional development initiatives and support structures for school personnel working with students with special educational needs in mainstream primary and post-primary schools, special schools and special classes. The SESS operates under the remit of the Teacher Education Section (TES) of the Department of Education and Skills.
The aim of the service, is to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, with particular reference to special educational provision. In this regard, the SESS aims to provide a quality service that is inclusive, promotes collaboration and co-operation and provides for equality of access. In order to further articulate these aims and approach, the SESS adopted the following Mission Statement:
‘Through our work in supporting school personnel, we promote the acceptance of the individuality, potential and worth of every pupil with special educational needs. As a service that acknowledges and values difference, we work with schools to secure these principles and to provide high quality continuing professional development and support structures for teachers.
We are committed to combining a flexible and person-centred approach to the development of teachers’ knowledge and skills with theoretical and practical perspectives so that pupils with special educational needs are enabled to reach their full potential and be included in the whole life of the school.’
The SESS facilitates a partnership approach involving support teams of practising teachers, Education Centres, the Inspectorate, National Educational Psychological Service, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the National Council for Special Education, Third Level Colleges, Health Board Personnel, Teacher Unions and other relevant bodies and services. In a similar spirit of partnership the SESS maximises the benefits of North-South co-operation.
The Inclusion Support Service (ISS)
The Inclusion Support Service incorporates the following three existing services with immediate effect:
- The National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS)
- The Special Education Support Service (SESS)
- The Visiting Teachers’ for Hearing and Visual Impairment (VTHVI) Service.
Transitional arrangements are being put in place to facilitate the continuing operation of the SESS during the transition phase and to assist with the SESS transfer to the new Inclusion Support Service.
Click here to view the announcement made by the Department of Education and Skills
Click here to view the NCSE’s response to the announcement