Special Education - Scoil Naomh Áine NS

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Special Education

Subject Plans

Scoil Naomh Áine, Rathgarogue, New Ross

Special Education Plan

"To provide that people with special educational needs shall have the same right to avail of, and benefit from, appropriate education as do their peers who do not have such needs" EPSEN 2004

6 Principles to Guide the Implementation Process of the New Special Education Teacher Model

1    Resources provided to support pupils with special educational needs should be used to facilitate the development of truly inclusive schools.

2     Supports provided to pupils with special educational needs should be based on identified needs and be informed by regular reviews of progress (in consultation with parents and pupils) as outlined in the Continuum of Support Guidelines.

3    The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress and care of all pupils in the classroom, including pupils with special educational needs.

4    Special education teaching supports provided to schools should be used solely for the support of pupils with identified special educational needs, including those pupils for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL). The special education teaching supports cannot be used to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in mainstream classes. Neither can they be used to allow any special education teacher sole responsibility for the delivery of any curriculum subject to any particular class.

5     Pupils with the greatest levels of need should have access to the greatest level of support, and whenever possible, these pupils should be supported by teachers with relevant expertise who can provide continuity of support.

6    Schools with more than one support teacher should establish and maintain a core team of teachers to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs. All members should have the necessary experience and access to continuing professional development to support the diverse needs of pupils with special educational needs.

Inclusive Education
Management and staff at Scoil Naomh Áine are committed to the ideals of Inclusive Education.
Inclusive Education aims to

  • enable the pupil to realise his/her potential through access to an appropriate, broad and balanced curriculum

  • enable the pupil to function as independently as possible in society through the provision of such educational supports as are necessary

  • enable the pupil to continue learning into adult life


  • To ensure that our duties, as set out in The Education Act 1998 and Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, are fully achieved, to include children with special educational needs in all activities of  school life along with children who do not have special educational needs

  • Identify children with special needs as early as possible and match their needs to the appropriate level on the Continuum of Support.

  • To ensure the needs of all pupils with Special Educational Needs are addressed using the staged approach as recommended by NEPS

  • To use our resources to ensure the development of a truly inclusive school

  • To enable pupils with special educational needs to monitor their own learning and become independent, lifelong learners

  • To provide supplementary teaching and additional support and resources for pupils with Special Educational Needs in literacy, numeracy  and where appropriate emotional and behavioural support

  • To involve parents in supporting their children’s learning through effective communication and to develop a partnership with parents/guardians in order that their knowledge, views and experience can assist us in assessing and providing for their children. Special Education Teachers will meet with parents/guardians of pupils at School Support Plus level at least twice a year in September and February.

  • To take into account the ascertainable wishes of the children concerned and, whenever possible, directly involve them in decision making in order to provide more effectively for them

  • To ensure that all staff are aware of their responsibilities towards children with special educational needs

  • To promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of whole-school policies on special educational needs

  • To establish early intervention programmes to prevent/reduce difficulties in learning

  • To help children to develop a positive self image and self-esteem

Provision for the enrolment of children with Identified Special Educational Needs
In addition to the completion of an Application for Enrolment Form as outlined in the Enrolment Policy, the Board may request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological report, or where this is not available, to request that the child be assessed immediately.  The purpose of the assessment report is to assist the school in establishing the educational and training needs of the child relevant to his/her special educational needs and to make every effort to have such supports in place on enrolment.

Following receipt of the report, the Board will assess how Scoil Naomh Áine could meet the needs specified in the report.  If it is determined extra resources are required the Board shall apply to the Department of Education and Skills for the provision of such extra resources to meet these needs.

At its discretion, the Board/Principal may request a meeting with the parent/s to discuss the child’s special needs and the school’s ability to meet those needs.  In some instances the Board may deem it necessary to convene a full case conference involving the parents and may include the principal; class teacher; special education teacher or psychologist, as appropriate.

3 Step Process to Support Pupils with Special Educational Needs

1 Identify the Need
2Meet the Need
3 Monitor, Record Outcomes, Review

The Staged Approach to Special Educational Needs

Classroom Support – Stage I
Classroom  Support is typically the first response to emerging needs. It is a response to pupils who require approaches to learning and /or behaviour which are additional to or different from those required by other pupils in the class. The success of the classroom support plan should be reviewed regularly, with appropriate parental involvement. If concern remains after a number of reviews and adaptations to the plan, the SEN team in the school may be consulted about the desirability of intervention at School Support Stage II. While the class teacher is responsible for Stage I, he/she is encouraged to consult/confer with a member of the SEN team at an early point in stage I so that available resources/screening tools/expertise may be optimally drawn on for the benefit of the child. Early communication between parent and teacher around concerns regarding a child’s learning or general development is an important element of the process.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs are identified at Stage I. Classroom teachers identify needs based on

  • Parental Consultation

  • Teacher Observation Records

  • Teacher designed assessments

  • Basic Needs Checklist

  • Learning Environment Checklist

  • Pupil Consultation – My thoughts about school

  • Standardised Literacy and Numeracy tests

  • Screen tests of language skills

School Support – Stage II
If intervention is considered necessary at Stage II, then the pupil should be referred to the SEN team, with parental permission, for further diagnostic testing. If this diagnostic assessment suggests that supplementary teaching would be beneficial, this should be arranged as per available resources. The parents and the class teacher should be involved with the SEN team in drawing up the learning programme, which would include appropriate interventions for implementation in the home, in the classroom, and during supplementary teaching. The learning support/resource teacher and the class teacher should review regularly, in consultation with the parents, the rate of progress of each pupil receiving supplementary teaching. Following a period of intervention, some pupils may no longer require additional teaching supports, some may require the same level, while others may require more intensive supports. If significant concerns remain after a number of reviews and adaptations to the learning programme, then it may be necessary to provide interventions at Stage III. In the case of pupils with emotional or behavioural difficulties, it is recognised that, with serious difficulties, more urgent action may be needed. In these cases the pupil’s needs should, with parental permission, be discussed with the relevant NEPS psychologist and/or the case should be referred to the clinical services of the Health Services Executive. This may lead to a more detailed behavioural management programme to be implemented at home and in class, or to referral for further specialist assessment (stage III). For example, children may be referred for Speech and Language or Occupational Therapy Assessment through the HSE. No such referral is made without parental approval.

The School Support Plan is devised and informed by:

  • Teacher observation records

  • Teacher designed assessments

  • Parent and pupil interviews

  • Learning environment checklist

  • Diagnostic assessments in Literacy and numeracy

  • Formal observation of behaviour including ABC charts, frequency measures

  • Assessments as appropriate

  • The School Support Plan was formerly known as the IPLP (Individual Pupil Learning Profile).

School Support Plus – Stage III
Some pupils who continue to present with significant learning needs will require more intensive intervention at Stage III. The school may formally request a consultation and, where appropriate, an assessment of need from a specialist outside the school in respect of pupils with learning difficulties or with mild or moderate behavioural problems (or both) who have failed to make progress after supplementary teaching or the implementation of a behavioural programme and in respect of pupils with serious emotional disturbance and/or behavioural problems. Such specialist advice may be sought from psychologists, paediatricians, speech and language therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists etc. The class teacher and member/s of the SEN team, in consultation with the relevant specialist or specialists, should then draw up a learning programme that includes identification of any additional available resources that are considered necessary in order to implement the programme. The parents are consulted as part of this process. This programme should be the subject of regular reviews, leading to revisions of the learning programme and referral for specialist review, as necessary. In the case of pupils identified at an early age as having very significant special educational needs, intervention at Stage III will be necessary on their entry to school. Support in the classroom will be an essential component of any learning programme devised for such pupils, and primary responsibility for the pupil will remain with the class teacher, in consultation with the SEN team.

Stage III of the Continuum is informed by a detailed, systematic approach to information gathering and assessment using a broad range of formal and informal assessment tools, reports from outside professionals and may include:

  • Teacher observations and teacher designed measures

  • Parent and pupil interviews

  • Results of standardised testing such as measures of cognitive ability, social, emotional and behavioural functioning: adaptive functioning etc.

  • The Stage III School Support Plus Plan was formerly known as the IEP (Individual Education Plan).

Early Intervention and Prevention
In view of the substantial international evidence that early-intervention and prevention programmes can lead to improved outcomes for pupils, Scoil Naomh Áine promotes a policy of early intervention and prevention in order to minimise the risk of development of learning, social and emotional difficulties and to optimally address such needs where they are manifest. Additional teaching resources are deployed in junior classes to strengthen station teaching approaches which target the promotion of language, literacy and numeracy skills.
Literacy Lift Off, Ready, Set, Go Maths, Mata sa Rang, Literacy groups and Zippy’s Friends among other interventions will continue to be used as a means of early intervention and prevention.

Parental consent
Following selection as a child who would benefit from supplementary teaching the class teacher or special education teacher will contact the parents by phone to make them aware of the situation and to ascertain the parent’s views about the child’s performance at school. They will be invited to come in for a meeting.
The special education teacher will issue a letter to the parents asking for permission to give their child additional support. This supplementary teaching may take the form of in class support, withdrawal in a group or withdrawal on a one to one basis. They have the option to refuse to give permission but must do so in writing.
Permission is sought annually for any child who received support in previous years and a meeting with parents is arranged in September to discuss the student’s needs if required.
Parents through their unique knowledge of their own child have much to contribute to their child’s learning programmes. Collaboration and sharing of relevant information between teachers and parents is of critical importance where children experience learning difficulties.

Engagement with National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS)
NEPS provides a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process.  Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention.

Following consultation between the class teacher, the special education teacher, the principal and educational psychologist, a psychological assessment may be arranged based on the fact that despite receiving an individualised programme, the child;

Makes little or no progress over a long period of time
Continues to work at Primary Curriculum levels substantially below that of children of a similar age
Continues to have literacy and numeracy difficulties
Has emotional or behavioural difficulties which substantially and regularly interfere with the child’s learning, or that of other children, despite an appropriate behaviour management programme and School Support Plan
Has sensory and/or physical needs, and requires additional specialist equipment or regular visits from an advisory service
Has an ongoing communication or relationship difficulty that prevents social development, and act as a barrier to learning.

The special education teacher will contact the parents of the child to discuss the need for an assessment and to ask for their consent.

Other outside agencies may need to be contacted, who will advise on a range of provision including School Support Plus Plan targets and strategies.

An application to the NCSE for an increase in the special education teaching allocation to Scoil Naomh Áíne will be made by the principal as is required.
If it is felt by the psychologist that a child has care needs, a special needs assistant will be applied for.

In circumstances where a child uses specialised equipment, consultants will be required to demonstrate how the equipment is to be used to at least two SNAs and either the class or support teacher.

The use of specialised yard equipment may also need to be demonstrated to these staff members. Courses will be provided on an ongoing basis to train staff in the relevant areas

If the psychologist recommends an exemption from Irish, the Principal will see to this under guidance from the Department of Education & Skills. (Circular 12/96)

A generalised and routine planning meeting with NEPS (around lots of pupils, on an unnamed basis) takes place in the first term. Such meetings, together with concerns that may emerge or escalate in the course of the school year or over time, form a key part of the process of prioritising pupils for consideration for a formal consultation and assessment with NEPS.
Following discussion/s between school personnel and parents regarding pupils who are prioritised, a formal consultation / consultation and assessment with NEPS may follow (subject to available resources), if parents wish to avail of this service and if they consent to same as per NEPS protocols and procedures at that time.
As needs emerge further support/input may be sought from NEPS – in consideration of the overall needs of the school and available resources. (Access to/engagement with NEPS is dependent also on resources available at the time.)
Assessments with NEPS are very limited and parents must be aware that it may take some years for their child to receive an assessment even if it is required. Pupils are prioritised on the basis of need as their needs become apparent to school staff and educational psychologists.

Procedures for Developing School Support Plus Plans (formerly IEP)
School Support Plus Plans are designed only to identify modifications to the curriculum which are necessary, not completely re-write the curriculum. Information for the School Support Plus Plan will be gathered from both formal and informal settings including the school and home. Parents input will be sought. Where a psychological report is available, cognisance will be taken of the information and recommendations it offers. Class based assessments and assessments administered by a member of the Special Education Team will be of value in developing the School Support Plus Plan. Targets established in the School Support Plus Plan will be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed.
The School Support Plus Plan will include:

  • Family Background/Personal Details

  • Irish Exemption

  • Strengths and Interests

  • Priority Learning Needs

  • Persons involved in drawing up the School Support Plus Plan

  • Formal and Informal Assessment results  

  • Formal Assessment results will include standardised and diagnostic test results  

  • Informal Assessment results will include teacher observations and teacher designed tasks and tests.

  • History of Support –  Classroom Support, School Support and School Support Plus

  • Targets for the pupil – Information for these targets will be based on information gathered from interviews with parents, interview with pupils where appropriate, formal and informal assessments

  • Signatures of persons involved (Special Education Teacher, Class Teacher, Parents/Guardians, Pupil, Principal)

  • Review Date

Individual plans may include the following:

  • Adaptations to the physical environment

  • Use of equipment or Assistive Technology

  • Provision of SNA

The School Support Plus Plan will be reviewed in January each year. Fortnightly plans developed by the Special Education teacher will ensure the targets in the School Support Plus Plan remain the focus of individual learning and that the child’s achievements and difficulties are monitored regularly.

Role and Responsibilities of the Principal

  • Identify, with mainstream and special education teachers, pupils who may have special educational needs

  • Ensure all policies in the School Plan are inclusive

  • Ensure that the special educational needs of the pupil are met

  • Monitor whole school policies and provision

  • Forward planning of transition and transfer arrangements

  • Facilitate parents’ participation in their child’s education

Role and Responsibility of the Class Teacher

  • First line responsibility for the education of all pupils in their class

  • Plan lessons carefully to address the diverse needs within the classroom

  • Adapt teaching approaches to differentiate lessons to meet the needs of all pupils

  • Adapt the environment to promote curricular access for some pupils

  • Employ a variety of appropriate teaching approaches and methodologies, including active learning, small group tuition, individual teaching and scaffolding instructions

  • Need to collaborate with special education teachers and parents in the planning process

Role and Responsibility of the Special Education Teacher

  • Need to be familiar with a vast range of teaching approaches, methodologies and resources

  • Support pupils in a variety of ways including team teaching, co-teaching, early intervention, small group and individual support

  • Cater for a variety of learning needs throughout the school

  • Consult with class teachers to plan interventions to meet the priority learning needs of pupils

  • Create short term planning documents which reflect the support plans

  • Outcomes must be routinely assessed, recorded and used to review progress and plan further interventions

Role and Responsibility of the Board of Management

  • Fulfil its statutory duties towards pupils with special educational needs.

  • Ensure that the provision required is an integral part of the school development plan. Members will be knowledgeable about the school’s SEN provision – funding, equipment and personnel.

  • Ensure that adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided for all teachers.

  • Ensure a secure facility for storage of records in relation to pupils in receipt of learning support and special needs services.

  • Encourage and fund attendance at training and relevant conferences.

Role of the Special Needs Assistant
"The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme is designed to provide schools with additional adult support staff who can assist children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs. Such support is provided in order to facilitate the attendance of those pupils at school and also to minimise disruption to class or teaching time for the pupils concerned, or for their peers, and with a view to developing their independent living skills." (p.3, DES Circular 0030/2014).

SNA support is provided specifically to assist schools "to cater for the care needs of pupils with disabilities in an educational context, where the nature of these care needs have been outlined in professional reports as being so significant that a pupil will require adult assistance in order to be able to attend school and to participate in education." (p.4, DES Circular 0030/2014)

"For a child to require or qualify for access to SNA support, a child must have an assessed disability. The care needs outlined must be of such significance that they are beyond that which would normally be expected to be provided to a child by the child’s class teacher, support teacher, or other school teachers, or beyond the level of assistance which could be offered to the student by his/ or her fellow pupils in school. The care needs must also be those beyond which could normally be provided for by alternative supportive approaches or modifications of the classroom environment, teaching approaches and/or assistive technology or specialist equipment." (p.5, DES Circular 0030/2014)

"The type of significant care needs that pupils may have can be varied, depending on the nature or level of the disability or sensory impairment that a child may have". Circular 0030/2014. Please refer to Appendix A of this document for further detail.

Involving Parents
Parents are encouraged to be fully involved at all times in their child’s education. If they have any concerns they are encouraged to make an appointment to see the class teacher initially. The parents may also make an appointment to meet with the special education teacher. If the parent continues to have concerns which they feel have not been addressed, they can make an appointment to meet the principal to discuss their concerns. The views of parents will be sought at all stages of assessment and provision. Whenever and wherever possible the views of the child will be ascertained and the child will be directly involved in the process.
Parents can help contribute to their child’s learning through:

  • Regular communication with the class teacher and support teacher

  • Creating a home environment where literacy and numeracy can thrive

  • Fostering positive attitudes about school and learning in the child

  • Participating in literacy programmes run by the school

  • Encouraging their child to visit the library

  • Developing the child’s oral language

  • Developing the child’s social mathematics

The class teacher will bear in mind the learning difficulties of the children, as relevant, when planning homework.  If a child is receiving supplementary teaching the class teacher must consult with the special education teacher to avoid giving the child too much homework. In certain cases the special education teacher will assign the child homework at his/her appropriate level in English and/or Maths. This will be in full agreement with the classroom teacher and will be instead of class homework in the same subject area.

Record keeping:
A file on each child will be kept in the filing cabinet in the Special Education room. It will Include all their School Support Plans, reviews, fortnightly plans, test results such as Jackson phonics, YARC etc., psychological assessments, speech and language assessments, etc., behavioural plans, notes on meetings with their parents and samples of their work. It will include all such files for their time in School Support or School Support Plus for their time in primary school.
SNA staff may assist with a communication journal, where warranted and appropriate. End-of-year pupil reports are completed by the class teacher (in consultation with the special education teacher as appropriate), while the special education teacher provides additional end-of-year ‘comments and observations’ re pupils at school support/school support plus level.
Files containing professional reports, communications from external agencies along with records of meetings and incidents involving pupils with special educational needs are stored securely in the Principal’s Office.

Professional Development for teachers/staff:
In line with available resources, Continued Professional Development (CPD) is encouraged and all staff are alerted to opportunities as they arise. Sharing of best practice is actively encouraged within the school and a bank of teacher reference material is maintained and developed on an ongoing basis. Mainstream class teachers should consult directly with the special education team about such resources.

Transfer to Post-Primary Schools
To assist a smooth transition for pupils with special educational needs to post primary schools, parents are encouraged to visit each of the post primary schools and talk to the Special Education team and the principals in each school to ensure their children's needs will be catered for.
If the child requires a review from NEPS before they leave primary school this will be completed where possible.
When transferring pupil information to the relevant post-primary schools, the Educational Passport system will be used.  When enrolment of a child is accepted by the post primary school, they must issue a request to Scoil Naomh Áine for the end of year class Report Cards.
Scoil Naomh Áine will then forward these to the relevant school. The 6 th class teacher will use My Profile and My Child's Profile templates available on NCCA website to include the child and parent/guardian voice in the transfer process.

Related Policies
Enrolment Policy
Assessment Policy
Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Policy
Code of Behaviour
Administration of Medicine

This policy was reviewed in February 2018 by the whole staff during a staff meeting.
This policy will be reviewed again in 2021 or earlier if required.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 7 th March 2018.

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