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Latest Updates - what we have been working on

[Updated June 2012]

1.Latest updates on research papers from the Project IRIS Team

In recent weeks several researchers associated with Project IRIS have had papers published in academic  journals.

Michael Shevlin is co-author of a paper published in the European Journal of Special Needs Education:
Banks, J., Shevlin, M. & McCoy, S. (2012) Disproportionality in special education: identifying children with emotional behavioural difficulties in Irish primary schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education 27 (2) 219 – 235

In the same journal Mary Doveston and Johnson Jament, both of whom have assisted in data collection on the project published a paper;
Devecchi, C., Dettori, F., Doveston, M., Sedgwick, P, &Jament, J. (2012) Inclusive classrooms in Italy and England: the role of support teachers and teaching assistants.European Journal of Special Needs Education 27 (2) 171 – 184

In addition, Michael Shevlin also had a recent paper in the journal Teaching and Teacher Education.
Lodge, A, &Shevlin, M. (2011) Evaluating initial teacher education programmes: Perspectives from the Republic of Ireland.Teaching and Teacher Education 28 (2) 141 – 153


2. IVth North South Dialogue on inclusion in Goa India

NSD LogoRichard Rose, Project Leader for Project IRIS recently presented a paper at the IVth North South Dialogue on inclusion in Goa India. This conference was attended by policy makers, politicians, Disabled Persons Organisation, NGOs and researchers from around the world and considered the challenges face in promoting inclusive education in a range of situations and circumstances.

At the conference Richard presented a paper titled Ownership of the Inclusion Agenda: Supporting Communities towards a more Equitable Education System in which he argued that policy initiatives have had limited impact upon the promotion of inclusion where inadequate attention has been given to the initiatives being taken in local communities to enhance education and welfare services.

A pre-publication copy of the paper is available here.(requires MS Word, 196KB)


3. NCSE 2011 Research Conference - Wednesday 16th November

Members of the Project Iris Research team recently attended the NCSE Annual Research Conference held at the Croke Park Conference Centre. This important conference provides an opportunity for researchers to present new research conducted in Ireland and also extends an invitation to others conducting investigations likely to be of interest to colleagues working in Irish schools.

One such project presented this year by professor Lani Florian from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland examined a novel approach to teacher training which aims to ensure greater awareness and understanding of inclusive education in newly qualified teachers. Lani presented findings from the Inclusive Practice Project which focused upon changing the curriculum for student teachers at the University of Aberdeen. The work undertaken by Lani and her team led to the development of positive student attitudes and changes in classroom practices which have become embedded within the teacher training programme.

Other projects disseminated at the conference included a study of access to the curriculum for pupils with SEN in mainstream classrooms, presented by Dr Jean Ware and research into the prevalence of special educational needs in Ireland presented by Dr Joanne Banks and Dr Selina McCoy.

The conference also provided an opportunity for Jennifer Doran, Head of Research at NCSE to introduce the newly published Inclusive Education Framework and for Mary Byrne to outline policy in respect of special schools.

Members of the Project Iris team were able to meet with other colleagues conducting studies related to the project themes and thus to appraise themselves of current developments in the field.


4.Project Iris in Berlin, September 2011

The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) took place at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany on 13th-16th September 2011.

Ecer BerlinProfessor Richard Rose presented a paper on the development of comparative case study as a methodological tool for gaining insights into schools. He drew upon the methods developed for Project IRIS and shared ideas with an audience of researchers from across Europe.

Particular interest in the work of Project IRIS was shown by colleagues from Sweden who are embarking on a similar study in their country. A copy of the powerpoint used for this presentation is available here.


5.IATSE Conference, June 9th - 11th 2011 'Teaching and Learning - Forging Ahead'

The 23rd annual conference of the Irish Association of Teachers in Special Education (IATSE) was held at St. Patrick's College of Education, Dublin, on June 9th, 10th, 11th.The theme of the conference was ‘Teaching and Learning-Forging ahead’. The conference was most successful with attendance of over 200.

Project IRIS is a longitudinal study investigation special education provision in Ireland.  The research team presented an update on the initial phases of the research entitled ‘Investigating Special Educational Provision in Irish mainstream schools: Perspectives from key stakeholders’.

A very engaged audience of approximately 30 participants engaged in a very lively debate about SEN provision and in particular focused on the current assessment systems and the role of Special Needs Assistants. Judging from participant feedback it is clear that the Project IRIS research will continue to inform and engage parents, educators, young people with SEN and clinicians in the discussion around appropriate policy and practice in SEN provision in Ireland.


6. Constructing Case Studies

Members of the Project IRIS research team recently came together at Trinity College Dublin to work on the analysis of data for constructing case studies around primary and special schools visited during 2010.

The research team has devised a format for the analysis of documents, observations and interviews conducted during visits to 10 primary and 2 special schools in several locations across Ireland. 

The case studies are being used to provide critical insights into the provision made for pupils with special educational needs, the experiences which they receive and their academic and social outcomes.

Members of the Project IRIS team are grateful for the hospitality which they have been afforded during visits to schools which have been essential as part of the overall data collection approach.

Over the coming months the team will begin a similar process working with post primary schools as well as visiting a couple more special schools later in the year.

November update

Members of the Project IRIS Team working on case study data analysis at Trinity College Dublin


7. Book Launch: Confronting obstacles to inclusion

Several members of the Project Iris research team have contributed chapters to a new book Confronting Obstacles to Inclusion: International Responses to Developing Inclusive Education.

Confronting Obstacle to inclusion coverThe book, which was officially launched in Belfast at the 7th international Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress presents research from around the world examining responses to developing inclusive learning environments. This authoritative text will be of immense interest and use to practitioners, policy makers, researchers and campaigners who are working towards a more equitable and inclusive society.

Members of the Project Iris research team who have chapters in the book include Michael Shevlin: Valuing and learning from young people; and Thérèse McPhillips and Mary Doveston who along with Sheena Bell wrote Overcoming barriers to the acquisition of literacy in twenty-first century inclusive classrooms.

The book was edited by Project Iris researcher Richard Rose and the full reference is:
Rose, R. (2010) (Ed.) Confronting Obstacles to Inclusion: International Responses to Developing Inclusive Education. London: Routledge.

8. European Journal of Special Needs Education: Paper published

A paper presenting the findings of a review of the Irish literature that addresses special and inclusive education has just been published in the European Journal of Special Needs Education.

This paper reports work from the early stages of Project IRIS when a search and analysis of Irish research was conducted to both inform the development of research questions and assist in building a picture of the current position of special educational needs provision in Ireland.

The published work discusses not only the findings of the review, but also outlines the methods adopted by the research team in identifying and analysing relevant papers and research.

The full reference for the paper is:
Rose, R., Shevlin, M., Winter, E, & O’Raw, P. (2010) Special and inclusive education in the Republic of Ireland: reviewing the literature from 2000 to 2009. European Journal of Special Needs Education 25 (4) 357 – 371

Details of the European Journal of Special Needs Education can be found at:-

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