The Learning Support Guidelines (2000, p.39) outlined the principal teacher’s overall responsibility for the education of children with special educational needs. Under the new allocation model the principal’s leadership role is central and includes the following:
- Developing inclusive whole-school policies and monitoring their implementation
- Assigning staff strategically to teaching roles, including special education roles
- Co-ordinating teachers’ work to ensure continuity of provision for all pupils
- Ensure that whole-school procedures are established to facilitate the effective involvement of parents, pupils and external professionals / agencies
- Ensuring that effective systems are implemented to identify pupils’ needs and that progress is monitored methodically
- Facilitate the continuing professional development of all teachers in relation to education of pupils with special educational needs, and ensure that all school staff (class teachers, special education teachers and special needs assistants) are clear regarding their roles and responsibilities in this area
Depending on the school’s size and context, some of these actions will be delegated to teams or other members of staff while the principal retains overall responsibility for the school’s provision for pupils with special educational needs.