06 July 2018

In-School Therapies Pilot for Clondalkin and Lucan Children

  • 40 Schools across Clondalkin and Lucan to participate in pilot bringing speech and language therapists and occupational therapists into schools and pre-schools
Local Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid-West, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed the announcement of the first ever project to provide in-school and pre-school therapy services. The pilot project will take place in her own local Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) Region 7 which includes West Dublin, Kildare, and West Wicklow. 

“I have been pushing for some time now to have a more integrated approach to our community health services and our Education system. Having therapists come to schools to provide the necessary interventions such as Speech and Language Therapy or Occupational Therapy seems a practical solution. Not only does it lessen the amount of time a child needs to be away from their classroom but it also allows the therapists and teachers to collaborate and more accurately meet the particular needs of an individual child.

“The provision of in-school Speech and Language services was a core commitment of my Party in the last election which we ensured was included in the Programme for Government. Following an initial announcement of the scheme in May, the local preschools, primary and post primary schools taking part in the pilot have been announced.

“Forty schools across Clondalkin and Lucan will take part in this exciting pilot during the 2018/19 school year. This includes twenty seven pre-schools, ten Primary and three Post-Primary schools.

“This pilot has the potential to change a child’s entire education. By placing such an emphasis locally on our pre-schools in particular, this pilot will ensure that issues can be identified and addressed before they become a barrier to a child’s learning.

“It will also build on the work already undertaken by schools to accommodate various levels of educational need. For example, participating schools such as Phobailscoil Iosolde, St. Peter’s Apostle, Lucan Educate Together and Our Lady Queen of Apostles all have ASD Units on site and are experienced with how to integrate children who may have additional needs with their peers.

Detailing the pilot project, Deputy Fitzgerald explained:

 “This project sees the coming together of our State bodies and the Departments of Education and Children. It has been developed by the Department of Education and Skills in conjunction with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Health and the HSE. €2.25m is being allocated to Phase One of the project in 2018 which will be managed and coordinated by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

“This funding will see 150 schools involved in the pilot with an additional 19 speech and language therapists and 12 Occupational Therapists recruited across the country. The NCSE will also recruit 2 National Co-ordinators to manage the project.

“The first phase of this pilot will see a focus on early intervention and providing professional training and guidance for school staff, giving parents the tools and encouragement to help with their children’s communication skills at home and creating better linkages between a child’s school and home environments with their required therapy and developmental supports.

“Both Speech and Language and Occupational Therapists will deliver services in school to children who require additional assistance. This in-school service is intended to complement the existing HSE funded essential therapy services and target Speech and Language issues as they arise.”

Fitzgerald also paid tribute to the work of all the various stakeholders in this project, stating:

“Getting all these bodies to coordinate and work together has taken a lot of work but is clearly the best way forward. By bringing together all the interested parties, we can deliver a better and more efficient support system for our children. It has involved the HSE working with the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Health and Education and Skills. I appreciate the efforts of our local HSE and schools in bringing this pilot to Clondalkin and Lucan areas.

“This pilot has the potential to be life-changing for some children. By placing therapists in our schools we can immediately intervene and support a child’s individual learning needs, affecting their entire experience with the education system.

I look forward to seeing how this pilot progresses in the upcoming school year and how best we can open this out to more schools in the future,”
concluded Fitzgerald.


Additional Notes

The following will participate in the pilot:

Ronanstown CPD & Ronanstown Community Childcare Centre
Mrs Giggles- Bawnogue
Giraffe Childcare- Liffey Valley
Fonthill Lodge - Clondalkin
Naionra Chronain - Clondalkin
Footprints- Clondalkin
The Village Daycare- Clondalkin
Rowtees Preschool - Clondalkin
Brightsparks - Clondalkin
Little Gems Preschool- Clondalkin
Rainbow Magic Preschool - Bawnogue
Bambi Preschool - Greenpark, Clondalkin
Number One Montessori - Lucan
Giraffe - Ballyowen Lane, Lucan
Kidsbrook Creche -  Lucan
Tots of Fun - Lucan
KidStart Preschool - Lucan
The Oldschool House - Lucan
The Wombles - Lucan
Sweetpea Preschool - Lucan
Explore Together Childcare Centre - Lucan
St Finians Community Playgroup - Lucan
Sunflowers Creche - Lucan
Naionra Eiscir - Lucan
Montessori Matters - Lucan
Rainbows End - Lucan
Naíonra Mháirin - Lucan

Primary Schools

St. Lorcan's BNS - Palmerstown
St. John The Evangelist NS - Adamstown
Scoil Mhuire Woodview - Lucan
St. Thomas JNS - Lucan
St. John’s NS - Clondalkin
Lucan Educate Together NS - Lucan
Scoil Chrónáin - Rathcoole
Scoil Aine - Clondalkin
St. Peter's Apostle - Clondalkin
Our Lady Queen of Apostles Clonburris - Clondalkin

Post Primary
Lucan Community College - Lucan
Phobailscoil Iosolde - Palmerstown
Moyle Park College - Clondalkin

Phase one of the project will focus on:
  • Early intervention and tailored supports.
  • Bringing specialised therapists into schools and pre-schools to provide tailored support to children.
  • Collaboration and greater linkages between therapists, parents, teachers and other school and pre-school staff.
  • Developing greater linkages between educational and therapy supports.
  • Providing professional training and guidance for school and pre-school staff and parents in supporting children’s therapy and developmental needs.
  • Maximising the participation of parents in their children’s communication development.

The pilot project will take place in the HSE Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) Region 7 which includes West Dublin, Kildare, and West Wicklow. 

This region has been selected to ensure that the pre-school and in-school therapy model can be tested in both urban and rural locations and with a suitable mix of various types of schools and pre-schools.

Pre-schools and schools have been selected for participation in the project, according to defined sampling criteria which will give a representative sample of schools. Pre-schools and schools are being invited to participate in the project and will do so on a voluntary basis.

The demonstration project will take place over the course of the 2018/19 school and ECCE year.

The pilot will be evaluated to assess the effectiveness of the pre-school and in-school delivery model in order to inform decisions about possible future roll out of a National Programme.

Each therapist will provide support to clusters of schools and pre-schools within the pilot region.

In some instances where children have significant persistent needs, direct one on one support will be provided in pre-schools and schools for those children.