A longitudinal study over three years examining how special education is provided within Irish schools.


Project Description: 

A longitudinal study over three years examining how special education is provided within Irish schools, the experiences of pupils/students with special education needs (SEN) receiving this education and their associated outcomes.



Research Team:

Project IRIS was carried out by ICEP Europe in conjunction with The Centre for Special Needs Education and Research, University of Northampton, and the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin.


Project IRIS was commissioned by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).


The research project was divided into five main phases as follows:

Phase 1: The main focus of this phase was to conduct a critical review of current literature in special education provision and practice. Focus group interviews were also be carried out which informed surveys to be used later in the study and help identify examples of interesting and innovative practice.

Phase 2: The goal of this phase was to conduct an electronic survey delivered to all primary schools in Ireland and aimed at collecting data on the provision of special education in those schools. This phase also involved carrying out case studies of SEN provision in individual primary schools, and case studies of individual students within those schools.

Phase 3: This phase involved conducting an electronic survey to collect data on special education provision within post-primary schools in Ireland. As with phase 2, case studies of individual post-primary schools and individual pupils within those schools was carried out.

Phase 4: The focus of phase four was to revisit both the primary and post-primary schools, and students, from the earlier phases. Developments in key aspects of school policy and procedures, and any changes in the pupils experience was examined.

Phase 5: The principle focus of this phase was to review all aspects of the data generated over the course of the project and the preparation and delivery of a final report. This included the review and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and the development of recommendations based on the overall findings from each phase.

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Online SEN courses
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