iTIDE Project

Inclusion Training in Intellectual Disability for Educators in Europe

Project Background

Throughout the European Union, learners with special and complex educational needs are still not being included in education at all levels according to their potential. The need for inclusion training has recently been identified as a ‘top priority’ for education professionals by the European Agency for Development of Special Needs Education. This includes not only teachers and teaching assistants, but also health workers (e.g. therapists, psychologists, school nurses), social care workers, and in some cases parents. Training on inclusion of pupils with special and complex educational needs was the need most identified by teachers from 23 countries in the Organisation on Economic Co-operation and Development’s 2009 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS).

The iTIDE project is a European Commission Erasmus+ funded three year (2014-17) initiative being conducted by partners from five European countries, including the UK, Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Austria. The Irish partners involved in the project are the Institute of Child Education and Psychology (ICEP) Europe and the University of Limerick.

This initiative aims to address the deficit in training in special needs education, particularly for those working with learners with complex needs, by making available outstanding open access, practice-leading training materials. These materials, developed by NASEN, the UK’s national association of special educational needs, are made freely available online in order to encourage and spread accessible, accredited, vocational learning within EU states.

Project Objectives:

  1. To develop a suite of inclusive online training materials by adapting the NASEN training materials (www.complexneeds.org.uk) according to ECVET principles and European Union and ITIDE partners’ national professional competences in inclusion;
  2. To provide accreditation pathways for each version of the training materials through school/higher education institution (HEI) training partnerships;
  3. To provide guidance for educators and end users on the use of the training materials as learning resources; and,
  4. To disseminate the adapted training materials in the countries of the project partners, and in the wider European Union.

We know that professional access to effective and appropriate training can make a difference to the lives of people with special and complex educational needs. Research shows that increasing the knowledge, skills, understanding and practice of professionals working in special education improves inclusion. This enhances the learning outcomes and life chances of individuals with special and complex educational needs. It could lead to a reduction in the numbers of these pupils being excluded from school or leaving school without an education that prepares them for adult life. In doing so we expect to support progress towards the Europe 2020 target of reducing early school leaving.