Special Education Needs Policy


Under the new General Allocation Model, from September 2022 – June 2023, St Nicholas’ Monastery National School has an allocation of 92.5 hours of special education teaching support to meet the needs of the children in the school. Since 2017 the terms Resource and Learning Support are not used in Primary Education when referring to Special Needs Provision.

Key Principles of This Policy

  1. Pupils with the greatest levels of need will have access to the greatest level of support, and whenever possible, these pupils will be supported by teachers with relevant expertise who can provide continuity of support.
  2. The school principal has overall responsibility for SEN procedures and practices in the school. The new allocation model states the principal’s leadership role is central. The principal will also endeavour to best meet the needs of individuals and the school as a whole by identifying pupils with the greatest level of need will have access to the greatest level of support.
  1. Early Intervention is top of our priority list regarding the deployment of SET resources and teachers.

Changes to the previous policy arise from

  • The introduction of the new Special Education Teaching Allocation Model (Circular No 0013/2017)
  • Changes in our practice in recent years with a greater focus on in-class/whole-class support alongside our model of withdrawing children in small groups or one-to-one where necessary for additional support e.g Maths Recovery-greatest level of need will have access to the greatest level of support.
  • A perceived increase in social/emotional difficulties among pupils.
  • Our ongoing commitment to support all pupils with differing needs in our school.


  • The purpose of this SEN policy is to provide practical guidance for teachers, parents and other interested parties on the provision of effective learning support to pupils experiencing low achievement and / or learning difficulties, as well as to fulfil our obligations under the Education Act 1998.

Aims of SEN Policy

  • All children have a right to an education, which is appropriate to them as individuals. We want all of our children to feel that they are a valued part of our school community.
  • The resources provided to support pupils with special educational needs, will be used to facilitate the development of a truly inclusive school
  • Supports provided to pupils with special educational needs will 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. Support will be offered taking into account the allocation available to the school and the appropriateness of the support in meeting the needs of the child
  • The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress and care of all pupils in the classroom, including pupils with special educational needs
  • Pupils with the greatest levels of need will have access to the greatest level of support, and whenever possible, these pupils will be supported by teachers with relevant expertise who can provide continuity of support.


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 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. Insofar as is practically and reasonably possible, it is our aim to minimise the difficulties that children may experience.

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

We are a school of the Catholic faith and thus we strive to ensure that our ethos permeates into every aspect of our school’s teaching and learning. We assess our children in order to ascertain their strengths and weakness and to afford each individual child an opportunity to learn and to be taught in such a manner so as to reach their full potential.

Identification of Additional Needs of pupils

Identification of educational needs is central to our policy and the new allocation model. By using the Continuum of Support framework, we can identify pupils’ educational needs, to include academic, social and emotional needs, as well as needs associated with physical, sensory, language and communication difficulties. This, in turn, allows us to identify and respond to needs in a flexible way. Decisions on how special education teachers are used will be taken at school level. Through normal class work, homework and general class interaction and school based assessment teachers are able to identify pupils who are in need of support. The school makes the decision on the level of support required to meet an individual’s needs based on a range of factors including academic performance, social interaction, participation etc. The amount of additional support and type of support will vary from pupil to pupil.

The Continuum of Support suggests the following levels of support:

The flow diagram outlines how we gather information to identify needs and support children with additional needs. A more comprehensive explanation of each stage can be found in the Continuum of Support – Guidelines for teachers 12 - 35

Stage 1 Classroom Support

Classroom Support is the most common, and typically the first response to emerging needs. It is a response for pupils who have distinct or individual educational needs and who require approaches to learning and/or behaviour which are additional to or different from those required by other pupils in their class. Problem-solving at this level typically begins when a parent or teacher has concerns about an individual pupil. The teacher and parents discuss the nature of the problem and consider strategies which may be effective. Classroom Support incorporates the simple, informal problem-solving approaches commonly used by class teachers to support emerging needs.

Classroom Support

The class teacher considers how to differentiate the learning programme effectively to accommodate the needs of all pupils in the class.

A classroom support plan is developed and/or adjusted over time for those pupils who do not respond appropriately to the differentiated programme.

This is informed by some of the following:

  • Parental consultation
  • Teacher observation records
  • Teacher-designed measures/assessments
  • Basic needs checklist *
  • Learning environment checklist*
  • Pupil consultation - My Thoughts About School Checklist
  • Literacy and numeracy tests if applicable
  • Screening tests if applicable

A classroom support plan runs for an agreed period of time and is subject to review. Class teacher and SET (also known as Class Co-ordinator for SET) can work together at the reviewing of any plans at any time when necessary.

Stage 2 School Support

In some cases, interventions at classroom support level are not enough to fully meet the pupil’s special educational needs. School Support may, therefore, be required. The class teacher needs to involve the Special Education Teacher Team (SET Team) in the problem-solving process at this point and it involves more systematic gathering of information and the development and monitoring of a School Support Plan.

School Support

At this level a support plan is devised and informed by:

  • Teacher observation records
  • Teacher-designed measures/assessments
  • Parent and pupil interviews
  • Learning environment checklist
  • Diagnostic assessments in literacy/numeracy
  • Formal observation of behaviour including ABC charts, frequency measures
  • Functional assessment as appropriate, including screening measures for social, emotional and behavioural difficulties

A support plan at this level may detail suitable teaching approaches including team-teaching, small groups or individual tuition.

A school support plan operates for an agreed period of time and is subject to review.

Stage 3 School Support Plus

If a pupil’s special educational needs are severe and/or persistent, they are likely to need intensive support. School Support Plus will generally involve personnel outside the school team in the problem solving, assessment and intervention process. However, the information from Classroom and School Support work will provide the starting point for problem-solving at this level. Where a pupil has a diagnosis/report from an outside agency, recommendations in the report will be considered in deciding what supports are offered. However, within the school, we may not always be able to offer the supports recommended. Also, we may not always feel that the recommendations are borne out by the evidence we have regarding a pupil. We retain the right to offer what we feel is the most appropriate intervention for each pupil, taking into account evidence from teachers, parents and any other agencies that may be involved. Classroom support and school support will continue to be an important element of any intervention. In Saint Nicholas’ Monastery N.S. we will always endeavour to do the best for every child.

School Support Plus

This level 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 (as appropriate) and may include:

  • Teacher observation and teacher-designed measures
  • Parent and pupil interviews
  • Functional assessment
  • Results of standardised testing such as measures of cognitive ability, social, emotional and behavioural functioning, adaptive functioning etc

Data generated from this process is used to plan an appropriate intervention and can serve as a baseline against which to map progress.

A support plan at this level is likely to be more detailed and individualised, and to include longer term planning and consultation.

* adapted from NEPS Continuum of Support - see page 32 - 35 of guidelines

Information gathering and assessment

Class & SEN teachers will use their observations, class tests, standardised and diagnostic tests, parental input and reports from professionals involved with the child. Children’s continuum of support documents will be maintained on Aladdin system which is password protected and also in a locked filing cabinet in the principal’s office. A list of those receiving school or school plus support will be on our administrative system. This list should be updated at regular intervals by class teachers for those on Classroom Support Plans and by Class Teachers in conjunction with the SET team and principal so that they are available for regular review. These reviews take place generally in

  1. June
  2. End of September/Start of October
  3. January

However, if a child presents with a more pressing concern, their needs may be addressed at any time.

A useful step in identifying pupils who may need additional support in Literacy or Numeracy is for the class teacher to administer one or more screening measures. The screening measures that are administered depend on the age and stage of development of the pupils concerned but the following will be administered annually:

  • M.I.S.T will be used in Senior Infants (End of Term 2)
  • Letter ID and Number test Junior Infants (Term 3)
  • Literacy and Numeracy Standardised Tests will be used in 2nd, 4th and 6th class. (Term 3)
  • Irish Standardised Tests will be used in 3rd and 5th class. (Term 3)
  • The NRIT test is used in 2nd and 5th class. (Term 1- End of September)

We continually review the assessment and screening tests that we use in order to balance the needs of our pupils and the need to provide information for appropriate support. Therefore we may deviate from the above list prior to the review date.

*Sometimes children may be included for support based on a teacher’s experience and insight or where there are exceptional circumstances such as difficult home circumstances, ongoing poor performance not flagged in standardised tests, difficulties with processing etc. The specific needs of individuals vary and this is an important factor that is considered in our school. We try to cater for the holistic development and well-being of each individual child as we see fit.

Inventory of Test Materials:

Screening Tests

  • Benchmarking Kit for PM Plus
  • Belfield Infant Assessment Profile (BIAP)
  • Maths Trackers
  • Middle Infant Screening Test (MIST)
  • Standardised Maths/English/Gaeilge
  • Non- Reading Intelligence Test (NRIT)

Diagnostic Tests

In our school the following tests are available for administration:

  • Nessy Dyslexia Online Test
  • Aston Index
  • Quest Literacy and Numeracy- Diagnostic and Remediation Kit
  • Non-verbal Reasoning
  • Letter Identification Assessment
  • BAS Reading Assessment
  • Duncan Reading Assessment
  • Vocabulary Writing Assessment
  • Hearing and Recording Sounds Assessment
  • PM READING Assessment Kit
  • Neale Analysis
  • Schonell Graded Word Reading Test
  • Schonell Graded Spelling Test
  • Rain Sentence Test
  • Group Reading Test II
  • Primary School Assessment Kit (DES 2007)

Prevention and Early Intervention Strategies

Our strategies for supporting the needs of children:

  • Implementation of early intervention programmes in the early primary classes as an effective response to meeting the needs of children with low achievement. These programmes:
  • Include a strong emphasis on oral language laying the foundation for meaningful reading through Aistear and Early Literacy Teaching
  • Emphasise phonemic awareness- Reading Recovery based approach
  • Sometimes involve small group teaching or one-to-one work in classroom or SET classroom.
  • The development of agreed approaches to the teaching of Literacy and Numeracy in order to ensure progression and continuity from class to class.
    • Comprehension Strategies
    • Listening Skills
    • Writing Genre
    • Word Attack Skills
  • Reading Recovery Programme for Individuals with specific literacy needs
  • Literacy station teaching in alternative classes (guided reading/oral work and comprehension)
  • Comprehension programmes for senior classes
  • Team Teaching
  • Aistear in Junior and Senior Infants
  • Social skills groups (when the need arises)
  • Withdrawing individuals/groups
  • Friends for Life (when the need arises)
  • OT physical activity programme (when the need arises)

Each year we plan to use as many of the above listed interventions as we can resource and have time to provide. We may be in a position to introduce other interventions as our new model evolves or we may find that we have to reduce our intervention – this will depend on the needs of the children. What is used comes from what is needed and what is tried and tested according to educational research.

We also encourage

  • Close collaboration and consultation between all teachers and the SET team.
  • Teachers and parents keep the principal informed of all the needs of children with a diagnosis or suspected additional needs, or any changes in needs or circumstances in order to best meet the needs of all children in our school.
  • Promotion of literacy e.g. Print-rich environment, DEAR (Drop Everything and Read)
  • Integrated Digital Learning in all areas of the curriculum
  • Promotion of Numeracy through maths recovery e.g. Mental Maths, Problem Solving, Practical Hands on approach to numeracy teaching and learning
  • Parental involvement in promoting literacy and numeracy e.g. Homework Policy Guidelines for Parents/HSCL led programmes.

Allocation of Resources

Planning Template to Guide the Allocation of Additional Teaching Supports for Pupils with SEN(Primary Guidelines P.19 & 20)

Action 1: Identification of pupils with special educational needs

Review existing information on pupils’ needs, using school-based data and any information from parents and external professionals. Engage in additional screening and data gathering as required, using informal and formal assessment approaches (for example, teacher observations, information on social and emotional competence, standardised tests, diagnostic tests).

Identify all pupils with special educational needs in the school. Match their needs to the appropriate level on the Continuum of Support.

Action 2: Setting targets

Based on individual needs, set clear learning targets for each pupil at each level of the continuum of support.

Action 3: planning teaching methods and approaches

Identify the level and type of intervention required to meet targets for each pupil on the continuum of support. Schools should consider methodologies best suited to promoting meaningful inclusion such as differentiation, team-teaching and small group teaching. They should also be mindful that the interventions and supports that they are using are evidence-informed.

Action 4: Organising early intervention and prevention programmes

Based on identified needs, choose evidence-informed early intervention/prevention programmes to address concerns. Identify time needed and staffing commitment required.

Action 5: Organising and deploying special education teaching resources

Cross-reference the needs of pupils at school support and school support plus levels and consider common needs that can be met by grouping to ensure effective and efficient teaching and learning approaches. Agree which teacher(s) will cater for these groups/individuals and when and where the teaching will take place.

Be mindful of the requirement that pupils with the greatest level of need should receive the greatest level of support from teachers with relevant expertise.

Action 6: Tracking, recording and
reviewing progress

Establish a tracking and recording system, to ensure that the progress of all pupils in meeting their identified targets is monitored:
At whole-school and classroom support level by all teachers

At the school support and school support plus levels by class teachers and special education teachers.

Working Together- Deployment of SET Team

  • Children at Stage 1 will have received in-class support from their teacher who may seek advice/recommendations from the SET
  • Once a pupil’s needs have been identified, where they have been listed as Stage 2/3, Special Education Teachers (SETs) are deployed to help assist the class teacher in addressing these needs as required.
  • We deploy SETs in a variety of ways in order to effectively meet pupils’ needs. We aim to strike a balance between in-class support, group and individual support while ensuring that the needs of children with additional needs are met inclusively.
  • Importantly, the level and type of support reflect the specific targets of individual pupils as set out in their support plans and are informed by careful monitoring and review of progress. In this way, 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.
  • In planning the allocation of additional teaching supports, the overriding principle is that resources are deployed to address the identified needs of pupils. Importantly, those with the highest level of need should have access to the greatest level of support.
  • We consider methodologies best suited to promoting meaningful inclusion such as differentiation, whole-class interventions, team-teaching and small group teaching.
  • In addition to literacy and numeracy difficulties, many pupils will have specific needs in such areas as oral language, social interaction, behaviour, emotional development, motor skills and application to learning.

The role of the SET Team in September/October review will be

  • To consult with the teacher on the needs of the children who are at stages 1, 2 or 3 on the continuum
  • To support the class teacher in creating or updating a Student Support File- Continuum of Support once additional support is implemented
  • To support the class teacher in the writing of classroom support plans when needed
  • To cross-reference the needs of pupils at School Support and School Support Plus levels and consider common needs that can be met by grouping, to ensure effective and efficient teaching and learning approaches.


Stage of Support

Individual Needs to Consider

Type of Support

Stage 3:

School Support Plus

  1. Children with identified complex needs by an external professional such as a
  • Physical Disability
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Moderate General Learning Disability
  • Severe/Profound General Learning Disability
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Assessed Syndrome
  • Specific Speech and Language Disorder/Impairment
  • Multiple disabilities

In-Class Support


Group Withdrawal

Individual Withdrawal


Class Teacher

SET teacher

Outside Agencies

Stage 2:

School Support

  1. Prevention and Early Intervention Programs (EI, Literacy and Numeracy Intervention e.g. Reading Recovery, Literacy Lift-Off, Numeracy Support) this is our key focus and priority area. We understand the importance and value of Early Intervention in St Nicholas’ Monastery NS
  2. Children in JI & SI for whom English is an additional language or children for whom English is an additional language newly arrived in Ireland in 1st – 6th
  3. Children on or under the 12th Percentile in Literacy/Numeracy Standardised Tests
  4. Children with an identified need assessed by external professionals who are on or below the 30th percentile in Literacy and Numeracy such as
  • Borderline Mild General Learning Disability
  • Mild General Learning Disability
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  1. Children who have not made adequate progress after interventions at Stage 1
  2. Children in 1st – 6th who have not made adequate progress after EAL interventions

In-Class Support


Group Withdrawal

Individual Withdrawal


Class Teacher

SET teacher

Roles and Responsibilities:

To facilitate the effective implementation of a school policy on special needs and additional teaching support in our school the following people or groups play a crucial role:

  • Board of Management
  • Principal
  • Class Teachers
  • SET Team
  • SNAs
  • Parents & Pupils
  • Ancillary Staff

Role of Board of Management

  • To oversee the development, implementation and review of school policy on special educational needs.
  • To ensure that adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided for special education teachers.
  • To provide a secure facility for the storage of records relating to pupils in receipt of special educational needs.


The principal has overall responsibility for SEN procedures and practices in the school. The new allocation model states the principal’s leadership role is central. The principal should

  • Implement and monitor the school’s SEN policy on an ongoing basis.
  • Ensure that the children with the greatest needs have the greatest provision.
  • Assign staff strategically to teaching roles.
  • Assign SET appropriately to ensure that the needs of the children in literacy/numeracy/social skills etc. are met.
  • Assign SET teachers to liaise with teachers of pupils in receipt of additional support.
  • Assign responsibility for coordinating additional support to an identified teacher
  • Plan to ensure continuity of provision for all pupils
  • Ensure that whole-school procedures are established to facilitate the effective involvement of parents, pupils and external professionals/agencies
  • Ensure that effective systems are implemented to identify pupils’ needs and that progress is monitored methodically
  • Facilitate the continuing professional development of all teachers in relation to the education of pupils with special educational needs, and ensure that all school staff (class teachers, special education teachers and special needs assistants) are clear regarding their roles and responsibilities in this area
  • Communicate with the SENO (Special Education Needs Organiser)
  • Oversee whole school assessment
  • Allocate time within the school timetable for the SET team to plan and consult with teachers and parents
  • Inform staff about external agencies and provide information on continuing professional development in the area of SET
  • Meet with parents regarding any concerns about their child and update them regarding their progress
  • To work with teachers regarding external assessment services that are available and the procedures to be followed in initiating referrals.
  • To attend multi-disciplinary meetings regarding children with special educational needs.

Class Teacher

Class teachers have primary responsibility for the teaching and learning of all pupils in his/her class, including those selected for additional support. They should

  • implement teaching programmes which optimise the learning of all pupils and, to the greatest extent possible, reduce the impact of learning difficulties on pupil performance
  • create a positive learning environment within the classroom
  • differentiate teaching strategies, approaches and expectations to the range of experiences, abilities, needs and learning styles in their class
  • administer and correct standardised tests of achievement in literacy and numeracy, following the school's guidelines
  • discuss outcomes of standardised testing with liaison SET Team and Principal in the selection of children for supplementary teaching
  • meet with parents regarding any concerns about their child and update them regarding their progress
  • gather information and assess children presenting with needs to inform teaching and learning using the Continuum of Support
  • open a Continuum of Support File once additional needs have been identified which require classroom support
  • develop classroom support plans for children in receipt of Classroom Support
  • collaborate with SET and parents to develop appropriate support plans
  • collaborate with SET to regularly review support plans
  • where applicable, collaborate with the SET team regarding teaching aims and activities for team teaching and whole class interventions
  • adjust the class timetable to ensure that children in receipt of supplementary teaching will not be absent for the same subject/activity during each session
  • coordinate the role and responsibilities of the SNA in relation to the needs of pupils with SEN within the class(es) to which they are assigned
  • liaise with and seek advice from SET

Special Education Teacher (SET)

The SET teacher should:

  • familiarise themselves with a wide range of teaching approaches, methodologies and resources to cater for particular learning styles and to meet a variety of needs
  • assist in the implementation of a broad range of whole school strategies aimed at prevention and early intervention
  • coordinate class groups and offer advice and support to class teachers regarding individual pupils
  • collaboratively develop with class teachers and other staff Support Plans for each pupil selected for support teaching at Stage 2&3
  • meet with class teachers, parents/guardians and other staff members to identify priority learning goals for each pupil in receipt of support
  • organise regular SET team planning meetings to ensure effective communication and support for children with additional needs
  • update and maintain planning and progress records for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of support at Stage 2&3
  • communicate with the principal in relation to SEN matters on an ongoing basis
  • liaise with external agencies about the provision for pupils with additional needs
  • liaise with the Principal, NEPS psychologist, the other members of SET team and class teachers to prioritise children for psychological assessments (NEPS)
  • coordinate and support the whole-school standardised testing at each class level
  • coordinate the screening of pupils for additional support, using the results of standardised tests and class teacher observations and findings
  • in consultation with the principal and staff members, select children for external diagnostic assessment, where parental permission has been sought and granted
  • administer and interpret diagnostic tests and inform class teachers and parents of the outcomes
  • collaborate with staff in creating timetables for additional support
  • oversee the tracking system of test results on password-protected administrative software to monitor the progress of pupils
  • maintain lists of pupils who are receiving additional support
  • provide necessary information to a receiving school, on an SEN pupil once a transfer letter has been received.

Special Needs Assistants

The duties of the SNA carried out according to the guidelines for Special Needs Assistants from the Department of Education and Skills and under the direction of the principal/class teachers, the SNA will meet the care needs of the SEN pupils to which they have been assigned. (As per Circular 0030/2014)

The SNA should:

  • support the needs of pupils in effectively accessing the curriculum
  • contribute to the quality of care and welfare of the pupils
  • support learning and teaching in the classroom
  • attend, where possible, training courses/workshops provided by the BOM
  • attend support plan meetings and/or meetings with relevant professionals, when necessary
  • ensure the safety of the SEN pupils in the schoolyard, and be present for the duration of the yard breaks along with the teachers on duty
  • accompany SEN pupil to supplementary lessons when appropriate


Collaboration and sharing of relevant information between home and school are essential elements of our SEN policy. Parents/Guardians through their unique knowledge of their own children have much to contribute to their child’s learning.

Parent/Guardian should:

  • share any information, reports or reports pending from health professionals, and/or concerns regarding their child’s development. Copies of professional reports should be provided to the school at the enrolment stage or when obtained
  • support the work of the school and keep the class teacher informed of the progress and challenges they observe in their child’s learning
  • attend meetings arranged by the class teacher or SET team
  • support the targets outlined in their child’s support plans and engage in all suggested home-based activities
  • keep the school informed of any home factors which may affect the child
  • inform the post-primary school of their child’s needs, at the transition stage
  • trust the school in doing it’s job, with all staff members doing their best to meet the needs of the children in our care. We ask parents to understand we are here to try and best meet their child’s needs while considering the whole needs of the whole school and SET resources available at any given time.

Effective communication with parents is critically important to the success of Special Educational Needs Programme. Activities that may be organised to increase the involvement of parents in supporting their children’s learning, particularly parents in the Special Educational Needs Programme. Such activities include:

  • Paired/Shared Reading.
  • Developing children’s oral language through discussion.
  • Motivating children to learn more.
  • Selecting high interest books for the children.
  • Visits to places of interest to broaden the range of children’s experiences.
  • Encouraging children to use the library
  • Engage children in activities to aid social and emotional development such as football, boxing, drama, rugby etc.
  • Ensure time is spent with children on their homework as this is a time to be with your child(ren) and it’s not just about doing the homework.

Parents will be consulted regularly at all stages of the processes outlined in this policy eg

  • When a child is assessed as having needs that may require additional support
  • When a child is identified as having behaviours/difficulties that may require further investigation within the school or by outside agencies
  • During psychological assessments
  • When a Support Plan is being drawn up for a child
  • When a review of a Support Plan means a significant change in the levels of out of class support being given to a child


Pupils who are in receipt of supplementary teaching should, as appropriate:

  • be given the opportunity to contribute to the setting of support plan targets
  • become familiar with the targets that have been set for them
  • develop ‘ownership’ of the skills and strategies that are taught during supplementary teaching and learn to apply these learning strategies and skills to improve their own learning
  • contribute to the evaluation of their progress by participating in appropriate assessment activities, including self-assessment

Tracking, recording and reviewing progress

Provision for pupils with special educational needs relies upon clear identification processes and careful planning of interventions to address academic and/or personal and social development needs. Identification of needs, planning, target-setting and monitoring of outcomes are essential elements of school-wide support of our pupils.

Student Support File

We use a Student Support File to plan interventions and to track a pupil’s pathway through the Continuum of Support. It facilitates us in documenting progress and needs over time and assists us in providing an appropriate level of support to pupils, in line with their level of need. Our Student Support File is based on the NEPS template and is stored on the school intranet. All support files should include:

  • Cover sheet with pupil’s details
  • A timeline of actions
  • Record of support received
  • Standardised/ Diagnostic test scores
  • Support plans
  • Checklists as appropriate

At the beginning of the year and at the end of each school year hereafter, each class teacher together with the SET team will collate the results/checklists/observations/parental input etc. which has informed the support provided for children during the year, to review the children in receipt of support – on the continuum and a school list showing children who are

  • On Stage 1 of the continuum (Class support) (Class Teacher)
  • On Stage 2 of the continuum (School support)(SET Team)
  • On Stage 3 of the continuum (School Support Plus) (SET Team)

This list will be used by the SET for the purposes of planning the following year, as well as being passed on to the class teacher who will be working with the class for the next school year. The list will be maintained throughout the year and reviewed in line with the termly reviews of the SET team.

A class teacher should open a Student Support File once a child is placed on Stage 1 –Classroom Support on the continuum. This is stored digitally on the Teachers’ Internal Intranet. In the event that the file is closed, the hard copy is retained.

SET will have access to the pupils’ digital support plans and may also retain a hard copy of the support plans in his/her files.

Support Plans

We use three different support plans for the three stages of support on the Continuum of Support. These have replaced IPLPs/IEPs for all children who are being newly placed on the support continuum.

Stage 1 – Classroom Support:

A Support Plan at stage 1 is a Classroom Support Plan. (CSP) This is a simple plan which is drawn up by the Class Teacher in collaboration with SET which outlines the pupil’s additional educational needs and the actions, including individualised teaching and management approaches, which will be taken to meet the pupil’s needs. The plan may also include home-based actions to be taken by the pupil’s parents to support their child’s development. The Classroom Support Plan should include a review date.

Stage 2 – School Support:

A Support Plan at stage 2 is for a group or individual whose needs cannot be met by a class support plan. It is called a School Support Plan. This plan is drawn up by the class teacher and appointed SET teacher. The SET teacher involved will depend upon the needs of the child and who can most appropriately meet those needs. The plan will set out the nature of the pupil’s learning difficulties, define specific teaching, learning and behavioural targets and set a timescale for review. The plan may, for the most part, be implemented within the normal classroom setting and complemented by focused school based intervention programmes. Depending on the nature of the needs and on the school context, additional teaching might be within a small group or individual or a combination of both either in class or on a withdrawal basis. Home-based actions may also be included. After the plan has been drawn up, it should become a working document through the careful monitoring of the pupil’s response to the actions taken. Review of such a plan will depend on the nature and timescale of the interventions included in the plan.

Stage 3 – School Support Plus:

A Support Plan at stage 3 is for an individual pupil whose needs cannot be met by a school support plan. It is called School Support Plus. This plan is drawn up by the class teacher and appointed SET, in consultation with the child’s parents/guardians, professionals external to the school and (if appropriate) the child based on the information gathered. It will set out:

  • The nature and degree of the pupil’s abilities, skills and talents
  • The nature and degree of the pupil’s special educational needs and how those needs affect his/her educational development
  • The present level of educational performance of the pupil
  • The special educational needs of the pupil
  • The special education and related support services to be provided to the pupil to enable the pupil to benefit from including:
  • Strategies for supporting the pupil’s progress and inclusion in the classroom setting
  • Individual and/or small group/special class interventions/programmes
  • Specific methodologies/programmes to be implemented
  • Specific equipment/materials and/or IT supports, if required to support learning and access to the curriculum
  • Support required from a Special Needs Assistant (SNA), if appropriate
  • The goals which the pupil is to achieve over a period not exceeding 12 months
  • The pupil’s priority learning needs, long and short term targets to be achieved, the monitoring and review arrangements to be put in place

Meetings needed to draw up and review this plan, will be co-ordinated by the SET who is working with the pupil. We envisage that School Support Plus plans will be drawn up by autumn midterm (October) each year and reviewed by spring midterm (February). Parents will be invited to participate in this process. Our experience is that such plans are more long-term than in- class support or school support plans but, as always, this may vary depending on the needs of the child. In some cases we may use short-term interventions and as such, we will plan and review accordingly.

Sharing/Storing Information and Plans

Our systems for creating, sharing and storing support plans of pupils have been outlined above and are kept in keeping with our Data Protection Policy but here is a brief summary:

  • Every pupil in the school has a file, held in locked filing cabinets (When a pupil leaves the school, his/her file is moved to the past-pupil file). In terms of SEN, each file should contain
  • Annual school report
  • Any reports relating to child’s needs from outside agencies
  • End of year hard copy of any Support Plan which may have been drawn up for the pupil – replacing the plan from the previous year
  • The most recent standardised literacy and numeracy test which the child has take
  • Each teacher – class and SET - involved in supporting a child will have access to the child’s electronic record so that he/she can update the record of support/interventions being provided to that child. This is the means by which Support Plans will be created, shared, reviewed and stored.
  • We envisage that each child should only have one file in the school, to be retained in the office.
  • Whole class records will be retained by the SET team – records such as running records, standardised tests, MIST results etc.
  • Individual tracking of pupils’ results is standard practice as each child beginning with the MIST tests in Senior Infants is stored on our administrative system. This is passed on to the appropriate teacher at the end of the school year, along with the class list showing the nature of support being offered to the pupils in the class.

Other Considerations with regard to SEN

Enrolment of children with identified special educational needs

Parents enrolling children in the school can view our Enrolment Policy and Enrolment Form on the school website. Prior to the child’s enrolment, the school staff will acquaint themselves with a child’s special needs by:

  • Meeting between parents/principal/ class teacher/special needs staff and SENO as appropriate.
  • Obtaining copies/details of reports, assessments etc. from psychologists, therapists etc.
  • Contact with SENO, NEPS psychologist or other psychologist/speech therapist/Autism therapist/occupational therapist involved with the child.
  • Liaison with family counsellor/ care worker where appropriate.

The following steps will be used to ensure a smooth transition into the school for both the pupil and the school.

  • Parental visits to the school.
  • Pupil visit to the school.
  • Making all school employees and pupils aware of the need for the child with special educational needs to be educated in an inclusive environment.
  • Liaison with SENO to arrange for individual personnel, resources, training where appropriate.
  • In some circumstances a transition period may be established to help a child to settle in the school e.g. reduced day in line with SENO/ TUSLA guidelines and advice.

Referral of pupils to outside agencies including NEPS

Where teachers feel it necessary to seek intervention of outside agencies they should

  • Inform the Principal
  • Consult with the SET
  • Speak to parents

The NEPS psychologist attached to the school meets with the principal and the SET at the beginning of the year to discuss the needs of the pupils and to plan the support which will be offered to the school. This may take the form of CPD for staff, or advice for teachers with regard to individual pupils/whole school concerns or, it may involve an assessment and psychological report for an individual pupil.

In the event of a limited availability of assessments through NEPS priority will be given to the pupils with the greatest need.

Where an assessment takes place in the school, the class teacher along with a member of the SET team should oversee initial contact with parents. The principal will liaise with assessment services. The relevant special education teacher will collect all documentation concerning the pupil’s test scores. This will be coordinated by the principal.

Teachers in consultation with the SET team may also recommend to parents that children in need of support, especially in the case of behavioural/emotional needs, should be referred through a GP.

Transfer to Post Primary

All 6th class children will have an Educational Report. This will be provided to Secondary schools upon request.

Where children with SEN are transitioning to the local secondary school, the 6th class teacher will liaise with the SET there.

The 6th class teacher will work to prepare the class for transition to secondary school. A SET may support this work.

An individual transition programme “Transition from Primary to Post-Primary for Pupils with Special Educational Needs- Challenges for the Pupil and Strategies for the Teacher Booklet by the former SESS” may form part of the support plan for some pupils in 6th as identified by consultation between the class teacher and SET.

Pupils with Exceptional Ability

We seek to support pupils with exceptional ability by the following means:

  • Differentiation of work
  • Providing additional follow-on work of a higher level
  • Whole class interventions such as Literacy Lift-Off
  • Recommendations to parents
  • Occasional engagement with experts in areas such as PE, Art, Music, IT

In exceptional circumstances a teacher may draw up a class support plan for a pupil with exceptional ability.

When can a student use Assistive Technology?

If a student has a recommendation for assistive technology in an educational psychologists or occupational therapy report or it is believed to be of benefit to a pupil according to the professional judgment of the teaching staff then they may use such equipment in school. The equipment may be purchased using funds provided by the NCSE (National Council for Special Education), DES grants or school funds. In addition some professional reports recommend that students get access to AT in the school. Students will have access to these resources where necessary during certain periods but we may not be able to provide them with AT for the full day.

What may Assistive Technology be used for?

Assistive technology can:

  • allow pupils who cannot manipulate a pen to write
  • enable pupils that have difficulty in speaking to communicate
  • assist pupils with visual impairments to read through Braille, or with the assistance of text-magnifying devices or through voice output
  • make a computer respond to voice commands through voice recognition software
  • help pupils with learning disabilities to read and write through specialised software
  • allow a visually impaired person to read a novel through a scanner with voice output etc.
  • control computers with simple head pointers or mouth-wands
  • provide the tools to enable a person to experience success, where their usual experience may be regression

What can Assistive Technology not do?

AT is not a magic solution and its use may end in disappointment if too much emphasis is put on technology and not enough on how the pupil is likely to react to it, or whether it will work in the busy school environment. It is important to avoid failure as this results in a setback for the pupil and parents.

Assistive technology may be limited in use because:

  • it is only one of a range of options needed to help pupils expand their potential
  • some high-tech AT requires a lot of learning that may be outside the cognitive or physical abilities of the pupil
  • some solutions are achievable by more simple, inexpensive low-tech devices, or other strategies
  • pupils may not 'buy-in' to assistive technology if it emphasises their disability
  • specialists don't always know best. Parents' and teachers' intuitive knowledge is sometimes equally valid, but given less weight than the 'experts' judgements
  • some AT is very expensive
  • it is there to support revision rather than to replace it.

Training of Students

  • Training will be provided for students who are new to Assistive technology.
  • Teachers will be regularly upskilled and will pass on their knowledge to students

Concluding Section

Success Criteria

The following points will be indicators of the success of the Special Educational Needs Policy.

  • Pupils with special needs will be catered for.
  • The progress of pupils with special needs will be monitored and recorded.
  • Discussion/meetings with parents.
  • Feedback from teaching staff, pupils, psychologists etc.
  • Standardised test results
  • Inspector’s Reports.

Roles and Responsibility

The roles and responsibilities of parents, teaching staff, principal and BOM have already been outlined in the policy

It is the role of the SENO to allocate the annual support provision to the school, based on the information provided by the principal.

Other agencies involved in meeting the needs of the pupils are the DES and NEPS. The school also relies on the support of a variety of therapists and psychologists in analysing the needs of our pupils.

Ratification and Review

The staff, under the guidance of the Principal will review this policy as required in accordance with DES updated circulars and guidelines.

Signed: _____________________________________________________ Date: ___/___/______

(Chairperson of Board of Management)

Signed: _____________________________________________________ Date: ___/___/______



Signed: _____________________________________________________ Date: ___/___/______

(Chairperson of Board of Management)

Signed: _____________________________________________________ Date: ___/___/______


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