Policy and Whole School Plan for Special Education
Holy Family SNS,
River Valley,
Co. Dublin.

N.B. Overview:
Special Education Needs support will be delivered as per relevant current DES circular.
Currently, priority will be given to children at or below the 10th percentile in agreed standardised tests, Micra and Sigma.
Under the General Allocation Model [DES circ. 02/05] our school receives an allocation of Special Education Teachers [SET] on the basis of our mixed gender enrolment to cater for the aforementioned pupils and pupils with High Incidence disabilities.
The level of support due to pupils identified by external professional assessment as having Low Incidence disabilities is allocated by the regional Special Education Needs Organiser [SENO]. These Low Incidence Teaching Hours [LITH] are allocated to the school separate from the General Allocation.
This entire group of Special Education Teachers [SETS] support the class teachers in providing for the educational needs of designated pupils.
Some pupils are allocated access to a Special Needs Assistant [SNA] by the SENO to assist with their education.
Mission Statement:
Our mission, as an inclusive school with a Catholic ethos, is to optimise the teaching and learning process for pupils who qualify for Special Education provision as per current Department of Education circulars.
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, aims to enable children with SEN, and children whose first language is not English, to become fully integrated members of our school community. This will be achieved by careful consideration of the needs of each child and by either modifying activities or by providing support that will help the child to participate in them.
Three Principles for Inclusion
Setting Suitable Learning Challenges
We aim to give every child the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible.
Responding to Children’s Diverse Learning Needs
We take into account the different backgrounds, experiences, interests and strengths that influence the way in which children learn when we plan our approaches to teaching and learning.
Overcoming Potential Barriers to Learning and Assessment for Individuals and Groups of Children
We recognise that a minority of children will have particular learning and assessment requirements that will create barriers to learning if we do not address them through special arrangements.
In making provision for children with special needs our policy objectives
• To ensure that our duties, as set out in The Education Act 1998, Equal Status Act 2000, Education Welfare Act 2000 and Education for Persons with Disabilities Act 2004, are fully met, to enable children with special educational needs to join in the normal activities of the school along with children who do not have special educational needs
• To ensure that all children gain access to a broad and balanced curriculum and have an equal opportunity to receive an education that is appropriate to their needs
• To prioritise early identification and intervention as tracked by our Student Support File
• To use our resources as efficiently and equitably as possible when assessing and meeting the special educational needs of our children
• To develop a partnership with parents/carers in order that their knowledge, views and experience can assist us in assessing and providing for their children
• To promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of whole school policies for Special Education
• 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 collaboration with the Department of Education & Skills in order to take effective action on behalf of children with special needs
• 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.
Staff Roles and Responsibilities:
In attempting to achieve the above objectives the BoM, Principal and staff will take all reasonable steps within the limits of the resources available to fulfil the requirements outlined in this policy document. The implementation of our Policy and Whole School Plan for Special Education is a collaborative responsibility shared by the following parties,
Board of Management, Principal, Class Teachers, Special Education Teachers(Learning Support and Resource) – [SET], Visiting Teachers, Special Needs Assistants [SNAs], Parents, and the child.
Role of the Board of Management:
The BoM 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.
Role of Principal:
Principal – Mr. David O’Keeffe
The Principal has overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of provision. He will work closely with the SEN co-ordinator 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 the SEN co-ordinator, he will liaise with the SENO with regard to support hours and is responsible for personnel appointments.
Special Needs Co-ordinator – Fidelma Curran (Deputy Principal)
The Special Needs Co-ordinator will be responsible for:
• To oversee the day-to-day operation of the SEN Policy
• To co-ordinating provision for children with special educational needs
• To liaise with the principal on all matters related to SEN provision in the school.
• To ensure that the Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning is adhered to. [DES Sp. Ed. 02/05 ]
• To ensure compliance with the Key 6 Steps to providing appropriate support for all pupils who need it. [ DES Sp. Ed. 02/05 ]
• To ensure adherence to the annual testing schedule.
• To maintain a list of pupils in receipt of special education services.
• Assist in co-ordinating the caseloads / work schedules of the SETS.
• Support the implementation of a tracking system to document the progress and needs of SEN pupils over time, ranging from Classroom Support, School Support (IPLPs) and to School Support Plus (IEPs).
• To ensure parents have given permission, in writing, for all appropriate interventions.
• Liaising with external agencies such as psychological services to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs.
• Co-ordinating the purchase of resource materials.
• Liaising with and advising fellow teachers and SNAs and contributing to in service training of staff
• Liaising with parents of children with special needs
• Monitoring and evaluating SEN provision
Role of Class Teacher:
1. The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in his/her care. In supporting the development of the school plan for Special Ed. The class teacher should:
2. Be aware of the support structures within and outside the school for pupils identified as having Sp. Ed. Needs. [SEN].
3. Implement the school policies on the selection of SEN candidates through assessment and screening. [ DES Circ. Sp.Ed. 02/05]
4. Contact the parents to inform them, at an early stage, of concerns regarding their child, be they behavioural or learning concerns and initiate the Student Support File(classroom support) if necessary. Differentiate the curriculum to address the identified needs [Stage 1] or move to stage 2 or 3 intervention model as appropriate. [ DES Circ. Sp.Ed. 02/05]
5. Liaise with the parents, SETS and/or other relevant professionals in the development of Classroom/School/ or School Support Plus Plans for the designated pupils. This learning support can be delivered in or out of class as an individual or in groups with SET involvement [ Stage 2 ]
6. Ensure that where the needs of the pupil, upon professional assessment, cannot be fully met within Stage 1 or 2 then, with parental permission, an Individual Education Plan [IEP] is agreed with learning targets and activities established by all parties to the plan..
7. To monitor the effectiveness of the Classroom Support Plans during scheduled reviews and to be involved in monitoring the effectiveness of IPLPs and IEPs during scheduled reviews.
8. To work closely with the SET team in the provision of in class support in Literacy/Numeracy.
Role of the Special Education Teachers [SETS]:
1. To ensure that Low Incidence pupils receive their allocation of hours in the most beneficial manner.
2. To contribute to the development of the SEN policy at whole school level.
3. To support the class teachers in identifying pupils with needs, advising on differentiations and supporting learning.
4. To work as a team with the class teacher in planning for and delivering In Class Support
5. To develop Individual Educational Plans [IEPS] or, Individual Profile and Learning Programmes [ IPLP ] for individuals, or small Group Profiles for children with similar assessed needs in consultation with the class teacher and parents. These are to be developed twice yearly in September/October and the end of January and reviewed at the end of January and in June.
6. To support designated pupils to achieve their optimum level of proficiency in Literacy and Numeracy.
7. Maintain a planning and progress record for each individual or group of pupils, in their care, in receipt special education services, detailing information gathered, plans, intervention, consultations and reviews.
8. Contribute at school level to decision making regarding purchase of suitable SEN resources for staff and pupils.
9. To consult regularly with class teachers and parents regarding the SEN pupils.
10. To continually update their knowledge/skills base for SEN provision.
11. To liaise with relevant schools regarding SEN pupils.
Role of Special Needs Assistants: [SNA]
1. Special Needs Assistants [SNAs] work with children who need extra non-teaching support perhaps because of a physical difficulty or behavioural difficulties.
2. SNAs may be approved to support pupils who have a significant medical need. This might include a significant impairment of physical or sensory function or where their behaviour makes them a danger to themselves or others.
3. The criteria used for the assessment of the need for such support are outlined in the DES Circ. 07/02.
4. Pupil’s needs could range from needing an assistant for a short period each week, for example, to help to feed or change the pupil(s) or bring them to the toilet, to requiring a full-time assistant.
5. SNAs may work with more than one child and can also work on a part-time basis depending on the needs of the school.
6. The school authorities may use the SNA allocation to cover the designated pupil and others as deemed fitting and reasonable.
7. The SNA hours are reviewed annually by the SENO [Special Education Needs Organiser] for the area.
Role of the Parents/Guardians:
1. Are encouraged at all times to be fully involved in their child’s education by supporting homework and establishing/maintaining communication with the school
2. If they have any concerns they are encouraged to make an appointment to see the class teacher, SET teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal..
3. To give written permission for SEN intervention in their child’s education or in the case of refusal to do so in writing.
The school aims to meet the needs of any child whom the parent wishes to register at the school as long as a place is available and the admission criteria are fulfilled. The Education For Persons with Disabilities Act 2004 states that ‘A child is entitled to attend the school which is most suited to his or her overall needs’.
Parents are required to notify the school of their child’s special needs in advance of enrolment through the Home School Liaison Teacher. The BoM will request a copy of the child’s medical or psychological report. No child will be refused admission solely on the grounds that s/he has SEN except where the provision required is incompatible with that available in our school
Assessment and Reporting:
See: Attached Schedule for Standardised Assessments. [ Appendix 1]
The school will operate the Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning. [ DES Sp. Ed. Circ. 02/05. pp 21/22] and the Continuum of Support Guidelines
In Summary:
A consultation with the NEPS psychologist/ other professionals may contribute to this Classroom/ School/ School Support Plus Plan at Stage 1-3.
Stage 1: If parent or class teacher has concerns about a pupil they communicate and collaborate with each other to record concerns and to decide on strategies/ interventions to address the student’s needs within the classroom, these are documented in the Student Support File- Classroom Support Plan. The screening tests administered throughout the school population may serve to identify pupils for School Support, then Stage 2 is activated.
Stage 2: Having received parental permission, the teacher, with assistance from the SET will further investigate and use diagnostic tests and profiling to create an IPLP ( School Support Plan)to target the needs of the pupil. Pupils with similar needs may be grouped for supplementary support or they may receive in class support. If after an agreed period of time concerns still exist then the pupil should move to Stage 3. Some pupils may move to Stage 3 immediately if profound need exists.
Stage 3: With parental permission the school formally requests a consultation and where appropriate an assessment from relevant professionals outside the school e.g. Educational Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists etc. These reports will form the basis of an agreed IEP (School support Plus) that will be reviewed at intervals. The assessed needs may be met within or without the classroom, as appropriate.
We will operate the:
Key Steps to Providing Appropriate Support For All Pupils Who Need It
[DES Sp. Ed. Circ 02/05 ]
In Summary:
1. Identify all pupils who have Special Educational Needs.
2. Identify the Stage of Intervention required.
3. Identify the staff who will be allocated to the identified pupils.
4. Cross reference the programme needs of the select pupils with learning needs at Stage 2 and 3 and consider common needs that can be met by grouping or and in class support.
5. Establish a tracking and recording system and actively monitor the progress of the identified pupils.
When evidence of movement beyond the established threshold for retention in SEN arises for a pupil, written contact will be made with the parent/guardian if SEN support is to be discontinued.
Record Keeping:
1. The SENCO will keep a running record of the pupils in receipt of Sp. Ed.
2. Standardised test results, psychological test results and any other confidential information will be kept securely in the SENCO room.
3. With parental written permission, pupil files may be passed on to agreed parties eg. NEPS. Parents will be asked to give professional reports pertaining to their child to their secondary school.
4. If a student is receiving school support/ school support plus in 6th class the secondary school will be notified re. support received and current scores in Micra and Sigma T standardised tests.
5. Confidential files on pupils will be kept in school until the pupil is 21 years of age.
6. Confidential data kept on computer must be secure and pass-worded.
Monitoring and Review of Policy:
Monitoring of Sp. Ed. Needs Policy is continuous. A meeting shall be convened in the last term of each year to review and review and revise elements of this plan as circumstances dictate. The Principal and SENCO will instigate this meeting.
Signed: Paul Martin ( Chairman)
Board of Management, Holy Family S.N.S.
Dated : 10th November 2014
Appendix 1
Attached Schedule for Standardised Assessments
September: NRIT and NVRT tests for third classes and newly enrolled pupils.
October: Drumcondra Spelling Test
May: Micra

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