Special Education Needs Policy


Mission Statement

Scoil Iosaif Naofa promotes Gospel values in a Christian learning community, where children can grow in knowledge and understanding and in the acquisition of skills, attitudes and values.

We are fully committed to offering excellence in education by promoting the highest possible achievement for our pupils. The school embraces the ideal of inclusion and welcomes children with Special Needs and children who require additional support. We believe that children should be educated in their own community where the can establish mutual respect and friendships with their peers and community. We strive to meet the educational and social needs of the children enrolled in St. Joseph’s N.S.

Parents with their unique knowledge of their own child have much to contribute to their child’s learning programmes. They collaborate and share relevant information with teachers.

Introductory Statement


Our Special Educational Needs (SEN) policy was coordinated by the support team, in consultation with our NEPS psychologist, Mr. Tony Greally,SENO and mainstream staff. The policy has been reviewed and amended in accordance with Circular No 0013/2017. It was ratified by the Board of Management and placed on the Staff/ BOM website 25/09/2017




The purpose of this policy is to:

  • provide practical guidance to staff, parents and other interested parties about our SEN procedures and practices.
  • outline the framework for addressing additional needs in our school.
  • comply with legislation; Education Act 1998, the Equal Status Act 2000.
  • fulfil DES Circular 0013/17- Circular to the Management Authorities of all Mainstream Primary Schools; Special Education Teaching Allocation and the New Guidelines for Primary Schools; Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream schools.

Aims & Objectives


The principal aim of Special Educational Needs Support is to optimise the teaching and learning process. We aim to:


  1. Support children in achieving adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy during their years at primary school.
  2. Develop positive self-esteem.
  3. Develop a positive attitude about school and learning.
  4. Provide additional teaching support and resources for pupils in areas such as English, Maths, oral language, social interaction, behaviour, emotional development, motor skills and application to learning.
  5. Involve parents – (through effective parent-teacher liaison) in taking an active role in the child’s education.
  6. Promote collaboration among teachers in implementation of a whole school policy on SEN support.
  7. Establish early intervention programmes for the diagnosis of learning difficulties.
  8. Support pupils with low achievement and or learning difficulties through a team approach that involves the pupils themselves, their teachers, parents and relevant personnel.
  9. To provide learning support programmes for children who are at or below the 10th percentile on nationally standardised tests in English Reading for 3rd – 6th class children, and for early intervention at/below the 25th percentile for senior infants to 2nd class children with added emphasis on 1st Class following the screening programme in September of 1st Class
  10. To develop and implement an individual learning programme for pupils in receipt of SEN support based on assessment of needs and a specification of learning targets for the pupil.


Beliefs and Principles


It is our belief that each child is unique and that each child brings a unique set of characteristics both strengths and weaknesses to any learning situation.


It is our belief that praise should be public and “problem solving” should be private.


As teachers we should not be drawn into a battle zone with a child, keep to the learning zone.


It is our belief that if a child is experiencing a high level of failure in any area that we will strive to build success by setting easier (achievable) targets, by teaching one skill at a time i.e. Tiny Achievable Tickable Targets.


It is our belief that all children should feel secure within the parameters of their classroom, knowing precisely what is expected of them academically and behaviourally.


It is our belief that we must work with other professionals and that it is vital to involve and inform the parents – they deserve our support and understanding.


It is our belief that every child is a gift, every child has a gift and we must always see the whole child as a person.  The child is much more than his/.her learning difficulty or behavioural problem.


We will look beyond his linguistic and mathematical intelligence and remember that each child has (as Howard Gardner described in his Theory of Multiple Intelligence) at least 3 or more of the following:


  1. Factual Intelligence
  2. Analytical Intelligence
  3. Numerate Intelligence
  4. Linguistic Intelligence
  5. Spatial Intelligence (Artists, Entrepreneurs, Systems Analysts).
  6. Athletic intelligence
  7. Intuitive Intelligence (Aptitude for sensing and seeing that which is not always obvious)
  8. Emotional Intelligence – self-awareness, self-control, persistence, zeal.
  9. Practical intelligence
  10. Interpersonal intelligence (Social and leadership skills)
  11. Musical Intelligence


To develop and encourage literacy, numeracy and social engagement in all pupils including the children with special needs and learning difficulties the school promotes:

  • A print rich environment
  • The use of class novels
  • Consistent Mathematical language in the classroom
  • Consistent approach to spelling – look – cover – write – check
  • Shared reading between programme is explained and encouraged for parents and children
  • Shared reading between senior and junior classes
  • An annual book-fair / catalogue
  • School / class library with a range of age and ability appropriate books
  • Silent reading session in the classroom
  • Self awareness and self-esteem programme (Walk Tall)
  • A variety of teaching methodologies – with an emphasis on simple instructions combined with teacher awareness of individual language processing difficulties that children in their classes may experience.
  • Use of ICT to support Literacy and numeracy
  • Formal teaching of playground games and activities to promote and encourage the inclusion of children with social difficulties.

1.0     Staff Roles and Responsibilities


The role of SEN teaching for pupils with special education needs is a collaborative responsibility shared by all.  This includes the Board of Management (BOM), Principal, SEN teachers, Class Teachers and Parents.  It is important that everyone contributes in the planning and implementation of our school plan on SEN.


1.1       Board of Management


The Board of Management shall

– Oversee the development, implementation and review of the provision of SEN support in our school.

Ensure adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided for the staff working in Special Education Needs.

Provide secure facility for storage of data relating to pupils in receipt of Special Education Needs support.


1.2       The Principal Teacher


The Learning Support Guidelines (2000, p39) outlined that the principal has overall responsibility for SEN procedures and practices in the school. The new allocation model states that the principal’s leadership role is central and includes the following;

The school principal;


  1. Shall implement and monitor the schools Additional Needs policy on an ongoing basis.
  2. Assign staff strategically to teaching roles, including Special Education Teacher(SET) roles.
  3. Ensure that whole-school procedures are established to facilitate the effective involvement of parents, pupils and external professionals/agencies.
  4. Ensure that effective systems are implemented to identify pupils’ needs and that progress is monitored methodically.
  5. 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.
  6. Communicate with the SENO (Special Education Needs Organiser)
  7. Oversee a whole school assessment and screening programme
  8. Shall facilitate communication between class teachers, SET and parents of pupils in receipt of SEN support.
  9. Shall oversee the planning by teachers of support plans for pupils receiving SEN support.
  10. Shall encourage professional development of class teachers so that they are better equipped to identify characteristics and effects of general and specific learning difficulties/disabilities, and that class teachers are aware of the support services available.


1.3       Role of SEN Co-Ordinator (SENCO).

The Principal has particular responsibility for the organisation of pupils in receipt of support in the school. He, in conjunction with the SEN Team ensures that files and documentation in relation to these pupils are maintained efficiently. Together with the Deputy Principal, SEN Teachers and NEPS Psychologist (Mr. Tony Greally) they coordinate the selection of children for assessment each year. (Stage III) He, in conjunction with the SEN Team maintains files, correspondence and data in relation to the children in receipt of support.  These files are kept  in the main office adjacent to the Principal’s Office.



Mr. Gallagher and SEN staff ensure the following requirements are met.

SEN co-ordinator (SENCO) should:

  1. communicate with the principal in relation to SEN matters on an ongoing basis
  2. liaise with external agencies about the provision for pupils with additional needs
  3. liaise with the NEPS psychologist, the SET team and class teachers to prioritise children for psychological assessments (NEPS)
  4. liaise with SEN teachers to identify, support and monitor children with additional needs.
  5. coordinate regular SET team planning meetings to ensure effective communication and support for children with additional needs
  6. collaborate with the SET team in creating timetables for additional support
  7. meet with parents regarding any concerns about their child, advise parents on procedures for availing of special needs services and update them regarding their progress
  8. co-ordinate the whole-school standardised testing at each class level
  9. co-ordinate the screening of pupils for additional support, using the results of standardised tests
  10. select children for external diagnostic assessment, where parental permission has been sought and granted
  11. oversee the tracking system of test results and support plans on password-protected Aladdin software to monitor the progress of pupils
  12. maintain lists of pupils who are receiving additional support
  13. arrange with Board of Management/Department of Education to provide comfortable accommodation and to research and purchase appropriate resources – books, software and equipment.



1.4       Role of SEN teacher


SEN teachers will be assigned from the SET team to each class level or stage depending on staffing numbers.The main focus of the SEN teacher’s work is to provide additional support to pupils in his/her own classroom or in a support room. Each teacher in SEN role shall have an element of Team Teaching incorporated into their planning. Teachers go into classes to support the Class teacher and children requiring help.

They 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
  • support the class teacher in the writing of Classroom Support plans
  • collaboratively develop School Support/ School Support Plus Plans for each pupil selected for school support teaching with class teachers and other staff
  • regularly meet with class teachers to discuss the needs of the pupils in their class and maintain a record of these meetings and decisions made
  • meet with class teachers, parents/guardians and other staff members to identify priority learning goals for each pupil in receipt of School Support
  • regularly meet with class teachers, relevant staff to review support plans
  • meet twice a year with class teachers, relevant staff and parents to review support plans
  • update and maintain planning and progress records for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of school support
  • provide supplementary teaching for literacy and numeracy on a withdrawal and in-class support basis
  • support whole-school procedures for screening
  • administer and interpret diagnostic tests and inform class teachers and parents of the outcomes
  • coordinate class groups and offer advice and support to class teachers regarding pupils on their caseload
  • discuss the needs and progress of children on their caseload at planning meetings
  • provide necessary information to a SEN pupils receiving school once a transfer letter has been received




1.5 Role of 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, prevent the emergence of learning difficulties
  • 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 SEN teachers to assist 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 Pupil Support File once additional needs have been identified and require classroom support
  • develop classroom support plans for children in receipt of Classroom Support
  • collaborate with staff to develop Individual Profile and Learning Programmes(IPLP) or Group Profile and Learning Programmes (GPLP) for each pupil in receipt of School Support
  • meet with Special Education Teachers, parents/guardians and other staff members to identify priority learning goals for each pupil in receipt of School Support Plus and who require an Individual Education Plan
  • collaborate with Special Education Teachers and relevant staff to develop a School Support Plus Plan for each pupil in receipt of School Support Plus
  • regularly meet with Special Education Teachers, relevant staff to review said plans
  • where applicable, collaborate with the SET team regarding teaching aims and activities for team teaching
  • 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
  • co-ordinate 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 their SENCO,SENO, NEPS as required


1.6 Role of 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. (Circular 10/76).

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
  • maintain a record of support provided to their SEN pupils.
  • accompany SEN pupil to supplementary lessons when appropriate


2.0     Selection Criteria


Continuum of Support

We use the Continuum of Support Framework set out by the Department of Education to identify and support children with additional needs. Like this framework, we recognise that special educational needs occur along a continuum, ranging from mild to severe, and from transient to long-term and that pupils require different levels of support depending on their identified additional needs. By using this framework, it helps us implement a staged approach to ensure that our support and interventions are incremental, moving from class-based interventions to more intensive and individualised support, and are informed by careful monitoring of progress.


The Continuum of Support is a problem-solving model of assessment and intervention that enables us to gather and analyse data, as well as to plan and review the progress of individual 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.

The Continuum of Support suggests the following levels of 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 class teacher, SEN 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.



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.



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 a starting point for problem-solving at this level. Classroom support and school support will continue to be an important element of his/her individual education plan.



The following selection criteria encompass all current guidelines and general good practice for selecting pupils that may require additional support.  The SENCO will monitor the children in the school closely using these criteria and recommend children for further support in conjunction with the class teacher.

  1. Pupils scoring at/below the 25th percentile on standardised assessments in literacy up to 2nd class (with particular emphasis on 1st Class following September screening assessments)
  2. Pupils scoring at/below 10th percentile on standardised assessments in literacy from 3rd – 6th
  3. Early intervention in Literacy (Infants to 2nd class) who continue to experience difficulty despite Classroom Support interventions by teacher.
  4. Pupils scoring at/below 10th percentile in standardised assessments in Mathematics.
  5. Early intervention in mathematics (infants to 2nd class) pupils who experience difficulty, despite stage one intervention by the teacher.
  6. Pupils scoring above the 12th percentile on standardised assessments in literacy, who continue to experience difficulty, despite stage one interventions by the class teacher under the staged approach.
  7. Pupils scoring above the 12th percentile on standardised assessments in Mathematics who continue to experience difficulty, despite Stage one interventions by the class teacher under the Staged Approach.
  8. Pupils experiencing difficulties in oral language, social interaction, behaviour, emotional development, motor skills or application to learning.


2.1         Information Gathering and Assessment


Assessment is part of what a class teacher does on a daily basis for all children. Some methods include self-assessment, questioning, teacher observation, portfolios of work and teacher-designed tasks and tests. The information gathered enables the teacher to plan learning experiences based on the appropriate objectives from the curriculum.


In order to identify pupils who may require supplementary teaching, screening; including standardised testing, is carried out in all classes annually and further diagnostic testing may need to take place. The information gathered from these formal assessments is then used to inform decisions for support and pupil’s support plans (CSP, IPLP/GPLP and IEP)


Tests available for use

  • No Glamour Listening Comprehension pre-test carried out in the 1st Term of Jnr. Infants.
  • I.A.P. carried out in the last term of Junior Infants.
  • Middle infants Screening Test (MIST) carried out in January/February of Senior infants.
  • Jolly Phonics Screener carried out in May of senior infants.
  • Micra T Test in September of 1st Class.
  • Sigma T Test in September of 1st
  • NRIT Level 1 in September of 1st Class
  • Drumcondra Primary Reading Test. 1st to 6th Class in May
  • Drumcondra Primary Maths Test. 1st to 6th Class in May
  • SCHONELL Spelling Test
  • SCHONELL Reading Test
  • Neale Analysis – Reading Test
  • Jackson Tests 3-11
  • GL Assessment Online Dyslexia Screener


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.


2.2             Procedure followed when a child has been selected for SEN Support


  • Once pupils needs have been identified, Special Education Teachers (SETs) are deployed to address 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.
  • A diagnostic assessment may be conducted where necessary. The SEN teacher discusses the outcome of the assessment with the class teacher.  Consideration is given to the type of intervention that best meets the pupil’s needs and agreement is reached on the learning targets in the pupils support plan. 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, heterogeneous grouping, 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.
  • At the end of each term the SEN teachers (SENT) meet class teachers and parents and review children’s needs, the resources in place and progress made using the Continuum of Support problem-solving model of assessment and stage approach flow charts. The SENTs then bring this information to the end of term SET team planning meetings. As a SET team, we review all support and allocate resources for the subsequent term. We 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.


3.0     Prevention Strategies and Early intervention


3.1       Our strategies for preventing learning difficulties include:


  • Development of agreed approaches to language development and to the teaching of English and maths in order to ensure progression and continuity from class to class.
  • Encouraging Parental involvement, focusing on developing children’s oral language skills together with shared books with children.
  • Provision of additional support in language development and relevant early literacy skills to pupils who need it.
  • 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 the class teacher.
  • Close collaboration and consultation between the Infant Teacher and the SET team.
  • Promotion of literacy e.g. Print-rich environment, DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), Whole school approach to Genre writing.
  • Promotion of Numeracy e.g. Hands-on approach.
  • Differentiation – adapting the learning environment.
  • In-class support from the SET team.
  • Team Teaching/Aistear.
  • Withdrawing individuals/groups.



3.2       Early Intervention Programmes


Early intervention is a vital component of the SEN support provision in this school.  Early intervention programmes may be provided by the class teacher and/or SEN teacher, in accordance with the staged approach outlined in circular 12/05.  Close collaboration between the class teacher and the SEN teacher will identify pupils who may be in need of early intervention.

Teacher observation and professional opinion will be given due consideration in the selection of pupils for early intervention programmes.

Intensive early intervention programmes in the early primary classes can be an effective response to meeting the needs of children with low achievement.


  • In the first term of Junior Infants the No Glamour Comprehension Test is administered. Parents are notified of the results where deemed necessary and a programme of work given to parents to follow at home. SEN team may be involved at this stage. Test repeated later in the year with some or all pupils.
  • In the final term of Junior Infants the B.I.A.P. is administered. This assessment provides teachers with a comprehensive overview of a child’s level of performance and helps identify children at risk of learning difficulties in a number of areas including motor skills and language.
  • The Middle Infant Screening Test (MIST) is administered in the second term of senior infants by the Learning Support teacher. Class teachers monitor progress of any child highlighted in this test for the rest of the 2nd term targeting areas of need and then SEN Support is provided if required.
  • In September of 1st Class a comprehensive screening assessment is undertaken comprising Micra T, Sigma T and NRIT. Children are selected for SEN Support based on the results of this screening and in consultation with the class teachers and Principal.
  • There is an ongoing structured observation and assessment of the language, literacy and numeracy skills of pupils in the infant classes through Aistear/Team teaching to facilitate early identification of possible learning difficulties.


4.0     Tracking, recording and reviewing progress.


Provision for pupils with special educational needs is enhanced through 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 an integrated and collaborative problem-solving process.


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 drive. 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 (See below)


A class teacher or class coordinator 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 password-protected Aladdin software in Support File and a paper copy is stored in the class teacher’s assessment folder and SEN filing cabinet. At the end of the year, a copy of the information gathered is moved to the Child’s SEN file in the central filing cabinet.


If, after a number of reviews,  the child’s case is moved to School Support , this information is then documented and transferred to the child’s SEN file in the SENCO’s room. It is the responsibility of the class teacher and the allocated SET to access and update the information in the Student Support File. The same system is in place for children on School Support Plus.


Support Plans

We use three different support plans for the three stages of support on the Continuum of Support.


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 the SEN Teacher 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. This could be at the end of a school term.


Stage 2 – School Support

A Support Plan at stage 2 can be for a Group or Individual Support. This plan is drawn up by the class teacher and appointed SET teacher. It 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 should, 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.


Stage 3 – School Support Plus

A Support Plan at stage 3 is an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This plan is drawn up by the class teacher and appointed Special Education Teachers, 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


IEP meetings are coordinated by an appointed IEP coordinator. This is usually one of the child’s Special Education Teachers. Parents will be invited to at least two out of three meetings depending on the needs of the child.



5.0     Referring pupils to out of school agencies


Throughout the school year the SENCO monitor concerns that may be raised about particular pupils and compile a list of pupils to be considered for further interventions. The Principal and SEN Team together with class teachers  meet at regular intervals during the school year and draft a list of pupils to be considered for further assessment by the one or more of the following;  NEPS psychologist, Primary Care Centre, HSE or Speech and Language Therapist. After these meetings a priority list of pupils requiring assessment or further interventions is drafted.

When a pupil is approved for assessment the parents/guardians are then invited to come in to speak to the class teacher and/or SEN teacher and an explanation is given as to why an assessment is deemed necessary.  The Psychologist consults with parents/guardians prior to conducting an assessment with their child. After the assessment has taken place and the results are given to the parents and school. A Support Plan  is then drawn up based on the results if necessary.



7.0     TimeTabling for supplementary teaching


When drawing up timetables it is important to remember that:

  • timetables should be continually reviewed
  • children should not miss the same subject each time they are withdrawn
  • if a pupil is unavailable for their support session due to special circumstances, the Special Education Teacher will attempt to reschedule the session with the cooperation of another teacher.
  • interruptions to classes/classrooms should be kept to a minimum.


SET timetables have been organised so that 2.00-2.50 each Friday is our designated co-ordination time. This allows all staff the opportunity to attend pupils support planning meetings, care team meetings, Team Teaching Planning Meetings, SEN Class Coordinator meetings and SEN consultation/planning/review meetings, when necessary. This flexibility ensures adequate cover for class teachers and also facilitates regular SET team planning meetings with the principal. In order to make effective use of this time, a SEN calendar is drawn up at the beginning of the year and cover buddies are assigned.


8.0     Reviewing school policy on Special Education Needs Teaching


As the number of pupils in receipt of additional support increases and the number of teaching staff assigned to SEN teaching duties fluctuates. A review and revision of the school policy on SEN support takes place regularly to take account of changed circumstances.  This review is instigated by the School Principal and takes into account the views of the Board of Management, the School principal, the SEN teachers, other teachers in the school staff and the parents of the school.


9.0     Liaison with parents


Role of SEN teacher in collaborating and consulting with parents

Effective communication with parents is critically important to the success of the SEN support programme.  Therefore our parents will be advised and involved in the following activities:

  • The purpose and procedures of the school’s SEN team.
  • Paired/shared reading
  • Developing children’s oral language through talk/discussion.
  • Motivating children to read more, public library, etc.
  • Creating a home environment where literacy can thrive.
  • Selecting books that interest children.
  • Counting, measuring and activities involving number in the home environment.


10.0   Communication of results of Standardised tests to parents


  • Results to be given orally and in the end of year reports.
  • Use of Sten scores (Sten score is a standardised score with a distribution of 1-10)
  • Avoidance of technical language
  • Results not to be viewed in isolation – relate back to class work
  • Use of results to further teaching/learning ( if child needs help in any area)
  • Transfer information to next teacher



11.0 Supervision/Child Protection


  • Where pupils receive support on a one-to-one basis, the SET teacher is responsible for ensuring that both themselves and the pupil are visible through the glass panel in the door.
  • Where there is no glass panel, the door of the room should remain open.
  • Where pupils are withdrawn for support, the SET teacher should collect and return children to their classrooms.
  • Where a child has access to an SNA, they may withdraw the child from the class if a plan is in place with the class teacher.


12.0 Implementation and Review


This policy will be implemented from 25/09/2017. It will be reviewed in June 2019 by the Special Education Team and all staff at St. Josephs N.S, pending a proposed review of the New SEN Allocation Model by the Department of Education and Science in 2019.

13.0 Concluding Statement


The Mission Statement for St. Joseph’s NS is contained in the School Information Booklet. It requires the school to ensure that its pupils can grow in knowledge and understanding and in the acquisition of skills, attitudes and values. It commits the school to provide its pupils with the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy, an enthusiasm for learning, a thirst for knowledge, an appreciation of their religion and the world they live and, above all, many happy memories.


This policy has been put in place to assist and guide the school in meeting these objectives for all of the pupils in its care.

Dominic Gallagher