A SHORT HISTORY OF SEN
For many years Mary Immaculate College has been a major provider of continuing professional development courses for teachers in the area of Special Education (SEN) and learning difficulties. From the late 1970s, through to the early 1990s a highly regarded Certificate in Remedial Education was offered to primary school teachers. This was undertaken at weekends throughout the year.
In 1994, with the support of the In Career Development Unit of the Department of Education and Science, a Graduate Diploma in Remedial Education (later to become the Graduate Diploma/Masters in Learning Support) was offered to teachers in primary, post-primary, special schools, Youthreach, and special settings including prisons and hospital schools.
In 2003, again with the support of the DES, a new Graduate Diploma/Masters in SEN was launched. This was designed for the growing number of resource teachers in schools and drew participants from the primary, post-primary and special education sectors. It soon became clear that the needs of all teachers, whether learning support, resource or special education teachers, would be best served by a combined course.
Therefore, in 2005 the Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and the Graduate Diploma in SEN were combined into one new flagship Graduate Diploma in SEN. This new graduate Diploma reflects the need to have a cohesive continuum of support for SEN within schools and within the education system in general. The sharing of the expertise and experiences of participants from the various sectors of education brings a richness to the course and provides a platform for building systems of educational provision which will truly benefit students with SEN.