Masters Research: Leading the New Special Education Teaching Allocation Model: Examining the Perspectives and Experiences of School Leaders in Leading Special and Inclusive Education in Irish Primary Schools

Leading the New Special Education Teaching Allocation Model: Examining the Perspectives and Experiences of School Leaders in Leading Special and Inclusive Education in Irish Primary Schools

The overall purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives and experiences of school leaders on the implementation of the special education teaching allocation model and the impact of this model on special and inclusive education in Ireland. The study also sought to identify the inclusive practices evident in schools and explore how the needs of children with special educational needs were met through the allocation model. Seven primary school principals in Ireland from a variety of school contexts took part in this study. A qualitative research design was employed to elicit the views of school leaders. The participants took part in semi-structured interviews which covered topics relating to the allocation model, inclusive practices and the continuum of support. The data was analysed using a thematic coding process. The findings revealed moderately positive perspectives from school leaders on the special education teaching allocation model. All participants expressed positive views towards inclusion and were committed to supporting all children to reach their potential. Inclusive practices were evident in all participant schools. The data also highlighted the challenges for leadership in implementing the model to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs in their schools. Recommendations are made for policy, practice and future research as a means of directing policy makers and supporting schools in the implementation of special and inclusive education.

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