Senior School Special Needs Policy

St. Conleth’s College Senior School

Special Needs Policy

Mission Statement

St. Conleth’s is imbued with the robust Christian values of its patron and its founding family. Religious instruction follows the prescribed Catholic programme under the guidance of an education co-ordinator and the school chaplain but the Christian ethos of the school is also seen and felt in everything we do. This ethos is reflected in a pastoral care that provides the needs of young people at each stage of their development and promotes a sense of care and responsibility to one another and the wider community, both locally and in the developing world. The majority of our students come from Catholic backgrounds, but those of different denominations and faiths have found their experience at St. Conleth’s to be both spiritually and culturally welcoming. St. Conleth’s seeks to provide a fully rounded Catholic education for all of its students by:

  • creating a happy, healthy and safe environment in which all students may develop their own personal gifts and interests, be valued for who they are, and experience true equality with their fellow students
  • celebrating and deepening our Catholic faith through prayer, liturgy, religion classes, and the general fostering of Christian values
  • providing a disciplined environment in which teaching and learning can take place in a spirit of co-operation
  • promoting academic excellence and habits of perseverance in students
  • equipping students with the necessary moral, social and cultural qualities useful for adult life, and offering them guidance regarding their future role and career in society
  • fostering dignity in the workplace and encouraging respect among and between teachers, staff and students
  • ensuring that students and staff of other churches and faiths are respected and encouraged in their beliefs and religious practices
  • respecting students and staff who follow other beliefs and philosophies, and with whom we share common values of equality, peace, justice, dialogue and concern for the less fortunate members of society
  • creating a sense of belonging to our local Parish, and also to the wider community around us and in countries of the developing world, and encouraging our students’ involvement in social and religious activities

S.E.N. Department Mission Statement

St. Conleth’s is committed to providing a fully rounded Catholic education for all its pupils and, in line with its Mission Statement encourages all pupils to reach his/her potential. In order to achieve this goal St. Conleth’s recognises that some students may have special educational needs and where practicable strives to provide for them within the classroom setting. The Department of Education and Skills recognises that the central role of the class teacher in identifying and planning for the needs of all pupils is essential to the effective inclusion of pupils with Special Educational Needs. In all cases, St. Conleth’s strives to integrate students socially and academically, and encourages participation in all school subjects and activities both in and outside the classroom.

Introduction of the New Allocation Model

September 2017 saw the introduction of the New Allocation Model with regard to Special Education Teaching. This new model provides the autonomy for schools to manage and deploy special education teaching support within their school, based on the individual learning needs of the students, as opposed to being based primarily on a diagnosis of disability. Students under the new allocation model are now identified by the school for additional teaching support in accordance with the Continuum of Support Guidelines.

In identifying Students for support, the School takes into account the following:

  • Pupils who were previously in receipt of supplementary teaching from a resource or learning support teacher and who continue to experience significant learning difficulties.
  • Pupils who are identified as having significant needs through a process of ongoing assessment and intervention as set out in the Continuum of Support Process (DES, 2010). This will be evidenced through school-based assessment of attainment, and behavioural, social and emotional functioning and ongoing monitoring of learning outcomes. The school also takes into account needs set out in professional reports, where available.
  • Pupils with mild or transient educational needs including those associated with speech and language difficulties, social or emotional problems, or co-ordination or attention control difficulties. Pupils who have specific learning disabilities.
  • Pupils with significant learning, behavioural, emotional, physical and sensory needs. These pupils need additional teaching support because they require highly individualised and differentiated learning programmes that are tailored to their needs.
  • The schools also carefully considers the needs of other pupils who may present with a range of learning whose interaction may present a significant barrier to the pupils’ learning and ability to access the curriculum.
  • Pupils who have additional literacy or language learning needs including those pupils who need additional English Additional language Support.

The Role of the Classroom Teacher

Section 22 (1) of the Education Act 1998 states the primacy of the teacher in the education and personal development of pupils in schools. The classroom teacher has primary responsibility for the progress and care of all pupils in his/her classroom, including pupils with special educational needs. It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to ensure that each pupil is taught in a stimulating and supportive classroom environment where all pupils feel equal and valued. The classroom teacher also has a central role in identifying and responding to pupils with additional needs including differentiating the curriculum as appropriate. These responses will be informed and assisted by collaboration with colleagues, parents/guardians and others such as the school’s NEPS psychologist and the local Special Educational Needs Organiser. The classroom teacher will also make specific accommodations for a pupil within the class as a result of concerns about a pupil’s progress, application, communication, behaviour or interaction with peers and the development of a programme of differentiated instruction for that pupil.

Learning Support

A small number of pupils have Special Educational Needs that require support from other teachers within the school community in addition to the support provided by their class teacher. In such circumstances, the classroom teacher will be supported by Special Educational Needs Teachers, who have access to additional training in the area of special education, and who work closely with the class teacher to provide additional teaching support for children with special educational needs.

The classroom teacher, in consultation with the Special Education Teacher as required, will consider ways in which the curriculum can be differentiated or adapted to suit the needs of individual pupils. This may also involve identifying the most appropriate teaching strategies and programmes to meet the child’s needs and deciding  which additional teaching supports  are required. Parents are consulted as part of this process.

Type of Teaching provided

Additional Teaching support can be provided in a variety of ways. The special education teacher might work in the classroom with the class teacher or withdraw pupils in small groups and/or individually for a period of time (depending upon the nature of pupils needs) for intensive teaching of key skills. The range of teaching supports currently includes small group teaching and, where necessary, individualised teaching to address specific learning needs. It is envisaged that, with CPD, team-teaching should be introduced as another form of teaching support.Individualised learning needs can be addressed in a variety of ways and should not be solely equated with withdrawal from class for one-to-one or group tuition, or be seen as “grind classes”.  The provision of support for small groups of pupils, or use of in class support teaching for a number of pupils, as opposed to primarily one to one teaching, also means that qualifying pupils will often be able to receive more support than they otherwise would have done.

Special Needs Team

The Special Needs Team in St. Conleth’s Senior School is comprised of the:

  • Special Educational Needs Coordinator
  • Deputy Principal
  • Learning Support Teachers
  • Special Needs Assistant

The team meets on a weekly basis to discuss the progress of each pupil with Special Needs and works in conjunction with the pupil and his/her parents to offer whatever support possible.

Admission of Pupils with Special Educational Needs

The ethos of the Senior School encourages all pupils to reach their potential and to participate in all school subjects and activities.  Pupils with Special Needs are welcome in St. Conleth’s. The school promotes an inclusive ethos whereby the needs of the majority of the pupils within a mainstream class can be met by differentiating teaching approaches for that class. Where applicants with Special Needs are eligible to attend St. Conleth’s the School Management will request an up to date copy of the applicant’s medical/psychological report. While fully supportive of parents’ rights to have the school of their choice for their children the school’s ability to accept pupils with additional needs is dependent on the resources available.

New Pupils

From information received by the school on the Entrance Form, a list of incoming pupils with additional educational needs is drawn up. A copy of the school’s Special Needs Policy is available on the school website. Parents are also informed of the name of the  S.E.N. Coordinator and are asked to send her a short list of how their child’s special needs present  and how they might impact on her/him in school, as well as a copy of any  Psycho/Educational Report. The S.E.N. Coordinator will organise to meet parents with the pupil’s class teacher as soon as is practicable.

The purpose of the meeting will be an opportunity:

  • For parents:
    • To pass on as much information as possible about their child
    • To go through any Reports on their child, which will be kept on file by the school
    • To express their expectations of St Conleth’s for their child.

 

  • For the S.E.N. Coordinator and the Form Teacher:
    • To offer their support in any way they can.
    • To explain to parents how they will pass on all necessary information to the staff of St. Conleth’s.
    • To clarify the School’s Policy of inclusion, encouragement and participation for all pupils.
    • For 6th Form pupils transferring to St.Conleth’s Secondary School, a meeting will be arranged to meet with the Secondary School’s Special Needs Coordinator to ensure a smooth transition for the student.

Exemption from a subject.

It is important that parents are aware that even if a Psychologist’s Report recommends  an exemption from a subject this can only be granted by the Principal in conjunction with the Department of Education and Skills.

Review and Evaluation

The S.E.N. Department meets twice yearly to review their progress, before Christmas and Easter. A third review is held at the end of the school year. At this stage, a Self-Reflective Questionnaire “ Better outcomes for Students with Special Educational Needs “, is used by the whole staff to examine their existing practices and to identify any changes needed to evaluate their progress in implementing the allocation model.

S.E.N. Coordinator: Caroline Killen

Email:killenc@stconleths.ie
Reviewed January 2019