NCCA developmental work on the use of 'flexible learning profiles' is being undertaken with a small number of schools. Flexible learning profile schools offer access to a range of qualifications.
Mainstream post-primary schools now follow courses leading to Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) awards. In some schools, 5th year LCA students can access a choice of FETAC awards such as “Customer Services”. Pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools, and in some special schools, can also follow these courses.
To expand the curriculum at Senior Cycle, the following FETAC modules have been introduced as options to all 5th year students (both established LC and LCA)
- Information Technology Skills Level 4
- Computer Applications Level 4
- Health and Fitness Level 4
- Cultural Studies Level 4
FETAC has responsibility for setting the standards for named awards at levels 1 to 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Since 2006, FETAC has set standards for named awards at Levels 1 and 2 and has recently introduced three new certificates at these levels. This may provide an opportunity for students, who have significant learning disabilities, and who are unable to access the Junior or Leaving Certificate programmes, to achieve certification.
ASDAN (Award Scheme Development And Accreditation Network) is a UK-based approved awarding body which creates opportunities for learners to achieve personal and social development through the achievement of a wide range of ASDAN Awards and Qualifications. ASDAN qualifications and awards provide opportunities for students 14-19 to develop personal, social and active citizenship skills, work-related skills, key skills and wider key skills. ASDAN are used mainly by those with special needs.
A number of the awards have been developed for learners with moderate, severe, complex, profound or multiple learning difficulties. These awards are available in a small number of special schools in Ireland. For example, St Raphael’s Special School, in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, is a registered centre for delivering ASDAN programmes.
The principal can advise you if the above options are available in your child's school.
It is useful for parents to know that there is no legal requirement for students to sit either the Junior or the Leaving Certificate Examinations.
The legislation governing school attendance in Ireland is the Education (Welfare) Act 2000. Under the Act, the minimum school leaving age is raised to 16 years (was 15), or the completion of three years of post-primary education, whichever is the later.
Parents are required to ensure that their children from the age of 6 to the age of 16 attend a recognised school or receive a certain minimum education. There is no absolute legal obligation on children to attend school nor on their parents to send them to school.
Parents have a constitutional right to educate their children at home. If you choose to home-school your child, you do not need a formal teaching qualification or curriculum but you must ensure that your child receives a certain minimum education. You can adopt the approach you feel best suits the learning needs of your child to make sure that he or she is learning successfully and making reasonable progress, given his or her age, ability, aptitude and learning needs.