Higher & Further Education News & Views

Smaller third-level colleges face end of public funding

Colleges face performance-related funding cuts

Institutes face high standards process

Education targets – Academic autonomy is essential

Is new General Secretary ready for fire fighting?

Art college appoints head of design

Colleges given six months to spell out their strategic plans

Colleges in race to gain university status

University criteria dismissed by college president

‘Shag’ week survey reveals that seven out of ten students have unprotected sex

Probe finds poor practices in VECs across country

Anatomy of a medical class: minister opens TCD’s €131m institute

Dublin college chief defends policy on Bahrain

Students could afford €10k fees, says UL study

In My Opinion: New kind of technology university will address the needs of society

Reach for the stars with UCD’s elite performance programme

Warning of ‘mediocrity’ if higher education not funded

Higher education funding crisis will ‘damage’ students

VEC has brief discussion on audit


Disability Headlines

Parents of young disabled shocked at cuts in services

Parents of children with autism in major fundraiser to expand facilities

Lauren’s video role raises awareness of rare diseases

Valentine, not just the patron saint of romance, but also of epilepsy

Epilepsy still has strong social stigma for sufferers

Work scheme targeted at people with disabilities

Reilly calls autism claims outrageous

Working disabled allowed to draw welfare

Reilly: Humphreys’ autism comments ‘outrageous’

Judo Assist Ireland

Deaf girl held as slave tells court of years of beatings and rape

Man up, Tony

Northern Ministers hear each other’s pain


General Education Stories

Parents campaign over cuts to career guidance

Teacher allowances cut ‘would be end of Croke Park reform’

The formula is simple: real change

Kicking exam pressure to touch

Lessons to be learned from case in Clonmel

Nine jailed for failing to send children to school

Irish girls in top 20% of fitness level study

Speed limit outside six schools cut to 30kph

Watch out Ruairi! Cuts to small schools spell big trouble

No method in madness behind school guidance cuts

Parents in Kildare furious as children of gaelscoileanna ignored

Salaries linked to success in education

School principal challenges removal


Mental Health in the Media

After years of self-harm, my life has changed so much

Conquering your personal Everest

Acting fast against teenage depression


Employment Features

500 college places for jobseekers

Initiatives aim to deliver 100,000 jobs by 2016

Mastercard to create 130 Irish jobs

Recruiters to get paid for placing workers

New IT jobs after US deal welcomed

Pick of the week:

The points system fails students and the country, so replace it with a lottery

Higher Education News & Views

Mature students feel let down by ’empty pledge’

Colleges clamp down as students copy and paste their way to degrees

Colleges should be free to ‘hire and fire’

College president defends €100,000 spent on taxis

Universities should be free to ‘hire and fire’ and set pay

Warning over lack of funding at third level

WIT asked for report on spending

Quinn intervenes in reappointment of college chief

WIT board refuses to extend term of president

Mature student, 91, set for second term at university

Disability News & Views (General)

How my cousin Aimée, the first Down’s TV star, made me smile through the tears. . .

No fear of going to school with iScoil

Mum of autistic boy ‘in shock’ over stem-cell centre closure

Survivors’ group to protest against use of electroshock therapy

Does it work? Can flower remedies help with autism?

Teaching parents to accept

Hardest Hit march brings disabled people out on to the streets

Dear parent: why your dyslexic child struggles with reading

Ring finger length link to disease

Boy who can hear again hailed as medical miracle

Taking the long view of ageing in Ireland

Baby left deaf by meningitis can hear again


General Education News

Fee-paying schools lose building grants

Govt announces 15,900 extra training and education places

Keeper of the school gate

End is in sight for roll calls as schools face the future

Radio Captioning And Its Relevance To Education


Mental Health in the Media

Cost and stigma barrier to people seeking help with mental heath issues

Prospects for new Central Mental Hospital ‘hopeless’

Irish Examiner wins health award

Alcohol consumption has ‘significant’ influence on suicide rates

Bitter pursuit of debt ‘causing suicides’

Spate of teen suicides over May weekend

Listeners urged to ‘mind their mates’

Students rewarded for suicide campaign

Mental health fears for children in care

Remarks on suicide and debt welcomed

Bankers hit out at Honohan’s ‘emotive’ remarks on suicide

‘The most important thing is to reach out’

AHEAD invited students with disabilities from all over Ireland to the Kilmainham Hilton Hotel where we asked them ‘what would make your education amazing?’ We did this with Chris Chapman (Change Exploratory) as a facilitator who used the World Cafe technique (theworldcafe.com). The evening before the World Cafe we invited successful professionals to have dinner with students so that they could find out more about different professions in an informal setting and make connections for the future. Guests included Caroline Carswell, Lucy Fallon Byrne, Brian Mooney, Tony Ward, Dermot O Sullivan, Sinead Kane, Aoibheann Gleeson & Viv Rath.
The event was a huge success thanks to all the students who took part and shared their experience and stories so openly with us. We look forward to bringing those stories to policy and decision makers in 2011. This video is the start of that – it is a brief look at what happened on the day with contributions from students. It was first shown at the AHEAD AGM on the 14th December 2010.

As many of you will have seen, as part of the government’s strategy of labour activation, college places are being made available for people to go back to college and upskill. Information on these places is here, here, here, here, here, here and here (links are to newspaper articles, Department of Education website, HEA website)

There’s one significant problem: no funding is being made available for supports for accommodations which some people with disabilities may require so that they can access these courses.

“The new part time study places for unemployed graduates outlined in today’s Irish Times has made absolutely no provision for unemployed graduates with a disability…Students with disabilities on full time courses can avail of a Fund for Students with Disabilities operated by the National Access Office within the HEA…However, as this fund is not open to disabled graduates applying to this part time scheme, then if they need supports to deal with their disability then they are stuck, they are excluded from taking part.

Why should a graduate with a disability be ineligible for funding for vital supports to do a course just because he/she is studying part time? this is discrimination and excludes graduates with disabilities from this scheme and the opportunities accruing.”

The full statement from AHEAD on this is available here. It was referenced in the Independent on Wednesday 5th August.

It is being left to the institutions to fulfill their obligations under the Equal Status Act, without any extra funding. So in essence, if you are an unemployed person who meets the requirements to access these ‘free’ courses, but you happen to have a disability which requires support, you will have to work with the institution to ensure that those supports are made available (and hope that the supports constitute a reasonable accomodation of nominal cost). Even though this is a government led labour activation measure, they are not going to do anything to help you, or the institution, to take up their intiative.

It appears I can’t multitask and general busyness means I ignored the blog. Apologies, I’ll try to make up for it. So here’s a run down of the last month:

Running the Get Ready for Work Seminars was exhuasting, but I think successful. Over 40 people recieved training, with more than 12 careers advisors involved, and 10 employers. Feedback overall has been excellent, and reviews of the seminars are ongoing. If there’s demand, we’ll look at another one by the end of 2009. If you, or anyone you know are interested, please get in touch.

Apart from Get Ready for Work, I’ve been hatching some new plans with my colleagues so, watch this space sometime in September 🙂

The Facebook Page is now at http://www.facebook.com/getaheadforum. Much easier to direct people to, so please do 🙂

I was also down at the Union Organisation Seminar run by USI (the Union of Students in Ireland) for all students union officers in Ireland. I go to talk to them every year about the issues facing students with disabilities on campus, and to talk about what they can do/ should do. It’s always interesting to get their take on what’s happening and to discuss plans and ideas they have for the upcoming year. This year looks set to be excellent too, so keep an eye on USI Equality

AHEAD has put together a response to the proposed model for the Fund for students with disabilities in 2009/2010. I’ve linked to the response here, just for your information. If you’ve any questions, shout.

We’re also currently looking for your comments and suggestions for a charter for inclusive teaching and learning. There’s more information here, and after you’ve read this, if you’ve any thoughts, please feel free to comment or to email my colleague Lorraine at lorraine.gallagher AT ahead DOT ie

On Friday, I’m off to deliver some training for WAM in the ESB, so I’m getting to keep in touch with what WAM is up to and how its going.

Next week, I’m on holidays, but there’ll be scheduled posts to make it as if I’m still here!

So, you’ve found the page and are probably wondering what exactly GET AHEAD is, and why it (well – me, for now) is blogging.

GET AHEAD is a project of AHEAD, which is funded by FÁS.

It is intended to be a space or forum for Graduates with Disabilities where they can share and discuss their experiences of the move from education to employment. In turn I want to help to spread this information and advice to others who may be about to embark upon this journey. As well as providing a space for this practical advice and personal experience GET AHEAD provides a directory of valuable information. GET AHEAD also provides a training program ‘Get Ready for Work’ which covers issues such as employment law, disclosure, career guidance and advice. Finally GET AHEAD also tries to take these issues forward and lobby for change where needed to improve the experiences of graduates with disabilities.

Why blog?

Well, GET AHEAD has been around for 4 years now, and while it has a mailing list that I use to send out information – it is time that we moved on a little. Bringing GET AHEAD online, creating a space here, on the web, will hopefully allow us to get more information out and recieve more in. I’m hoping to try and keep all readers up to date with what I’m doing, with anything relevant that’s happening and to share experiences, stories, in a way that will be of use to you. In short, I’m experimenting 🙂