Special Education Policy

Scoil Nioclais Naofa Special Education Plan

Abbreviations: IEP Individual Education Plan (Low Incidence)

IPLP Individual Pupil Learning Profile (General Allocation)

SET Special Education Teacher

SENO Special Educational Needs Organiser

NEPS National Educational Psychological Services

DES Department of Education & Skills


Scoil Nioclais Naofa is committed to providing a learning enriched environment for all our children. Our early intervention and learning support programmes are designed to enhance learning and to prevent and reduce difficulties. We respect and take into account every child’s diversity in terms of characteristics, interests, abilities, learning needs and styles and plan accordingly. We ensure that all our children with special needs receive an integrated educational experience with all the supports and resources we can afford to provide for them according to funding and resources supplied to the school from the Department of Education and Skills to access the curriculum as fully as possible. Every effort is made to ensure that our school is accessible in so far as possible to every child. Every child is special and we accept all our children for who they are. Our priority is to optimise the teaching and learning process for every child. This requires a collaborative approach involving Board of Management, Principal, Class Teachers, Special Education Teachers, Parents and children.

Principles for supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs:

  1. Resources provided to support pupils with special educational needs should be used to facilitate the development of truly inclusive schools.

  1. Supports provided to pupils with special educational needs should 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.

  1. The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress and care of all pupils in the classroom, including pupils with special educational needs.

  1. Special education teaching supports provided to schools should be used solely for the support of pupils with identified special educational needs, including those pupils for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL). The special education teaching supports cannot be used to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in mainstream classes. Neither can they be used to allow any special education teacher sole responsibility for the delivery of any curriculum subject to any particular class.

  1. Pupils with the greatest levels of need should have access to the greatest level of support, and whenever possible, these pupils should be supported by teachers with relevant expertise who can provide continuity of support.

  1. Schools with more than one support teacher should establish and maintain a core team of teachers to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs. All members should have the necessary experience and access to continuing professional development to support the diverse needs of pupils with special educational needs.


For the Child:

To enable each child to reach his/her potential with a view to achieving adequate levels of proficiency in Literacy and Numeracy.

To enable each child to experience success.

To enable each child to participate as fully as possible in the curriculum for his/her class level.

To develop the self-esteem of each child.

To help the child to develop self-management skills.

To provide supplementary teaching where needed.

For the Parents:

To involve parents in the implementation of Early Intervention Programmes.

To involve parents in the formulation of (IEPS).

To assist parents in learning support activities in the home.

To keep parents informed of Assessment procedures and Results of Tests.

To consult with parents during the Staged Intervention Programme.

As Teachers:

To use a wide range of strategies to support children with special needs.

To ensure that all the necessary resources are in place to assist children with special needs.

To initiate Early Intervention Programmes.

To collaborate together in the implementation of the Special Education Programme.

To consult with other professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists where necessary and possible.


To oversee the development, implementation and review of the Special Educational Needs Policy.

To ensure that adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided for the Special Education Department.

To provide a secure facility for storage of records relating to pupils attending the Special Education Teachers.


To monitor the development and implementation of the school policy on special education.

To meet with the Special Education Teachers regularly to discuss the progression of the school policy on Special Education.

To oversee the implementation of the whole school Assessment and Screening Programme.

To keep teachers informed about external assessment services and procedures to be followed in initiating referrals.

To inform parents that support has been recommended for their child.

To liaise with the Board of Management in relation to developments in Special Education.

To liaise with external agencies such as Psychological Services, to arrange assessments and provision for pupils with special needs.

To liaise with the SENO (Special Educational Needs Organiser).

To help teachers to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of Learning Support teaching by providing advice with regard to teaching methodologies and encouraging them to avail of relevant inservice.

To arrange for classroom accommodation and resources as appropriate according to funding provided.

Supporting the implementation of a tracking system at whole school level to monitor the progress of children with learning difficulties.

Advise parents on procedures for availing of special needs services.

Maintaining a list of pupils who are receiving supplementary teaching and/or special educational services and to record this on Aladdin and POD.


To consult with the Class Teachers re. the identification of children who may need diagnostic testing.

To carry out comprehensive diagnostic assessment of each pupil who has been identified as low achieving and/or having learning difficulties.

To devise and implement a programme of work for those children who have been selected for Supplementary Teaching.

To facilitate the formulation of IPLPs and IEPs for those children selected for Supplementary Teaching and to monitor and review the attainment targets set out for each child.

To provide advice to Class Teachers on strategies and materials to enhance learning in the classroom and to work with them in the classroom in a Shared Teaching Approach where necessary.

Meet the parents of pupils with IEPS at the start and end of each school year to review the pupil’s attainment of agreed targets, discuss the next instructional term and to revise the pupil’s IEP.

All other parents will be met at the parent-teacher meeting held each February.

To meet with the Principal regularly to discuss issues relating to Special Education and to give an overview of the IPLPs/IEPs of each child receiving Supplementary Teaching.

To meet with other relevant professionals in the children’s interest e.g. Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapists etc.

To attend Inservice Training and Meetings along with being au fait with new developments in Special Education and international best practice.


  • To provide a home environment which fosters opportunities for children to participate in Language, Literacy and Mathematical activities in their early years.
  • To support the work of the school by participating with their children in Early Intervention Programmes such as Shared Reading.
  • To implement the suggested home based activities as outlined in the IEP in the case of children who are receiving supplementary teaching.
  • To inform the school of any learning difficulties they observe in their children at home.


  • To maintain primary responsibility for the children with Special Needs in his/her class.
  • To differentiate the class curriculum appropriately to meet the needs of all the pupils in the class, in particular to implement teaching programmes which optimize learning in the classroom e.g. grouping children and providing lower achieving children with strategies for reading and problem solving.
  • To collaborate with the Special Education Teachers in relation to the administration of Standardised Tests.
  • To liaise closely with Parents and the Special Education Teacher in relation to the planning and implementation of Special Education Programmes and the formulation of IEPs.
  • To ensure records are kept of children following a Supplementary Learning Programme.
  • A key role of successful learning-support is a very high level of consultation and co-operation between the class teacher and the SET.
  • To implement Stage 1 of the Continuum of Support plan
  • To administer standardised tests.
  • To pass on information and reports to the next class teacher.
  • To adhere to a timetable that will allow Special Education to take place in the least disruptive way for the child.
  • To facilitate in class support where appropriate.


  • To become familiar with the targets set and to contribute to them where feasible.
  • To contribute to the selection of texts and other learning materials relevant to the attainment of these targets.
  • To apply the learning strategies and skills taught to them to improve their own learning.
  • To contribute to the assessment process by participating in appropriate assessment activities.


  • Shared Reading – Junior Infants( in-class support, observation and informal assessment of children), Senior Infants, First and Second. (This involves children taking books home, reading them to their Parents and discussing the content)
  • Comprehensive Phonological /Phonic Programmes are followed throughout the school.
  • Extra time is allocated to pupils in Junior Classes when Special Ed timetable is drawn up.
  • The development of agreed approaches to the teaching of English and Mathematics in order to ensure progression and continuity from class to class (See “Plean Scoile” for English and for Mathematics)
  • 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.


Tests are carried in all classes

The following tests are carried out:

  • I.S.T. Language Test – February (Senior Infants)
  • R.I.T. test which is a non-verbal screening test done annually in March in 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes.
  • Standardised Tests as follows are carried out annually in May from 1st Class to Sixth Class in the areas of Literacy and Numeracy:
  • Drumcondra Reading Test/Sigma T Maths Test


Our school will prioritise special education for the children based on the various criteria set out below.

  • Pupils with significant Special Educational Needs. For example, 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.

  • Early intervention…those children in junior classes who the class teacher may identify.

  • Standardised tests can be used to screen and identify pupils’ performance in reading and mathematics. Those pupils performing below the 10th percentile should be prioritised for support in literacy and numeracy.

  • 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 .This will be evidenced through school-based assessment of attainment, and behavioural, social and emotional functioning and ongoing monitoring of learning outcomes. Schools should also take 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 difficulties.

  • Schools should also carefully consider 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.

Identification of Needs through the Continuum of Support Process

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:

· 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

· Screening tests of language skills

A Classroom Support plan runs for an agreed period of time and is subject to review

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 measure for social, emotional and behavioural difficulties

A support plan at this level may detail suitable teaching approaches including team-teaching, small group or individual tuition. A School Support Plan operates for an agreed period of time and is subject to review

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 are then 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


Additional Teaching support can be provided in a variety of ways. The range of teaching will include team-teaching, small group teaching and, where necessary, individual teaching to address specific learning needs.


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, heterogeneous grouping, 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


In September SET will take certain children daily who have SNA entitlement. SET will work out a timetable ,draw up IEP and IPLP based on testing carried out in June. Planning will be carried out with targets and a programme of work. Consultation with class teachers will take place regarding level and type of support required. From weeks 3-4 SET will commence teaching. Continuous observation and informal assessment will take place over the following months.

In January informal testing will take place of children attending SET and also tests will be carried out on children on school support plans. Caseload in SEN might be adjusted. IEP and IPLP will be updated with test results and progress reports. New targets will be set.

Middle of May-June: All children in SEN will be tested along with children who had low scores in class standardised tests. IEP and IPLP will be updated and a list of recommendations for the following year will be decided upon. A caseload for September will be worked out.


Infants: YARC, Renfrew Vocabulary Test, Belfield Test

1-6 classes: YARC, Jackson Phonics, Dolch Words, Tests based on SNIP /Ann Newell, Maths Tracker


IEPs are formulated yearly for all pupils diagnosed with low incidence disabilities. The IEP is formulated in conjunction with the Class Teacher, Special Education Teacher, parents and in some cases other relevant professionals.

An IEP/Student Support File/Plan will contain:

  • Details of age, class, names of Class Teacher and Special Education Teacher.
  • Date on which the child began the Learning Support Programme.
  • Results of Standardised and Diagnostic Tests.
  • Relevant information relating to a child’s learning attainments.
  • Information about his/her learning strengths.
  • Information about his/her learning needs.
  • Targets for medium term planning which will be brief, specific and measurable.
  • Strategies and resources which will be used to implement those targets.



A psychological Assessment may be recommended in order to provide us with:

  • Additional information about a child’s difficulties.
  • Advice about teaching strategies and resources.
  • Other Educational support e.g. Special Needs Assistants.

A Psychological Assessment is recommended where:

  • The results of diagnostic testing carried out by the Special Education Teacher warrant further assessment and a Special Education Condition, Learning Disability or Specific Learning Difficulty is suspected.
  • Having initiated an Individual Education Programme /Student Support Plan with a child, little progress is taking place.
  • There appears to be a marked discrepancy between perceived ability and performance.
  • There are several emotional and/or behavioural problems.


Psychological Assessments may be done privately or done through the school.

We are catered for under the NEPs scheme (National Educational Psychological Service) and have access to two psychological assessments annually. The psychologist assigned to the school Annette Corkery. In any particular year where the demand for Assessments outnumbers availability, priority is given to older children with Special Educational Needs.


Class teacher in consultation with the Special Education Teacher and principal recommends the Assessment.

Parental consent is sought for the Assessment.

When consent is obtained a decision is made about the provision of the Assessment.

The Principal contacts the Educational Psychologist and where resources permit, a date for the assessment is arranged.

Class Teacher in consultation with the Special Education Teacher, the pupil and parents fills in a referral form outlining the child’s strengths and difficulties for the Psychologist.

The Assessment takes place. After the Assessment the Psychologist meets with the Parents, the Class Teacher, Special Education Teacher and the Principal.

A report is sent to the parents and to the school and school plans are updated.


Where pupils are perceived to possess exceptional talent in any area, discussion is initiated with parents with a view to nurturing these pupils’ exceptional talent.

Talented Youth of Ireland (C.T.Y.I.) is an organisation which is pointed out to parents of pupils with exceptional academic ability. The organisation assesses pupils for its Saturday and holiday programmes in such subjects as technology, astronomy and philosophy.

Every effort is made in Scoil Nioclais Naofa to aim to challenge exceptionally able pupils and meet their needs through the use of curricular differentiation, library and I.T. resources; challenging projects and assignments.


This policy is reviewed annually in consultation with the Board of Management and staff.


Name of Student

Date of Birth


Date File Opened

Date File Closed

A Continuum of Support

Student Support File, Log of Actions

Date Actions

Support Checklist




General Information

Date Checked


1. Parents/ Guardians Consulted

2. Information from previous school/preschool gathered

3. Hearing

4. Vision

5. Medical Needs

6. Basic Needs Checklist completed

7. Assessment of learning- screening

8. Observation of learning style/approach to learning

9. Observation of behaviour

10. Interview with pupil

11. Classroom work differentiated?

12. Learning environment adapted?

13. Yard/school environments adapted?

14. Informal or formal consultation/advice with outside professionals?

15. Advice given by learning support/resource teacher or other school staff?

16. Other interventions put in place in school?

Action needed

Helpful references: SEN: A Continuum of Support: Resource Pack for Teachers, pp. 13-16, 18 to 20; BESD: A Continuum of Support, p 7; A Continuum of Support for Post-Primary Schools, Resource Pack for Teachers, pp32-36; Student Support Teams in Post-Primary Schools, pp20

SUPPORT PLAN*Classroom Support
School Support (Support for Some)
School Support Plus (Support for A Few)

To be completed by the teacher(s).
For help, see SEN: A Continuum of Support - Guidelines for Teachers: BESD: A Continuum of Support – Guidelines for Teachers pp.71-74; A Continuum of Support for Post-Primary Schools, Resource Pack for Teachers, pp. 51, 53, 54, 57.

Student’s name


Lead teacher


Start date of plan

Review date of plan

Student’s strengths and interests

Priority concerns

Possible reasons for concerns

Targets for the student

Strategies to help the student achieve the targets

Staff involved and resources needed

Signature of parent(s)/ guardian(s)

Signature of teacher

*A consultation with a NEPS psychologist/ other professionals may contribute to this plan.

School Support (Support for Some)
School Support Plus (Support for A Few)

To be completed by the teacher(s) as a review of the plan and as a guide for future actions.
For help, see SEN: A Continuum of Support - Guidelines for Teachers; BESD: A Continuum of Support – Guidelines for Teachers; A Continuum of Support for Post-Primary Schools, Resource pack for Teachers; Student Support Teams in Post-Primary Schools.

Student’s name

Class/ Year

Names of those present at review

Date of Review

What areas of the plan have been most successful and why?

Since the start of the plan, has anything changed in relation to the original concerns? If so, what are these changes, and what have we learned from them?

Have the student’s needs changed since the start of the plan, and if so how?

Recommended future actions – what, how, who, when?

Any comments from the student?

Any comments from the parent(s)/guardian(s comment?

Signature of parent(s)/ guardian(s)

Signature of teacher(s)

Outcome of review (tick as appropriate)

Revert to previous level of support- Support for All/ Classroom Support OR Support for Some/ School Support

Progress to next level of support- Support for Some/ School Support OR Support for a Few/ School Support Plus

Continue at Current Level of Support

Request consultation with other professionals

*A consultation with a NEPS psychologist/ other professionals may contribute to this review.

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Co. Wicklow

045 401495

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