19 September 2016

Reflection on the AHEAD MOOC

I am currently doing an AHEAD course: Supporting students with disabilities at third level.  
The first assignment was due last Monday, I submitted it on Friday evening thinking I was the last but then realised a few people submitted it over that weekend!  When I submitted it, I saw the check box to tick if I wanted to see other teachers submission, if only I had noticed that before I submitted mine!!
But what I liked was that after my submission I saw and learned from other teachers work/submission.  

Assignment 1: Legislation Reflection M.Bergin
Both the CPD day and this MOOC have emphasized  the legal  responsibilities and duties we have as a service provider of education.  The onus of responsibility on individual teachers to  perhaps change their pedagogies to meet the individual needs of  students and to make every effort to accommodate students with disabilities.  However, the overall responsibility rests with the principal to ensure the service provider follows the legal requirements as set out in a number of laws.
“Under the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003: Statutory provision to protect individuals personal data which is processed.” “Consititution: Article 40.3 right to privacy”
  As the disability co-ordinator I ensure that any data I store is put in a secure location in schools management offices.  I also ensure any communication with other teachers in relation to students is treated confidentially and with permission of the students involved.  Any communication with a teacher  should have a purpose and result in an improvement/benefit for the student.
“Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014-Section 42-of the Act introduced a new public sector equality and human rights duty.  The S42 duty requires that public bodies have regard to (a) eliminate discrimination, (b)promote equality of opportunity and treatment of its staff and the persons to whom it provides services, (c)protect the human rights of its members, staff and the persons to whom it provides services.”
Our school promote access to disability services subject to providing the correct documentation.  The  school  ethos is to promote equality and foster a caring open environment.
The main legislation is the Equal status act 2015, which aims to prevent direct and indirect discrimination.  The latter defined as the treatment of one person less favourably than another.  Direct discrimination can occur based on nine grounds, including disability.  Indirect discrimination is
Indirect discrimination is a provision that can be in the form of a requirement or practice that applies equally to all prospective or existing students but which operates t the disadvantage of one group such as a student with disabilities.  Our school is very conscious to proactively prevent any discrimination; we are aware of our legal duties with regard to preventing any possible discrimination.  We are aware that failure by my school to do all that is reasonable to accommodate the needs of a person with a disability by providing special treatment or facilities  if without such special treatment or facilities it would be impossible for the person to avail of the service/course.
The other key Act is The Disability Act of 2005, it defines disability and ensures that people with disabilities have access to a  public building .   Have individual service statements drawn up.  Our school has one floor and we have wheelchair access toilets.  
This act also recognises Mental health as a disability which is beneficial as more and more students are presenting with such a disability. We provided assistive technology, academic/learning support, access to a study hub, separate exam centres, extra time and continued support from teachers, notes in advance via google apps and moodle.
To conclude, as the disability co-ordinator I am aware of the legal responsibilities and duties we must adhere to.  By proactively following data protection guidelines and respecting students with disabilities we can ensure we meet their needs effectively and create a conducive learning environment.

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