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You are here Parents School Policy on Special Needs Education

As agreed by all the staff after due consideration, we have deemed the term “special needs” to mean what a child needs beyond what can be provided by the class teacher, and the Support Teacher, in order to succeed in accessing the full curriculum. The school will target as many children as possible, specific learning needs are to be met where possible, and SNAs will be provided where appropriate. There will be on-going open communication at all times with parents. Where possible, other children who need extra help are targeted. Resources are to be made available to all who are involved in support teaching in the school. We recognise that the needs of our community have changed and that higher expectations are part of the thinking of all the partners in the education process. Our policy for special needs has been a collaborative one between staff, B.O.M and parents. It will cater for both the needs of all children enrolled in our school, and the needs of the teaching staff

Concerns of staff

• Physical structure of school needs to be looked at
• Toilets are small, hard to access
• Wheelchair access needs to be in place at all doors
• We need one toilet at least to be adapted for special needs
• The staff is concerned about not meeting special needs of certain students, but still being in the position of trying to deal with such students in their classroom. This would seem to be unfair to the teacher and the other children.

Enrolment and Initial Assessment

Parents are required to notify the school of their child’s special needs in advance of enrolment. Such children will be assessed before enrolment where possible. The BOM may request child’s medical and /or psychological reports.

If these reports and resources are not being provided for in the time frame necessary, the BOM may defer enrolment. A team of people may be put together to assess needs of such children before they come to school, and upon arrival. Upon enrolment, parents will be informed that there will be a review over a period of time. The school may make recommendations to parents after such a review. If such a recommendation involves moving the child to another educational facility, parents have the right to agree to such a proposal, or not to accept it.

Documents will need to be signed by parents in this respect. The class teacher has the ultimate responsibility for such children, to ensure their needs are met. He /she will be supported by the principal and the BOM.
Teachers involved would need extra training /advice where possible to be provided by the BOM
An Individual Education Plan (I.E.P) has to be in place for a special needs child, so that the process of getting help can be initiated.

Assessment of pupils previously enrolled will be undertaken as outlined in the document ‘Casework Within a Consultative Process’
Provision of teaching and learning - as outlined in the document ‘Casework Within a Consultative Process’

Other decisions made:

IEP will be implemented by a combination of withdrawal, and in class support. The continuity of support teaching will be ensured by teacher collaboration. Class teacher and support teachers will take responsibility for assessments to monitor progress. Vision, hearing problem assessed by South Eastern Health Board. Also referral by principal to S.E.H.B, letters written to parents recommending speech therapy.

Duties and Role of the Special Needs Assistant
Their duties are assigned by the principal teacher in accordance with Circular 10/76: Duties and responsibilities of Principal Teachers and sanctioned by the Board of Management. Their work will be supervised by the class teacher.

Those duties involve tasks of a non-teaching nature such as:
1. Preparation and tidying up of classroom(s) in which the pupil(s) with special needs is/are being taught.
2. Assisting children to board and alight from school buses. Where necessary travel as escort on school buses may be required.
3. Special assistance as necessary for pupils with particular difficulties e.g. helping physically disabled pupils with typing or writing.
4. Assistance with clothing, feeding, toileting and general hygiene.
5. Assisting on out-of-school visits, walks and similar activities.
6. Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils with special needs during assembly, recreational and dispersal periods.
7. Accompanying individuals or small groups who may have to be withdrawn temporarily from the classroom.
8. General assistance to the class teachers, under the direction of the principal, with duties of a non-teaching nature. (special needs assistants may not act either as substitute or temporary teachers. In no circumstances may they be left in sole charge of a class).
9. Where a special needs assistant has been appointed to assist a school in catering for a specific pupil, duties should be modified to support the particular needs of the pupil concernedSchool has decided if one absent, other SNAs to provide cover where possible.

If absence is for more than a brief period the BOM is responsible for finding a suitable SNA replacement and for payment of same. Person should know the student if possible.

Support from outside professionals as appropriate, but as of yet, the school is not covered by NEPS.
It will be up to the principal to decide whether or not there will be an exemption from Irish, once a psychologist has recommended it, or if a child is from another country. The department will then be notified of this decision.

The child’s engagement in learning in his/her own classroom will be positive. Homework will only be from one teacher, to be decided after collaboration.

Record Keeping

Psychological reports will be filed in the principal’s office. These reports will be signed by all people who have access to such reports once read. If parents want a copy, they must pay for one (nominal charge for photocopying), or can come read the report in school. The psychologist and principal have the responsibility for writing and storing of reports. IEPs stored in support room, copy available to class teacher. Assess to these records by teachers, and parents who request to see them. Appointment must be made first with principal. These records to be kept indefinitely. If another school requests records, with permission of parents, they can be posted to such school. The school has registered with the Data Commissioner. Records not assessable to anyone else. Information about children stored on computer.
School needs software to limit access to files, as saved on server.

Communication

Ongoing communication between the principal, parents, BOM and all relevant teachers regarding special needs child at all times. Parents of such child visit the school regularly- formal meetings arranged by writing. Types of meeting include parent/teacher meetings meeting with a psychologist after assessment etc.
Such meetings will take place twice a year, and also two regular parent teacher meetings. Thus four meetings will take place over the year, and informal ones as they arise. The principal will record the content of such meetings.

Resources

All learning support materials are to be documented. These materials are not to go out on loan to classrooms. Materials to be shared between the support teachers. New equipment will be obtained as needs are identified by relevant teachers. Procedures for appointing as outlined by the Department of Education and Science. Provision for appropriate physical accommodation is applied for through the B.O.M, who in turn apply to the department of education.

Training

Funds will be made available for specialised training for support teachers when possible.
Such training needs to be available within a reasonable distance.

School Organisation

Administration of medicines to special needs pupils as outlined on school plan.
Fire drills will take place regularly.
There will be one code of behaviour for all children.
Allocation of classes for special children as outlined on school plan.
Support systems that exist for teachers, parents, children and others, need to be reviewed on a yearly basis.
Teachers to be regularly given a choice of class.
Class size to be reviewed every year.

Success Criteria

We will measure success by how these students integrate into class and school, and how they progress on their I.E.P.s.
Also social skills will be a measure of success, (i.e. friendships with other children etc.)
Success will be assessed by feedback from staff, parents and pupils.

Implementation, Ratification, Communication & Review

It was ratified by the Board of Management on 21/01/04. It was communicated to parents through the School Booklet for Parents and Pupils. The principal will co-ordinate the progress and monitoring of policy. Policy will be reviewed before taking another special needs child in. The whole staff will initiate, and be involved in the review.