Special Educational Needs Policy


Special Educational Needs Policy

 

                    SITUATION

 

This is a 5-teacher, rural, co-educational school with 78 pupils on roll. There are three mainstream teachers, 1 Learning Support Teacher and 1 Resource Teacher.  The classes are divided as follows:

Junior Room: Jun. Infants, Sen. Infants

Middle Room: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Classes

Senior Room: 4th, 5th & 6th classes.

 

We currently have 15 hours general allocation to cater for high incidence pupils and learning support. We also have 24.65 low incidence hours. These hours are allocated as follows:

 

  • 15.0 hours.     Ms. Mc Gonigle based in this school. Shared post with Donagh N.S
  • 24.65 hours. Mrs. Doherty based in this school and shared with St Oran’s N.S, Cockhill.

 

There is one full time S.N.A. in the school.

 

This policy takes into account the requirement of Circular 02/05 to implement the Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Learning Programme Planning for Pupils with

Special Educational Needs.  See Appendix for details of the stages involved.

 

 

                BELIEFS AND PRINCIPLES.

 

Beliefs:            We believe that there should be a consistency of approach to Learning Support by all staff; that a variety of methodologies be used.  Success will be judged by the child achieving to the best of his/her ability.  We believe that the child, the teacher and the parents should have realistic expectation of success.  We believe that the child’s self-esteem should be enhanced and that learning should be fun and interesting for the child.

 

 

Principles:      The Learning Support programme is based on the following principles.

  • Effective whole-school policies and parental involvement.
  • Prevention of failure.
  • Provision of intensive early intervention
  • Direction of resources towards pupils in greatest need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        

 

 

 

 

AIMS.

 

The principal aim of Learning Support is to optimise the teaching and learning process in order to enable pupils with learning difficulties to achieve adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy before leaving primary school.

 

The following aims arise from the principal aim of Learning Support.

  • To enable these pupils to participate in the full curriculum for their class level;
  • To develop positive self-esteem and positive attitudes about school and learning in these pupils;
  • To enable these pupils to monitor their own learning an become independent learners;
  • To provide supplementary teaching and additional support and resources for these pupils in English and/or mathematics;
  • To involve parents in supporting their children’s learning through effective parent – support programmes;
  • To promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of whole school policies on learning support for these pupils;
  • To establish early intervention programmes and other programmes designed to enhance learning and to prevent/reduce difficulties in learning.

 

 

STAFF ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

 

Principal

 

The principal teacher has overall responsibility for the school’s Learning Support programme and for the operation of services for children with special educational needs.

  • The principal will assume overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the school’s policies on learning support and special needs.
  • Monitor the implementation of the school plan on learning support and special needs on an ongoing basis.
  • Monitor the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, ensuring that the service is focussed on the pupils with very low achievement.
  • Oversee the implementation of a whole school assessment and screening programme to identify pupils with very low achievement and/or learning difficulties so that these pupils can be provided with the support they need.
  • Help teachers to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of learning support teaching by for example, providing guidance and advice with regard to teaching methods and materials and by encouraging teachers to avail of relevant in-career development.
  • Ensure that class teachers are centrally involved in planning and directing the appropriate learning activities and implementing the other recommendations in the IPLP or IEP of each pupil in their classes who is in receipt of supplementary teaching.
  • Establish school policies and procedures which enable parents to become involved effectively in the provision of learning support.
  • Oversee the development of links between teachers and the providers of assessment and other services.
  • Attend an annual meeting in the base-school of all the principal teachers in the Learning Support cluster. The purpose of the meeting would be to review and revise, as necessary, cluster-wide policies.

Co-ordinator

The role of co-ordinating learning-support and special need services will be assigned to the Learning Support teacher.  This role will include

  • Maintaining a list of pupils who are receiving supplementary teaching and for special educational services.
  • Helping to co-ordinate the caseload of the learning support teacher and resource teacher.
  • Advising parents on procedures for availing of special needs services.
  • Liaising with external agencies such as psychological services to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs.
  • Arranging for classroom resources, as appropriate.
  • Supporting the implementation of a tracking system at whole-school level that will monitor the progress of children with learning difficulties.

 

 

Class teacher

The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in his/her class, including those selected for supplementary teaching.

 

The class teacher will:

  • Implement teaching programmes which optimise the learning of all pupils, and, to the greatest extent possible, prevent the emergence of learning difficulties.
  • Implement and record classroom support plans for pupils at stage one of the Staged Approach as outlined in Circular 02/05.  Stage 1 of this approach requires that the class teacher supports the pupil’s learning in the first instance.  This requires class teachers to construct simple, individual plans of support (a Classroom Support Plan as suggested in the NEPS Continuum of Support documents) and to implement this plan for a specified time (usually one term) before referring the child for Stage 2 intervention.
  • Implement the school policies on screening and selecting pupils for supplementary teaching in English and in maths by administering and scoring appropriate screening measures, and by discussing the outcomes with the Learning Support teacher in the context of each pupil’s general performance in class.
  • Review the outcomes of the assessment and discuss with the Learning Support teacher the type of joint intervention that would best meet the pupil’s needs.
  • Collaborate with Learning Support teacher in the development of an IPLP and classroom support plans for pupils as necessary by identifying appropriate learning targets and by organising classroom activities to achieve those targets.
  • Differentiate the class curriculum appropriately to meet the needs of all pupils within the class.
  • For each pupil who is receiving supplementary teaching, review the pupil’s progress towards the attainment of agreed learning targets.
  • Participate with the Learning Support teacher in a review of the progress of each pupil at the end of an instructional term.
  • Maintain regular contact with the parents of each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, keeping them informed of progress.  If supplementary teaching is being reduced or discontinued, indicate to the parents the particular arrangements in the mainstream classroom that will continue to support their child’s learning needs.

 

 

 

Learning Support Teacher

 

The activities of the Learning Support teacher include:

  • Assisting in the implementation of a broad range of whole-school strategies designed to enhance early learning and to prevent learning difficulties.
  • Developing an Individual Profile and Learning Programme or School Support Plan, in line with Stage 2 of the Staged Approach, for each pupil who is selected for supplementary teaching in consultation with class teachers and parents.
  • Maintain a fortnightly planning and progress record or equivalent, as well as daily notes and monthly reports for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of learning support.
  • Delivering intensive early intervention programmes and providing supplementary teaching in English and/or Maths to pupils in junior section of the school.
  • Co-ordinating the implementation of whole-school procedures for the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, in line with the selection criteria specified in the school plan and input from the pupils’ class teachers and parents.
  • Contributing to the development of policy on learning support at the whole school level and at cluster level.
  • Providing advice to class teachers in such areas as individual pupil assessments and programme planning, as well as approaches to language development, reading, writing, for pupils experiencing learning difficulties.
  • Contributing at the school level to decision-making regarding the purchase of learning resources, books and materials to be made available to pupils with learning difficulties in their mainstream classrooms.
  • Performing a defined role in co-ordinating the provision of special needs and learning support services, if requested to do so by the Principal.
  • Advise the principal on issues that arise in the day-to-day implementation of the learning-support programme in the school.
  • Maintain regular communication with the parents of children in receipt of supplementary teaching with regard to developing an IPLP, affirming progress, renaming attainment, and identify ways in which the pupils learning can continue to be supported at home and at school.
  • Contribute to the development and review of a policy document that specifically addresses how supplementary teaching can best be provided in a cluster of schools.
  • Attend meetings to address issues relating to provision of learning-support services in all schools in the cluster.
  • Consult with the staff of each school in the cluster at least once each year to discuss the development and progress of learning-support provision in the school and to discuss, in particular, the involvement of the class teachers in the provision.

 

 

Resource Teacher

 

  • Development of Individual Education Plan or School Support Plan Plus for each pupil at Stage 3 of the Staged Approach and/or who has been allocated resource hours in consultation with the class teacher and parents.
  • Maintain a fortnightly planning and progress record or equivalent, as well as daily notes and monthly reports for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of resource teaching.
  • Meet with parents of each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching to discuss targets and ways in which attaining these targets can be supported at home.
  • Meet with parents of each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching at the end of an instructional term, to review the pupil’s attainment of agreed targets and to revise the pupils IEP for the next term.
  • Providing advice to class teacher in such areas as drawing up classroom support plans, individual pupil assessment and programme planning, as well as approaches to language development, reading, writing and mathematics for pupils experiencing difficulties.
  • Liaising with outside agencies pertinent to the children in their care.

 

Parents

 

Parents can prepare for and support the work of the school by:

 

  • Providing a home environment in which there are opportunities for adults and children to participate together in language, literacy and mathematical activites in the early years before formal schooling begins;

 

  • Supporting the work of the school by participating with their child in such activities as-
  • Using information and Communications technology (ICT) where available, to support learning in English and/or Maths.
  • Book sharing/reading stories;
  • Storytelling
  • Paired reading (listening to and giving supportive feedback on oral reading)
  • Discussions about school and other activities to build vocabulary and thinking skills;
  • Writing lists and short accounts of children’s experiences;
  • Counting, measuring and other activities involving number;
  • Visits to zoos, museums, libraries etc to broaden the range of their children’s experiences;
  • Talking positively about school and school work;
  • Availing of real-life situations to discuss the importance of language, literacy and maths;
  • Modelling involvement in language, literacy and mathematical activities at home by engaging in and talking about these activities;
  • Where their child is in receipt of supplementary teaching, implementing suggested home-based activities outlined in their child’s Indivdual Educational Programme and discussing the outcomes with the child’s teacher.

 

INTERNAL  PROVISION.

 

Prevention Strategies

 

Our strategies for preventing learning difficulties are:

  • Agreed strategies throughout the school to all aspects of literacy e.g. Spelling, phonics, handwriting, grammar, listening skills.
  • Consistency of reading scheme to assess progression.
  • Consistent and continuous approach to oral language e.g, circle time, chatterbox (Edco).
  • Structured phonological awareness training programme.
  • Early identification of visual and auditory difficulties.
  • Implementation of a whole school parent involvement programme that focuses on developing children’s oral language skills, sharing books with children and developing their early mathematical skills.

Ongoing structured observation and assessment of the language, literacy and numeracy skills of pupils in the infant classes to facilitate early identification of possible learning difficulties.

 

 

Early Intervention Strategies

 

Implementation of intensive early intervention programme in the early primary classes as an effective response to meeting the needs of children with low achievement. These programmes will:

  • Be set within a specified time frame.
  • Be based on a shared expectation of success by everyone involved
  • Involve small group teaching or one- to-one teaching
  • Include a strong focus on oral language and laying the foundation for meaningful reading.
  • Emphasise phonemic awareness.
  • Engage the pupils in frequent supervised oral and silent reading of texts at appropriate levels of difficulty and monitor their comprehension.
  • Stress the interconnected nature of listening speaking, reading and writing.
  • In mathematics they focus on language development and the development of mathematical procedures and concepts.

 

 

Interventions provided:

 

  • MIST leading on to Forward Together Programme. This is carried out by the learning support teacher based in the school.
  • Language Experience Approach in Junior Classes.
  • Shared Reading.
  • In class support.

 

 

 

 

Types of Supplementary Teaching

 

Various types of supplementary teaching will be implemented, depending on the case involved, these may take the following forms:

  • Withdrawal from the class. This may be to work on a 1-1 basis or in very small groups.
  • In class provision.
  • Class teacher providing supplementary teaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSESSMENT & REPORTING

 

Standardised Assessment Tests used throughout the school:

 

  • Drumcondra Primary Reading Test.

Classes 1st to 6th in the Summer Term.

 

  • Drumcondra Primary Mathematics Test.

Classes 1st to 6th in the Summer Term.

 

  • Drumcondra Primary Spelling Test.

Classes 1st to 6th in the Summer Term.

 

  • Micra T Reading Attainment Test.

Classes 1st to 6th in November.

 

  • British Picture Vocabulary Scale.

Junior and Senior Infants. November

 

  • Middle Infants Screening Test.

Senior Infants. Spring term.

 

  • New Non Reading Intelligence Test.

2nd and 5th Classes in October.

 

 

 

 

 

Identification and selection of pupils for supplementary teaching.

 

Identification and selection of pupils will involve:

  • Administration, and interpretation of an appropriate standardised screening measure by the class teacher (or in case of very young pupils, appropriate checklist or profiles)
  • Selection of pupils for diagnostic assessment by the learning support teacher, in consultation with the class teacher.
  • Administration of diagnostic test by the learning support teacher to each selected pupil (subject to approval by the pupil’s parents) to identify the pupils learning strengths and needs.
  • Determination of the nature of the intervention to be provided to the pupil, such as additional support from the class teacher and/or supplementary teaching from the learning support teacher.
  • Identification of learning targets and the development of IPLPs for each pupil to whom supplementary teaching is to be provided, in consultation with the pupil’s class teacher and parents.
  • The maximum number of pupils in the cluster is approx 30 pupils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order of children to receive learning support based on assessment.

 

  • Children performing below the 10th percentile in standardised test of achievement in English.
  • Senior infants/first class-early intervention programmes for low achievers in English based on class teacher’s observations and recommendations and results of British Picture Vocabulary Scale (Junior Infants) and MIST (Senior Infants)
  • Children performing below 10th percentile in standardised test of achievement in mathematics.
  • Senior infants/first class- early intervention programmes for low achievers in mathematics based on class teacher’s observations and recommendations.
  • Pupils performing below the 20th percentile in standardised test of achievement in English.
  • Pupils performing below the 20th percentile in standardised test of achievement in maths.
  • Children above the 25th percentile are not normally entitled to learning support.
  • Arrangements for providing supplementary teaching to pupils in the senior section who experience very low achievement
  • The duration of supplementary teaching should not exceed two to three years
  • Children who have an assessment from an outside agency which recommends learning support will be accommodated in the case load where deemed appropriate.

 

Continuing and Discontinuing Supplementary Teaching

 

 

The progress of each pupil in receipt of supplementary teaching will be evaluated at the end of each instructional term. Following consultation with the class teacher and parents, a decision will be taken about the level of support that can be provided by the learning support in the future. Depending on the pupil’s needs, this may range from infrequent to intensive supplementary teaching. A decision to continue to provide supplementary teaching to a pupil should result in a revision of the pupils Individual Profile and Learning Programme to reflect any changes in emphasis that result from the review of progress.

 

 

 

 

Monitoring Progress   

 

  • Ongoing structured observation and assessment of the language, literacy and numeracy skills of pupils in the infant classes to facilitate early identification of possible learning difficulties by class teacher.
  • Formative testing and observation of work by class teacher.
  • Implement the school policies on screening and selecting pupils for supplementary teaching in English and in mathematics by administering and scoring appropriate screening measures-( Micra-T/ Drumcondra reading test /Profiles and rating scales) each year in May.
  • Standardised and diagnostic testing by learning support teacher.
  • Record keeping-children have a file where records, test results and assessments are kept in a secure filing cabinet.

 

 

 

In-staff Consultation

 

A staff meeting in June will decide on what children will receive support in the next school year. This meeting will include organisation of each Learning Support teacher’s caseload and subject. Following this in September, there will be a meeting between the class teacher and the Learning Support teachers to finalise the details of the content for each individual child’s programme. This will be reviewed as necessary throughout the year with formal meetings between staff again in January to review progress and adapt the programme as necessary.

 

 

LIAISING WITH PARENTS.

 

Effective communication with parents is critically important to the success of a learning support programme. Activities that may be organised to increase the involvement of parents in supporting their children’s learning, particularly parents in the learning support programme:

  • The purpose and procedures of the school’s learning support team.
  • Paired/shared reading
  • Developing children’s oral language through discussion
  • Motivating children to read more
  • Creating a home environment where literacy can thrive
  • Selecting books that interest children
  • Developing children’s reasoning and problem solving skills
  • Counting, measuring and other activities involving number.

 

There will be a formal meeting between the class teacher and the parents of children who will be withdrawn from class for individual tuition before that tuition first begins. Parents will sign their approval that their child may be withdrawn. The learning Support teacher will then meet the parents approx 4 weeks after tuition has begun to inform them of what programme is being implemented and how they can assist at home.

 

 

 

LINKS WITH OUTSIDE AGENTS.

 

 

  • Liaising with external agencies such as psychologist to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs.
  • Accessing resources for special needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   MONITORING & REVIEW OF POLICY.

 

 

Review/Ratification

 

This policy was adopted by B.O.M on ___________ it will be reviewed regularly and amended if necessary.

 

 

Signed _______________________

(Chairperson)

 

Review _______________________

 

Review _______________________

 

Review_______________________

 

Review _______________________

 

Review _______________________

 

Review_______________________