TCELT research seminar - 6 March 2024

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Transition preparation and transition planning in Irish special schools: capturing the views of students, parents, teachers and school leaders

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Wednesday 6 March 2024, 12:00 - 13:00
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Leanne Connolly is an Assistant Professor in Inclusive & Special Education and currently the Programme Chair of the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education in the Institute of Education at Dublin City University (DCU). She is a PhD candidate with DCU School of Human Development where her area of study relates to transition preparation and transition planning for students in Special Schools in Ireland and the role of class teachers in this regard. As a former Primary School teacher, she worked for many years in a Special School, and gained significant experience using a range of autism specific teaching approaches and behavioural interventions with students from age 4 -19. Leanne also spent many years working with Ireland's largest support service, Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).  Leanne's interests are in participatory research methods; relationship & sexuality education for students with complex needs; and autism education. Email: leanne.connolly@dcu.ie

Internationally, key policies and legislation have begun to be influenced by a move towards a rights-based approach to education and employment for people with disabilities. The ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2006), in the Republic of Ireland (2018), initiated a number of action plans and strategies to uphold the rights of people with disabilities and support the transition into further and higher education and progression to employment. Whilst there have been modest increases in education and employment participation rates of some people with disabilities, the Republic of Ireland continues to underperform in supporting transition to further and higher education and progression into the workplace, particularly for those with intellectual disabilities. The Republic of Ireland also trails behind other developed countries with the lack of dedicated transition planning legislation.

This session will explore the initial findings of a participatory social justice explanatory sequential PhD research study which aims to understand the views and experiences of teachers, parents, students and school leaders in Irish Special Schools of transition preparation and transition planning. 

This multi-phase study combines both traditional data generation methods of surveys, interviews and focus groups with the Mosaic Approach (Clark & Moss, 2001). The aim of the study is to raise post-school aspirations by developing a programme of CPD in transition planning for senior cycle teachers in Special Schools to support more autonomous post-school decision making for students and their families.  

Connolly, L. (2023). Key Policies and Legislation Underpinning Post-School Transition Practices for People with Disabilities in the Republic of Ireland. International Journal of Educational and Life Transitions, 2(1): 18, pp. 1–12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/ijelt.42

Connolly, L., Scanlon, G. and Corby, D. (2022) The "what", "where" and "who" of guidance and transition planning for students with intellectual disabilities in Ireland - a literature review. Inclusive Education SIG Newsletter (1). https://doras.dcu.ie/26696/

Event type Seminar
Event category Research