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Special Needs

Introductory Statement

This policy was drafted by mainstream staff of Scoil Aodán Naofa National School, Carnew, in consultation with Learning Support, Resource teachers and parents. It was ratified by the Board Of Management on _________________.

Guiding Principals

We want all children, particularly those with disabilities, to feel that they are a valued part of the School community. We do this through inclusion which has at its core, the following principals

Setting suitable learning challenges

Responding to children’s diverse learning needs

Overcoming barriers to learning and assessment



The rationale for this policy is to ensure compliance with The Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act (2000), The Equal Status Act (2000), Disability bill (2002), and the E.P.S.E.N. Act (2004).

Relationship to School Ethos

Scoil Aodán Naofa, Carnew, strives to create learning opportunities for all children and that commitment underpins all school planning and policy documents.

Aims and Objectives

To ensure all children gain access to a broad and balanced curriculum and have opportunity of access to an appropriate education.

To set out the whole school approach and learning re pupils with special needs.

To develop a partnership with parents/carers.

To use all resources efficiently so that these children develop as learners, engage meaningfully with the curriculum and develop the skill and competencies necessary to lead an independent life.

To enable all pupils with disabilities in the school to share with their peers as complete an educational experience as possible.

To identify and assess children with special needs as early a possible – Mist test in senior infants unless earlier assessment has been made.

To ensure that all staff are aware of their responsibilities towards children with special needs and are able to exercise them.

To monitor our effectiveness in achieving the above objectives.


Board of Management

The Board of Management will fulfil its statutory duties towards pupils with special needs. It will 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.


The principal has overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of provision. He will work closely with S.E.N. coordinator and will keep the BOM informed about the working of this policy. He will encourage members of staff to participate in training to help them meet the objectives of this policy. In consultation with SEN co-ordinator, he will Liaise with the SENO with regard to support hours and is responsible for personnel appointments.

Special Education Team

Special Education Team consists of SEN co-ordinator and 2 SEN teachers in our school will be responsible for:

Overseeing the day to day operation of SEN policy.

Co-ordinating provision for children with special educational needs

Liaising with and advising fellow teachers and contributing to in service training of staff

Liaising with and advising SNAs with regard to support children with special needs

Liaising with parents of children with special needs.

Monitoring and evaluating SEN provision.

Facilitating planning for class teacher with support teacher.

Collaborating with SEN team.


Special Education Needs Team

The SEN team is responsible for:

Overseeing the records of all children with special needs

Liaising with external agencies including the psychology service – organising assessments

Liaising with the health and social services in consultation with our home/school liaison teacher.

Liaising with the SEN co-ordinator



All staff including Support Teachers and mainstream staff has an important role to play through the process of inclusion of Special Needs into Mainstream classes. The class and resource teachers identify and intervene while the S.N.A. attends to care needs, if necessary.

Special Needs Assistant - refer to roll of S.N.A. policy


The role of parents supporting the Learning Support for their children is vital to its success. Specifically, parents contribute through:

Regular communication with the Class teacher and Learning Support Teacher.

Creating a home environment where literacy can thrive

Fostering positive attitudes about school and learning in the child

Participation in Paired Reading Programme

Encourage the child to visit the library.

Developing the child’s oral language

Developing the child’s social mathematics


Facilities and Resources

Scoil Aodán Naofa has 3 Special Ed. Rooms. All Special Needs children have access to computers. The school has ample resources for Special needs which are stored in the S.E.N. rooms.


“A child is entitled to attend the school which is most suited to his/her overall needs” – The Education For persons with disabilities Act 2004. Parents are required to notify the school of their child’s Special Needs in advance of enrolling in Mainstream. The BOM will request a copy of the child’s medical or psychological report.

No child can be refused admission solely on the grounds that he/she has SEN except where the provision is incompatible with that in our school.


Teacher Observation

Screening Tests – The MI~ST Screening test is administered during term 3 to Senior Infants

Class teacher liaises with LS/RT as the staged approach develops

Principal liaises with Assessment Services if necessary.

Stages of Assessment and provision

Access to the school’s broad and balanced curriculum is achieved for most children by differentiation of class by the class teacher. When a class teacher identifies a child with SEN the class teacher should consult with the SEN teacher and provide interventions that are ADDITIONAL TO or DIFFERENT FROM those provided as part to the school’s usual differentiated curriculum. The first line of responsibility for the progress of all pupils in the class lies with the class teacher. Class teachers will discuss their concerns with the child’s parents

The triggers for this intervention could be:

The child makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are directed at an identified area of weakness.

The child shows no signs of difficulty in developing literacy and numeracy skills, which result in poor attainment.

Persistent emotional or behavioural difficulties which do not respond to behaviour management techniques used by the school.

Has sensory or physical difficulties

Has communication and / or relationship difficulties.


The class teacher will monitor the Record of Additional support for half a term.

If the strategy of differentiated support does not work, the class teacher will inform the parents that their child’s needs might be better served in a small group with a support teacher. The Class Teacher and the Support Teacher will differentiate the curriculum with the realistic targets being set. The Support Team will implement an educational plan for the child either as part of a small group, as part of the whole class or on an individual basis. Where progress is such that the child is no longer giving cause for concern, the child will revert to the class curriculum.

School Action

In cases where the Record of Additional Support indicates that progress has not improved or if the results of tests (M.I.S.T.) Drumcondra Primary Reading Test), Sigma T, Belfield Infant Assessment Programme and teacher observation indicate this to be the case intervention in the form of a support teacher will be accessed. Again, class teachers will discuss their concerns with the child’s parents.

When it has been identified that a child is still struggling and performing below the tenth percentile despite School Action the class teacher with the support teacher and SET and, in consultation with the child’s parent, will adopt the following approach:

1. A psychological assessment will be arranged (see Education for Persons with Disability Act 2004.)

2. Other outside agencies may need to be contacted, who will advise on a range of provision including IEP targets and strategies.

3. The triggers for intervention for resource teaching could be 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 IEP.

Has sensory and/or physical needs, and requires additional specialist equipment or regular visits from an advisory service.

Has ongoing communication or relationship difficulties that prevent social development, and act as a barrier to learning


The Staged approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning

Stage 1

A class teacher or parent may have concerns about the academic, physical, social behavioural or emotional development of certain pupils.

The teacher should then administer screening measures, which may include screening checklists and profiles of pupils in Senior Infants and first class, standardised, norm-referenced tests for older pupils and behavioural checklists where appropriate.

The class teacher should then draw up a short, simple plan for extra help to be implemented within the normal classroom setting, in the relevant area of learning and/or behavioural management. The success of the classroom support plan should be regularly reviewed with appropriate parental involvement. If concern remains after a number of reviews and adaptations to the plan, the special education support team or the learning support/resource teacher in the school may be consulted about the desirability of intervention at stage II.

Stage II

If intervention is considered necessary at stage II, then the pupil should be referred to the learning support/resource teacher, with parents’ permission, for further diagnostic testing. In the case of pupils with learning difficulties, if the classroom plan fails to achieve the desired outcome the pupil should be referred to the SEN team, with parents’ permission, for further diagnostic testing. If this diagnostic assessment suggests that supplementary teaching would be beneficial, this should be arranged. The parents and the class teacher should be involved with the learning support/resource teacher in drawing up the programme, which would include appropriate interventions for implementation in the home, in the classroom, and during supplementary teaching.

The SEN team and the class teacher should review regularly, in consultation with the parents, the rate of progress of each pupil receiving supplementary teaching. If significant concerns remain after a number of reviews and adaptations to the learning programme, then it may be necessary to provide intervention 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 parent’s permission, be discussed with the relevant NEPS psychologist and/or the case should be referred to the clinical services of the Heath Services Executive. This may lead to an more detailed behavioural management programme to be implemented at home and in class, or to referral for further specialist assessment (stage III)>

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, etc.

4. When the special educational need of the child has been confirmed by the psychologist an application for resource hours will be forwarded to the SENO. The SENO will determine whether the child falls into the category of Lower Incidence of High Incidence. Lowe incidences will be awarded resource hours while the school makes provision for High incidence cases under the Weighted system.

5. If the psychologist recommends an exemption from Irish, the Principal will see to this under guidance from the DES.


The learning support /resource teacher, if available, and the class teacher, 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 fully consulted throughout this process. This programme is 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 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 remains with the class teacher, in consultation with the learning support/resource/or resource teacher.

Individual Educational Plans

An IEP is then formulated by breaking down the existing levels of attainment of the SEN child into finely graded targets. This is a collaborative process between Class Teachers, Support Teachers, SENO, parents and outside agencies.

The school has its own particular IEP template. The management of IEP is the responsibility of Class Teachers and Support Teachers. A copy is sent to parents who can make recommendations. A review is conducted at the end of each term. If a child is reaching targets consistently he/she may revert to a classroom setting.

The review in May will formulate an IEP, which will be part of the plan for the next teacher in September. It will be carried out as outlined above. IEPs for children moving to 2nd level will be used at the consultation meetings with the 2nd level representative.


We are fully committed to the principle of inclusion and the good practice, which makes it possible. Our policy, as set out in this document, will enable children with SEN to be an integral part of our school community.

Classroom Practices

“The teacher must be expert in monitoring performance at the level of each student in the class as corrective feedback is geared to individual needs and learning rate” – Westwood.

In this school teachers are encouraged to:

Review previous days worked

Present clearly new skills and concepts

Guide student practice through provision of feedback

Provide modified instruction

Use age and ability appropriate written and oral work

Adjust questioning to different ability levels

Present materials at the appropriate level of difficulty


Communication Strategies

The operation of an effective communication system between all the parties involved in meeting the learning needs of the child is considered essential. The various strands of the system include:

Class Teacher and the Learning support Teacher following a low score on a screening test.

Principal and /or Learning Support and/or Class Teacher and parents following low score on a screening test, including the seeking of approval of further diagnostic assessment and/or provision of supplementary teaching.

Setting learning targets at an appropriate level.

Provide learning activities and materials which are suitably challenging but which also ensure success and progress.

Carrying out error analyses of a pupil’s work to pinpoint specific areas of difficulty achievers, e.g. peer tutoring/paired reading.

Applying assessment and tests which offer challenge and opportunities for

Success to children of all levels of achievement.


A key role of successful Learning Support is a very high level of consultation and co-operation between the Class Teacher and the Learning support Teacher. Central to this consultation is the development, implementation and review of Individual Profile and Learning Programmes.


Communication in relation to Special Needs is on going with


Health Service Executive

Special Education Needs Officer

Speech and Language Therapists

Occupational therapists

Education Psychologists

Social Workers



Timetabling for Resource and Learning support is done through a collaborative approach between LS/RT, Class teachers and Principal. Every effort is made to ensure that children are not removed from the same curricular area each day. Due recognition is taken of the specific needs of each child.

Review: Roles – All staff re involved in the review process for this plan.

The teacher with responsibility for S.E.N. policy will co-ordinate the review process.

The Principal has overall responsibility for the implementation of any changed to the policy.

Due cogniscance will be taken of any new legislation underpinning implementation of Special Needs Policy in the schools system.

Timeframe: this policy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, but is due for full review in the school year 2013/14.

Ratification: Ratified by the Board of Management on _____________>

Signed:_________________ Chairperson, Board of Management


In recent times notable changes have taken place within the Special Education Sphere. These include

1. Abolition of Resource Teachers for Travellers Posts.

2. A 10% reduction in Resource Hours for S.E.N. children

3. Capping of number of SNA posts within the system

4. Reduction in support services for schools, e.g. psychological services, Curriculum Support Services (PDST), In-Service Training.


These cutbacks have seriously reduced our capability to provide services to S.E.N. children in our school by placing additional workloads on existing teachers/supports. For example:

(1) Traveller children now fall under the remit of LS/RT support

(2) Resource teaching time has been reduced by 10%


Despite the imposition of these constraints, the staff of Scoil Aodán Naofa, Carnew will continue to provide the best possible support to the children with learning/behavioural/emotional difficulties.

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