Child Protection and Special Education: The Policy Landscape in Ireland

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2020)
Title: Child Protection and Special Education: The Policy Landscape in Ireland
Stream: Education & Difference: Gifted Education, Special Education, Learning Difficulties & Disability
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Barry Morrissey, Dublin City University, Ireland


The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools were published in December 2017, and by March 2018 all schools in Ireland were required to be fully compliant with their stipulations. This paper presents a comprehensive policy analysis of those Procedures using a hybrid analytical tool premised on Walt and Gilson’s (1994) Policy Analysis Triangle, with a selection of Riddell’s (2003) Models of Administrative Justice acting as lenses to aid interpretation. The Procedures’ context, content, actors and processes are explored and the influence of case law and regulatory theory on the design and enactment of the Procedures is analysed. The multi-agency approach to child protection in Ireland is delineated and particular emphasis is placed on the experience of schools with special education classes, interacting with the Procedures. Difficulties relating to the perceived lack of agency on the part of teachers to differentiate the curricular component to child protection for learners with disabilities, and the implications of having more non-mandated than mandated persons therein employed is examined. The paper concludes with an overview of the possible implications of this policy review for pedagogy and practice, and details future research currently in the planning phase.