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Kinsale College and CETB spearheading reform in the Further Education Sector

Posted on February 7, 2019

Catering effectively in our school system for students with disabilities lies at the heart of the vision held by the Director of Kinsale College, Ms Liz Moynihan.   Having devoted two decades to second level education, she was appointed as Director of Kinsale College of Further Education, coinciding with the Department of Education & Skills’ prioritisation of reform and upgrading of Special Education Needs at both primary and post primary levels. 

The Further Education sector, however, did not enjoy such attention, notwithstanding the fact that many students experiencing difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia were returning to education without formal diagnoses which, ideally, should have entitled them to resources to cater for their specific needs and help them experience success which had previously eluded them in the education system.    

Liz established an Active Inclusion Network with four other Further Education Colleges in CETB and in association with AHEAD – the Association of Higher Education Access and Disability.    They set out to investigate if other Colleges of Further Education were experiencing similar difficulties and to examine approaches to putting a Professional Development System in place to upskill teaching staff on best practice when dealing with students experiencing disabilities.  

This became a very positive forum in which teachers were afforded the time and space to meet, discuss challenges arising, train and have a root and branch look at systems in place with a view to rendering them more effective and fit for purpose.    This network’s report was formally launched in December, 2018, and outcomes include the following:

  • Solas has established a National Active Inclusion Advisory Group incorporating all the funding departments, with a view to devising a strategy for the FE sector.  Liz Moynihan is a member of this group.
  • SOLAS has provided funding of circa 0.75% of the overall grant to enhance supports to learners within FET Nationwide 2019 which is a widely welcomed development

Kinsale College is delighted to announce that it received an increase in funding from the Higher Education Authority this year which ensured that enhanced services were made available to students with disabilities e.g., personal assistants, tutor support, small group support, educational testing, assistive technology and IT supports.

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