Added on 24/01/2007
Mr Sydney Blain, Principal of the Church of Ireland College of Education, has been appointed to the Chair of the newly created National Council for Special Education in the Republic of Ireland.
The Minister for Education & Science, Mary Hanafin, TD announced that the Council will carry out research and provide expert advice to her office about the educational needs of children with disabilities and the provision of related services. The Council also oversees the work of special needs education organisers who support and inform schools regarding the resources to assist the educational needs of children who have specific learning difficulties.
In his role as Principal of the Church of Ireland College of Education Mr Blain has overseen the development of a Post Graduate Course in Learning Support and Special Educational Needs for teachers. He has also overseen the development of a training course for special needs assistants who work with children in schools. Mr Blain’s background is that of a primary teacher and educational psychologist. He also serviced on the initial Special Education Review Committee which did pioneering work leading ultimately to the current legislation for persons with special education needs.
The General Synod Board of Education (RI) has drawn attention to the need for resourcing and infrastructure in the area of special needs education in a series of their reports to the General Synod. A Church of Ireland spokesman said, “Sydney is a highly experienced and appropriate person to have been appointed to this important role and it is a tribute to the leadership he gives both to the College of Education and to our national schools.”