Since 1975 special education has been a mandatory requirement for class rosters. However, not all special education can be taught in general education classrooms; therefore, special education teachers and paraprofessionals must sometimes provide special education in separate classrooms and, outside of the public school system, in separate residential settings and day schools.

Among them are: special schools for students who have a general learning disability at a mild or moderate level; schools for visually impaired and hearing impaired students; a few schools for students with physical disabilities; a small number of special schools for students who are emotionally disturbed.

76 The landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared unconstitutional the ” separate but equal ” arrangements in public schools for students of different races, paved the way for PARC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Mills vs. Board of Education of District of Columbia , which challenged the segregation of students with special needs.

Boards of Management are required to use the State resources provided to the school to make reasonable provisions and accommodation for students with disabilities or other special education needs, including, where necessary, alteration of buildings and the provision of appropriate equipment.

Where a young person’s needs are too complex to be met by a mainstream further education institution alone, local agencies such as social services, or a specialist FE institution (see the article on ‘ Separate Special Education Needs Provision ‘) may also provide support.