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Supporting transitions from school for students with complex special educational needs

12th December 2022

Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan today announced details of a pilot programme to support transitions from school for students with complex special educational needs.

The programme is a collaborative initiative between the Department of Education and Walkinstown Association for People with an Intellectual Disability (WALK), an experienced NGO working in this sector. Under the 2022 Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan, the Department of Education received €500,000 for this programme. WALK will be supported to deliver its Peer Ability programme across 10 schools.

Minister Madigan said:

“We know how important it is to support effective transitions for young people. I welcome this initiative and, in particular, the support that will be offered to participant young people for a number of years after they have left school. Evaluation of the programme will provide important longitudinal data which will be used to inform future work in this area.”

The WALK Peer Ability programme will take place across ten project school sites based in Louth, Dublin, Kerry, Cork and Kilkenny. The schools will be supported by a careers and employment facilitator, to engage with students and their parents and collaborate with teachers in complementary activities such as mini-companies, work experiences and transition planning. The partnership between the schools and WALK will be managed through a memorandum of understanding.

The key objectives of the project are to:

  • support 170 students in their final two years of school, across ten school sites (seven special and three post-primary schools) to develop individual transition plans for their chosen post-school options

  • partner with ten school teams (seven special and three post primary) to deliver the WALK PEER programme with students who choose to participate on the programme

  • engage the education and training board, local to the partner schools, to develop access routes to further education and training courses for participating students

  • engage 80 employers, local to the partner schools, to facilitate work experience placements and/or employment opportunities for participating students

The programme will be evaluated and the findings will be used to inform future policy development in this area.


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