30th November 2022
The Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan, has today announced the opening of the public consultation as part of the review of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, which provides for the education of children aged under 18 years with special educational needs.
Minister Madigan said: “I announced at the end of last year the launch of this important review of the EPSEN Act along with the establishment of a Steering group and Advisory Group to oversee the process. We are now in a position to open up our public consultation and I would encourage everyone in this sector to engage with the process over the coming period.
“The purpose of the consultation is to ensure that legislation on education for students with additional needs is up-to-date, fully operational, and reflective of the lived experiences of students and families.
“This is about ensuring that the views of persons with disabilities are fully considered in policy making. The review will help us to understand what aspects of the law is working well and whether aspects of it should be amended. This is about listening.
“This is a critical piece of legislation which we know needs to be updated and we want to hear from as many different voices as possible. It is an important part of the review that the first hand experiences of current and former school students and their parents are recorded.
“We will be launching a series of online surveys for parents and students, as well as the professionals who work with our students with additional needs. We want the process to be inclusive and accessible, and will be using surveys, taking submissions online and holding focus groups, among other methods, with support from stakeholders, to make sure a wide range of views are heard.”
The online home of the consultation is gov.ie/epsenreview. The department will be engaging with schools, parents’ groups, students’ organisations, providers of further and higher education and of day services, as well as with school communities, education partners and professional bodies, to ensure that a wide cohort of people are aware of and have the opportunity to have their views heard.
The consultation period will run into spring 2023. Ongoing updates will be posted on gov.ie/epsenreview and on the department’s digital channels.