The Council meets in the Education Sector in order to make decisions on common policies and approaches in areas such as education for children with special needs, educational under-achievement, teacher qualifications and school, youth and teacher exchanges.
The initial agreed work programme includes:
1. Education for Children with Special Needs (for example, autism, hearing impairment)
- The exchange of information and expertise on meeting educational needs
- Closer collaboration in the development of policy responses across the range of special needs
- The scope for collaboration in the provision of highly specialised services
- Areas where joint surveys or research would be beneficial in assessing needs
2. Educational Under-achievement
- The exchange of expertise and experience in catering for children who are educationally disadvantaged
- The scope for collaboration in the development of initiatives to address disadvantage
- The scope for sharing information on research into disadvantage and the scope for joint research or pilot initiatives
- Links between schools and educational organisations in both jurisdictions to facilitate co-operation on operational issues
- Specific issues relevant to both Departments such as the needs of traveller children
3. Teacher Qualifications
- Barriers to the movement of teachers between North and South at both primary and post-primary level, including the Irish language requirement, superannuation entitlements and approval of qualifications, and the scope for removing or ameliorating these
- The development of General Teaching Councils in both jurisdictions and co-operation between them, with a view to rationalising approaches to teacher qualifications
- Collaboration in teacher education in areas of mutual benefit such as training of teachers for Irish-medium education.
4. School, Youth & Teaching Exchanges
- A more integrated and coherent approach to exchanges, including the clarification of policy objectives, targets and common criteria for the assessment of exchanges
- The scope for the further development of exchanges in areas or sectors which have not previously participated
- Issues of concern in both jurisdictions such as child protection arrangements, measures focused on disadvantaged children and young people, evaluation and research, conflict resolution and cross-community activity
- Mechanisms for facilitating co-operation in the area of youth exchanges, including the need for linkages between the Youth Council for Northern Ireland and the Irish National Youth Council.
You can view Education Sector Joint Communiques in the Publications section.