HEAR & DARE schemes 2017


HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) are schemes that seek to offer University places on reduced points or extra college support for applicants that are  coming from social or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are disadvantaged for reasons of a disability or learning difficulty.

We did a blog post last year outlining the different ways that you could apply and what the criteria was etc. There have been some changes this year to the DARE scheme, so we thought we would flag up the changes and remind people what the basic criteria was for each scheme. The blog post from last year can be found here (part 1) and here (part 2)



DARE is available for school leavers under 23 who have a disability, and that can demonstrate that the disability has a negative impact on their education. the DARE Team have a list of the types of disabilities or specific learning difficulties, along with what documentation or evidence that is needed to go with the application.



HEAR is available to school leavers under 23 who may come from social and economic backgrounds that has a negative impact on their education. Other than income, some backgrounds are under represented in university intake, so HEAR attempts to provide support to students in families that haven’t traditionally continued into higher education.

 Changes to the DARE scheme for 2017

  • This is the second year of changes to the scheme.  Some were introduced last year including a change to define the scheme as one aimed at students whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their education. With this came an evidence based Education Impact Statement. Verification of disabilities could be done by GPs from last year, and a prioritisation of students eligible for both DARE and HEAR.
  • After a review of the 2016 changes, some more adjustments have been made
  • If applying on the basis of a specific learning difficulty, psychological assessment reports can not be of any age, however, attainment scores (whether from school or psychologist) must be from after 1 Feb 2015.
  • Development Coordination Disorders are no longer required to submit a full pyscho-educational report from the previous 3 years – they can by of any ange.
  • GPs can now complete the confirmation of diagnosis.
  • Instead of a statement there is now an ‘Educational Impact Statement checklist’ that is done by the person applying alongside their teacher
  • The school section of the Education Impact Statement has been reduced, which the Scheme says will make it easier for schools to complete and for parents and applicants to understand.
  • Applicants don’t need to include previous schools if they have changed secondary school (unless their current school is unable to capture the impact of the disability).
  • There is a more comprehensive teachers manual.

To get precise and exact information and explanation of the changes you can download or read a document called ‘Important Changes to DARE 2017 by clicking HERE

Further reading
The DARE Handbook 2017

The DARE Information leaflet 2017

The HEAR information Leaflet 2017

The HEAR Handbook 2017


This novel might save a life one day

Could a novel, aimed at teenagers, actually save a life? ‘Asking For It’ by Louise O’Neill might be one that could.

asking for it

Am I exaggerating? Am I guilty of a post heading that is basically clickbait? I don’t think so.  Louise O’Neill’s first book ‘Only Ever Yours’ was dark but ‘Asking For It’, is stark, uncompromising, challenging and will leave you angry with one, some, or even all of the various characters.

I’ve written previously about young adult books that explore important issues and that I felt moved to recommend to as many people as I could. This is another one of those books. If you’re looking for light and fluffy reading material, Louise O’Neill is not the author for you.  If you want your attitudes challenged, if you want something that charges your emotions, then go track down her books.

In Asking For It, we meet Emma. She really isn’t that nice a person. She’s jealous of her friends, beautiful but vain, popular but horrible (even to her friends), generally she’s a bit of a mean girl. She lives in an Irish town that could be anywhere. She goes to a party, she gets drunk, she takes ‘something’, and while its all happening you are shouting in your head (or out loud) at the pages, warning her, berating her, hating the fellas, begging her friends to intercede. Its uncomfortable to read. You know what’s coming.

Thankfully this novel isn’t about the graphic horror of rape, but does explore what the author terms, ‘rape culture’. Its about culpability. Its about consent or its absence. It is about a lot of things, victim blaming, effects on family, shame, attitudes to drink and drugs, young men’s attitudes to women, young women’s attitudes to each other, slut-shaming, small town attitudes, social judgement, the impact of social media, how mainstream media, talk shows, radio phone-in shows cover similar incidences. Its about the speculation and discussion around ‘Whose fault it is!’  Its about sexual assault getting reported, or not getting reported and what happens or doesn’t happen as a result.

I suggested this book might save a life. How?  This story is all too real, all too possible. Young people reading it will recognise characters and situations AND their reactions and consequences. #SlaneGirl anyone?  My hope by recommending this book be read, is that it might make someone pause. They might recognise their own actions on the pages of this book. Hopefully that person will see their actions as either repulsive or risky and just think some more about how they are in that situation.

I don’t know the stats regarding rape and suicide in Ireland, but I’m guessing they don’t make great reading. This novel might save a life one day.

For further support:

Rape Crisis Network Ireland

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

Time for a digital detox?

Do you suffer from Nomophobia – A fear or anxiety that comes from not being able to use your smart phone? Then maybe it’s time you had a digital detox? YouthSpin looks at simple tips to help reduce our obsession with our smart phones.

Nomophobia definition

Nomophobia can be a real problem

Nomophobia is a modern complaint. The word comes fromno mobile – phobia’ and refers to how   people feel when they can’t use their mobile phone. If that sounds familiar, then try these simple questions

  1. Do you feel anxious and/or panicky when you don’t have your phone with you?
  2. How often do you check your phone for notifications? Is it every few minutes?
  3. Do you get phantom vibrations?
  4. Do you get worked up about running out of battery power or losing reception?
  5. Do you sleep with your phone under your pillow?
  6. Do you regularly lose track of conversations that happen in person because you are checking or thinking about your phone?
  7. Do your check your phone for notifications last thing at night, and first thing in the morning?
  8. If you left the house to do a simple message, but realised you had left your phone behind, would you have to return immediately and get it?
  9. Do you use your phone while using the bathroom, or during other ‘intimate’ moments?

If you can answer yes to all or most of these you might consider whether you are overly attached to your phone.It doesn’t mean you have ‘nomobphobia’, or have a big problem but it might suggest you use your phone a bit too much.

Experts are taking the idea of nomophobia seriously, with some researchers calling on psychologists to place it on their ‘Diognastic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders’.


Try switching your phone off when you go to bed

Try switching your phone off when you go to bed

Don’t panic!!

All is not lost. If you have plenty of money then you can avail of one of the companies now offering ‘Digital Detox’ holidays.

If however, like most people that is not an option, then we have some simple tips can help reduce your need to have a phone

  • Switch off your phone when you go to sleep – There is normally very little that is so urgent that it  can’t wait till the next day. If there is an emergency, chances are there are other ways of getting in touch.
  • Agree on ‘no-phone’ zones in your house. Choose places or times in the house where phone use is not allowed, such as the bathroom or kitchen table while eating meals.
  • Switch phones off or leave them out of reach when with family or friends. Just put them in a different room
  • Some people, when out for dinner or social event, make an agreement that all phones are placed in the centre of the table, and the first person to reach for the phone during the meal has to pay the bill
  • Build time-out session into your day – 30 minutes without your phone. Build up to longer times or add extra time-outs.
  • Use Apps that block social media notifications for particular times you need no distraction http://mashable.com/2012/01/03/block-internet-distractions-apps/

Technology is great. There are so many benefits and I love my phone, but sometimes it is a relief to be without it. So now I’m weaning myself away from my phone, to leave it at home and enjoy what I’m doing without distraction and to give the people I’m with my full attention. Give it a go, you might just find you enjoy it.

Photos by Marianne Masculino and Birgerking