Coláiste an Átha, Kilmuckridge

Inclusion of Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

and General Learning Needs

1.Introduction and Rationale

Coláiste an Átha, Kilmuckridge is a co-educational Vocational College in Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford. The school has 260 Students and provides a diverse range of subjects that meet the requirements for the Junior Certificate Programmes and Leaving Certificate Programmes. LCVP, LCA and JCSP are also provided in the school. Such inclusion in mainstream education is supported by both national and international reports e.g. the Special Education Review Committee 1993, the UNESCO World Conference on Special Needs Education 1994 and the Council of Europe Political Declaration 2003 and Action Plan 2006. The school also operates within the legislative framework set out by the following:

The Education Act, 1998

The Equal Status Act, 2000 and Equality Act, 2004

The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000

The Data Protection Acts, 1988-2003

The Freedom of Information Acts, 1997-2003

The Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act, 2004

This principle of inclusion is embedded in the School’s Development Plan and is particularly relevant in policies relating to admission, behaviour, anti-bullying and attendance.

2.Mission Statement:

The values in the school’s mission statement – ‘Coláiste an Átha is dedicated to providing a quality education in a caring environment where the holistic development of each individual student is nurtured’ relate in

equal measure to all members of the student body. Coláiste an Átha welcomes and provides an inclusive environment for persons with Special Educational Needs (SEN). As per the Person’s with Special Needs Act 2004 we recognize that the ‘education of people with such needs shall wherever possible take place in an inclusive environment’. We endeavour to ensure that these students are free to participate in school life in so far as is reasonably practicable, access, and benefit from the education normally provided in the school to the fullest extent possible and to do so alongside students who do not have these difficulties. Coláiste an Átha seeks to minimize barriers to learning and participation for all students by recognizing and acknowledging the differences between students. By engaging in inclusive practices students are encouraged to reach their full potential in a supportive and stimulating environment in order to meet the diverse needs of society.


For the purpose of this policy, special educational needs is defined as “a restriction in the capacity of the person to participate in and benefit from education on account of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or learning disability, or any other condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without that condition”.

4.Aims and Principles

  • Provide an inclusive environment that allows the SEN student to avail of an appropriate education as do their peers.
  • Provide literacy and Numeracy support for the SEN student.
  • Ensure that people with SEN leave school with the skills required to participate and live independent lives after leaving school.
  • Include students with special educational needs, students with learning difficulties and students from different environments and cultures(traveller community and international students)

5.Resources and Additional Resources:

Additional resources are allocated to schools to facilitate the inclusion of students with special educational needs and other learning difficulties. They include:

  • The provision of resource and learning support teachers and special needs assistants.
  • Visiting Teachers Services, grants for assistive technology, reasonable accommodation in state examinations and exemption from the study of Irish.
  • There is a fully dedicated Learning Support room situated in the ‘Back on Track’ building of the school. Facilties in the room????Computers? Computer programmes?etc
  • There currently __? Learning Support Teachers. …details?? hours??? Qualifications, if applicable??

6.Categories of Students currently in receipt of additional resources in Coláiste an Átha:

  • Resource Students: Students with allocated resource hours by NCSE (National Council for Special Education)
  • Learning Support: Students who have difficulty with Literacy and Numeracy and who have not been allocated resource hours.

7.Supports available to Students with SEN

  1. I. Learning Support Teacher

Works with students either on a one to one basis or group basis to address an identified short-term need i.e. Help with reading, maths, etc

  1. II. Resource Teacher

Works with an individual or group who has a specific learning or behavioural difficulty i.e. SLD, GLD, and ADHD, visually impaired and have been allocated hours by the NCSE. This position involves not just class work but also looking out for the student’s well being within the classroom.

  1. III. Special Needs Assistant

Works with an individual within the classroom and the wider environment to help with school activities.

8.Inclusion Team:

Principal- Ms. Elizabeth Martin

Deputy Principal- Ms. Rachel O’ Connor

Special Needs Co-ordinator – Ms Vivian Crotty

Learning Support Teachers- Ms.Trish O’Callaghan and Mr.Philip O’Neill

Guidance Counsellor?

The Inclusion Team is timetabled to meet once a week.

(Any member of staff is welcome to join the weekly meeting)

9.Role of the Inclusion team:

  1. Preparation of school policies and procedures in relation to the placement and teaching arrangements for students with special educational needs.
  2. Support the effective provision of education of students with special educational needs.
  3. Management of official school files on each student with SEN by learning Support/resource co-ordinator.

10.Role of the VEC and the Board of Management:

  1. Responsibility for overseeing the development, implementation and review of school policies and services in relation to the inclusion of students with special educational needs
  2. Protecting the rights of parents as prescribed in legislation.
  3. Co-operating fully with the National Council for Special Education

11.Role of the Principal:

  1. The Principal has overall responsibility for ensuring that the special educational needs of students are met. In this regard, he will work in close co-operation with the Inclusion Team. She must also ensure that all teachers are aware of their responsibilities in relation to students with special educational needs and
  2. must also arrange for continuous professional development of staff in this regard.

In practice, much of this work in Coláiste an Átha, is delegated to Ms. V. Crotty (Learning Support teacher) with the ongoing support and involvement of the Principal and the entire teaching staff.

12.Role of the Guidance Counsellor:

Ms. Jackie Whelan (Guidance Counsellor) will assist students with special educational needs in making career decisions.

13.Role of Parents:

As the primary and natural educators of the child, parents must ensure that Coláiste an Átha, Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford is provided with timely access to professional reports that are critical to collaborative planning for students with special educational needs.

14.Role of the Subject Teacher:

  1. Assist in indentifying and referring students who have learning difficulties.
  2. To facilitate access to the curriculum for students with learning difficulties.
  3. To be aware of SEN students and what information is available on these students.
  4. To exchange information with the LS/ Resource teacher on the students progress.
  5. Partake in a Whole School Approach to Learning Support and Literacy and Numeracy.

15.Role of the Learning Support and Resource Teacher:

Direct teaching of students with learning difficulties.

  1. Assist in providing education to meet the needs of students assessed as having learning difficulties.
  2. Provide and plan for students

16.Role of the Special Needs Assistant (SNA):

The post of the SNA is integral to the school.  The SNA will . . .

  1. Liaise with the Learning Support/Resource Team
  2. The primary role is to support and assist the inclusion of  the students with special educational needs.
  3. In this support role they are seeking to maximise the student’s potential and to promote his/her participation in the class and school activities under the direction of the teacher.
  4. A diary record will be kept for each student or group by the SNA.
  5. An SNA may be assigned to an individual or a group.
  6. Included in the role of the SNA are the following tasks:

i.In class

  1. To assist and motivate the student to stay on task and to refocus where necessary.
  2. To help organise the student(s) in terms of homework diary, books and materials for class.
  3. May be required to take notes from the board or read for the student.
  4. In practical classes SNA assists the student(s) in following safety rules.
  5. May need to make preparations for the accommodations for in-house exams for student(s)
  6. May remove the student(s) from the class on the request of the teacher and remain in a supportive manner with them.

ii.Beyond the Classroom

  1. Students may need supervision or help outside of class time.
  2. The SNA has a unique insight into the difficulties experienced by the student(s). This information needs to be made available to Learning Support and the management of the school to assist in future planning for these students.

17.Bodies outside the school:

a. The Department of Education and Skills (DES)

b. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE)

c. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)

d. The Special Education Support Service (SESS)

e. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

f. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB)

g. The Health Service Executive (HSE)

18.Transfer from Primary/ National School to Secondary School:

The College acknowledges that the transition from primary/national to secondary school is a significant step in each student’s life and formation.

The Principal, the Deputy Principal, Year Heads, 1st Year Class Tutors, Learning Support Teachers and the Guidance Counsellor are involved with supporting students making the transition from primary to secondary school. The Meitheal Co-ordinator and the 6th year Meitheal Leaders are also instrumental in assisting the transition.

All information regarding the special needs of new and existing students is given to staff at the beginning of the school year. The Principal visits the feeder primary schools and correlates relevant information related to students with SEN with the Learning Support Co-ordinator. All this information is kept on file and is available to all staff.

19.Entrance test:

  • English- NFER Nelson Group Reading Assessment(GRT11-Form)


WRAT 4- Maths Computation

  • Tests administered by Learning Support Team
  • English and Maths Tests results identify students performing below the 10th percentile.
  • By looking at test results the process of identifying target students for Learning Support/resource begins.
  • Results from all current assessments carried side out in sixth class-Micra T(Reading), Stigma T (Maths) or Drumcondra Attainment Test (Reading & Maths) together with relevant educational information that highlights students’ strengths and weaknesses are obtained.
  • Applications are made to the SENO (Special Educational Needs Officer).
  • Applications for resource hours are made.
  • All applications are accompanied by a psychological report  and parental consent i.e. required for any submission.
  • The Learning Support Team meets with all parents of those that will be receiving Learning Support hours in September.
  • Resource teaching is given during Irish class time where possible to students allocated resource hours by the NCSE and who have a DES Irish exemption.

20.Referrals for Assessment:

Inclusion team in consultation with subject teachers/parents make a decision on names of students for assessment by NEPS Psychologists and application for assessment made.

21.Reasonable Accommodation Junior Cert (RACE) :

Junior Cert application forms generally arrive in October.

Parental consent required.

Students applying must have a SLD or in a case of GLD it must be established that they have a specific learning difficulty in a certain area e.g. reading.

22.Reasonable Accommodation Leaving Cert:

Leaving Cert application forms arrive in March/April (the previous year before the exam). Much more detailed application form.

Must include-psychological report where available.

-3 samples of work done in exam conditions

-Up to date test results

23.Classroom Settings:

Coláiste an Átha  provides a variety of classroom settings for students with special educational needs, as follows:

  • Placement in mainstream mixed-ability classes – this is the normal practice for all 1st year classes and for all classes thereafter with the exception of Irish, English and Maths.
  • Withdrawal of students for individual or small-group teaching – The ideal situation in these cases will be for a return to full mainstream classes as soon as possible.
  • A model of classroom setting to which the school aspires is co-operative teaching within mainstream whereby the teaching team in the classroom will be made up of the mainstream teacher and either the resource or learning support teacher. This is being encourage in Coláiste an Átha and currently takes place _____ times a week in a variety of classes and covers several different subjects. This model will be kept under review by the learning support department and discussed with all relevant partners as necessary.

24.Individual Education Plan (IEP)

At present, there are no completed IEP’s for Students in the College. The SEN team is at the Gathering of information/ Profiling stage of the process. It is hoped that these will be in place in the near future.

With the implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004, these and all future plans will be referred to as Individual Education Plans. These plans will be put in place following consultation between the school, parents, students and relevant bodies outside the school. Their objective is to bring about effective teaching and learning and improved outcomes for students with special educational needs.

The Principal is responsible for ensuring the preparation and implementation of each IEP. In this task she will be assisted primarily by the learning support teacher, Ms. V. Crotty, and by other teachers who provide learning support.

Each IEP will be prepared in accordance with the Guidelines on the Individual Education Planning Process (2006) as issued by the National Council for Special Education.

In summary, the stages in the preparation of an IEP will be:

Step 1: Gathering information

Step 2 :Statement on level of performance including strengths, needs and impact on learning

Step 3: Identification of priority learning needs and time frame for attainment of targets

Step 4: Setting targets for each priority learning need

Step 5: Identification of the strategies and resources required

Step 6: Setting date for review

25.Teaching and learning in the inclusive school:

All teachers involved in the education of students with special educational needs are expected to adopt a variety of teaching methods and strategies e.g. co-operative teaching, co-operative learning, active learning, heterogeneous grouping, direct instruction, so as to maximise the educational, personal and social outcome for these students. Teachers are to be mindful that such students tend to learn best in a teaching and learning environment that is characterised by structure and organisation.

26.Future aims:

1. Continue to raise teacher awareness of students with learning disabilities and to provide professional development opportunities for teachers.

2.Increase literacy and numeracy levels across the school community.


3. Convey information to staff:

4. Ensure that all students availing of learning support and/or resource hours

are signalled to staff

  1. To have IEPs completed by…..?????
  2. ?????
  3. ?????

6. Planning time, as required, is essential:

  • To implement and follow up on 1st Year Assessments
  • To draw up an Education Plan for each learning support student
  • To brief new staff on filing process and reading Educational Reports from NEPS

This policy

has been compiled by

Ms. T. O’Callaghan

Ms. V Crotty

Mr. P O’Neill