Nationwide ETB schools project makes “the invisible visible”.

Education & Training Boards are participating in a groundbreaking project, the initial results of which were presented at a national Leading Inclusive Education event in Portlaoise on April 16th, 2024. Provision Mapping, an evidence-based process to evaluate student supports, strategically cost and plan provision,
allocate resources, and identify staff professional learning needs, is underway in 140 ETBs
schools across the sixteen ETBs.

Project lead, Education & Training Board’s Dr Johanna Fitzgerald said “Inclusive Special Education is all about making the invisible visible, and provision mapping supports all students,
including those with special education needs (SEN), by working with all teachers in schools to
examine teaching, learning and assessment approaches that make a difference to students’
outcomes. Our initial project findings indicate that provision mapping is having a positive impact
on student learning and staff understanding, awareness in schools and ETBs.”

Other project findings include:

  • Most important benefits include increased school wide awareness and understanding of
    inclusive and special education.
  • 95% of participants surveyed indicate they wish to continue implementing the process.
  • Additional qualitative feedback indicated that the strategic leadership nature of Special
    Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) role needs to be formally recognised and
    resourced in schools to develop and embed a schoolwide approach to teaching, learning,
    assessment and reporting for students with additional needs in schools.

“We believe everyone deserves excellence in education.” ETBI General Secretary Paddy Lavelle
told over 150 ETB school representatives at the event. “Supporting children and young people
with special education needs and their families is a priority for our schools and requires
wholesale investment and commitment across the education system. That’s why we’re working
hard with all our education partners to ensure that schools are resourced to provide the best
possible opportunities for our students.

Led by Dr Fitzgerald in partnership with Mary Immaculate College, the provision mapping
project was initially piloted across 6 schools in Limerick and Clare ETB in 2016, followed by a
national pilot across 33 schools in 2020, and is now being implemented in 140 ETB Schools
across sixteen ETBs.