Arklow CBS

Special Education Policy

Special Educational Needs Policy

Mission Statement

Arklow CBS is a Catholic Secondary School for boys in the Christian Brother tradition. As such its education is founded on Christian Principles and the promotion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a caring partnership of school, home and parish community it seeks to achieve its aims through a broad and balanced curriculum, which combines the best of traditional education with the needs of the modern and ever changing world. In this way students are prepared for examinations, for third level education, for the world of work and for life itself.

Aims and Objectives

With reference to The Education Act 1998, The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 and The Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 Arklow CBS aspires to:

  • Give practical effect to the constitutional rights of children who have a disability
    or who have other special educational needs, as they relate to education.
  • Provide, as far as is practicable and having regard to the resources available, a
    level and quality of education appropriate to the needs and abilities of all students
    in the school.
  • Ensure that students with special educational needs are educated in an inclusive
    environment, as far as possible.
  • Affirm that students with special educational needs have the same right to avail
    of, and benefit from education as students who do not have those needs.
  • Provide for the involvement of parents in the education of their children and in
    the decision making process in relation to their children.
  • Co-operate and work closely with the National Council for Special Educational
    Needs (NCSE) and other agencies with regard to the education of students with
    special educational needs.
  • Inform all members of staff of the special educational needs of
    students and of the contribution they can make in this area.
  • Offer students with special educational needs a broad, balanced
    and differentiated curriculum and that they are provided for in an inclusive way.
  • Develop staff expertise in supporting students with special educational needs.
  • Encourage and foster positive partnerships with parents, in order to achieve
    appropriate support at home.
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of practice in support of students with
    special educational needs.

Definitions

Definitions relevant to this policy, as outlined in the Education Act 1998, the Education of Persons with Disability Bill 2003 and the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004.

In consideration of these definitions the School considers a student as being in need of learning support if he:

  • Is recognised as being at the 10th percentile or below on a standardised test and
    following an assessment by the relevant professional personnel.
  • Is failing to achieve in school due to specific personal circumstances.
  • The School considers a student as having special educational needs as one who has a learning or physical difficulty, which calls for support provision to be made for him. This in particular refers to:
  • Students with a disability that prevents or hinders them from making use of the
    educational facilities provided for students of the same age.
  • Students, who following the correct identification procedures, have been
    assessed as special educational needs by an educational psychologist and are
    deemed to be entitled to resource support. At present the Department of
    Education and Science defines this as the 2nd percentile or below.
  • In the context of this policy the term 'Special Educational Needs' shall include students with learning support and resource needs.

Scope of the Policy

This policy applies to all students attending Arklow CBS and who have special educational needs.

Organisational Arrangements

Arklow CBS strives to create an inclusive learning environment where the needs of all students are catered for. The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum at both Junior and Senior cycle.

Organisation at Junior Cycle

Students are placed in mixed ability teaching groups in first year. Students are taught in their class groups for all of their subjects. Students are taught all subjects in first year.

In second year students choose subjects from the following options.

Two from

  • Woodwork
  • Business Studies
  • Music
  • Technical Graphics
  • Art

And a language option either

  • French

or

  • German

Students and parents can seek support in making this decision from the subject teacher. For students with special educational needs the resource teacher and the principal are also available to support/advise the student and parents regarding these decisions.

During 2nd year, Irish and Mathematics groups are set according to ability. This allows the more able students to be extended appropriately and also ensures that less able students are following a curriculum at their ability level, which meets their needs, and gives them the best chance of success at Junior Certificate.

It is expected that teachers will implement differentiated approaches for teaching and learning ensuring that the skills of all students are catered for.

Organisation at Senior Cycle

Transition Year is an optional year between Junior and Leaving Certificate. The Transition Year programme aims to:

  • Promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils.
  • Prepare pupils for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.
  • Enable pupils to take a greater responsibility for their own learning and decision making.
  • Help pupils to develop a range of transferable critical thinking and creative problem solving skills.
  • Prepare pupils for the world of work.
  • Enable pupils to develop basic competencies in key areas according to their individual needs, including remediation where appropriate.
  • Give pupils the opportunity to experience education without the severe pressures and restrictions of a rigid state examination curriculum and timetable.
  • Enable pupils to experience a variety of subjects not normally available to Junior and Leaving Certificate pupils.

Leaving Certificate Programme

At Senior Cycle the students study the Leaving Certificate Programme. Students study Irish, English, Mathematics, and four option subjects. The option subjects include Accounting, Art, Business, Biology, Chemistry, Construction Studies, Economics, Geography, History, Music, French, and German.

For some students the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme is most suited to their needs. However, we are not in a position to offer this programme. We advise parents of schools in the area that offer this programme.
Roles and Responsibilities

The Role of the Board of Management

  • To ensure that all students special educational needs are
    identified and assessed.
  • To ensure that the school has a special educational needs policy team in place, to
    monitor the implementation of that policy and to ensure its evaluation.
  • To ensure that a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum is provided in the
    school to ensure in as far as is practical that students with special educational
    needs leave school with the skills necessary to participate to the level of their
    capacity in an inclusive way in society.
  • To ensure that necessary resources are sought on behalf of students with special
    educational needs.
  • To promote the development of positive partnerships with parents and other
    relevant agencies/personnel.
  • To ensure that parents are informed of their
    child's special educational needs and how these needs are being met.
  • To ensure that parents are consulted with regard to and invited to participate in
    the making of all significant decisions concerning their child's education.
  • To ensure that the Special Educational Needs Policy forms part of the School
    plan
  • To develop a whole school approach to literacy and innumeracy under Section 14
    of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004.

The Role of the Principal

On behalf of the Board of management of Arklow CBS the Principal has responsibility for all aspects of the day-to-day management of policy and provision for students with special educational needs. The Principal may delegate certain functions to appropriate teachers (as outlined in Section 18 of the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004). In consultation with the resource teacher ensure that an Individual
Education Plan is prepared for relevant students.

  • To inform the Board of Management of issues, which are relevant to special
    educational needs.
  • In consultation with the Special Educational Needs Team and other
    relevant personnel to liaise with the Department of Education and Science
    regarding needs and provision. This also includes applications for reasonable
    accommodations and exemptions in relation to state examinations as well as
  • To ensure the effective and efficient use of resources, including the allocation
    of resource hours and funds.
  • To promote a whole school approach to special educational need, make all staff aware of their responsibilities in this area and to facilitate appropriate staff development in this area.
  • To promote the development of positive partnerships with parents of students with special educational needs.
  • To ensure that procedures exist for consultation with feeder primary schools with regard to the enrolment of new students with special educational needs.

The Role of the Parent or Guardian

  • To provide the school with any information that may be relevant, including assessments by Educational Psychologist, Lucena, HSE or Enable Ireland.
  • To participate in their son’s efforts to meet their learning targets.
  • To give consent for the school to make a request for their son to be assessed by outside agencies, if necessary.
  • To sign and return copies of any home/school liaison arrangements.
  • To act on recommendations made in professional reports, for example Educational Psychology Reports, Occupational Therapy Reports, etc.
  • To supervise the student at home when doing homework and revision for exams.
  • To inform the Resource/SEN teacher about any problems that may occur between meetings.
  • To notify the school when their son is absent, on the first morning of that absence.
  • To attend review meetings and parent teacher meetings to discuss their son’s progress.
  • To ensure that their son has adequate sleep and rest and is fully equipped for school.
  • Reinforce /SPHE/RSE programmes

The Role of the Subject Teacher

At Arklow CBS the academic progress of students throughout the school rests in the first instance with the subject teacher. In order to ensure that as a school we meet the needs of all our students subject teachers are encouraged to:

  • Be aware of the School's policy and procedures (as outlined in this document)
    for dealing with students with special educational needs.
  • Familiarise themselves with the Individual Profiles of students with SEN.
  • Seek advice from the SEN team regarding students with special
    educational needs.
  • Pass on any concerns about the progress of a student to the SEN team.
  • Take responsibility for their own continuous professional development
    particularly with regard to common difficulties e.g. Dyslexia & Specific
    Language difficulties
  • Develop an attitude of ownership to the education of students in their classes
    with Special Educational Needs.

The Role of the Guidance Counsellor

The guidance counsellor is a member of the SEN team and works with other members of the team in facilitating the provision of education for students with special educational needs and their inclusion in the school. The guidance counsellor works closely with the principal and resource teacher to identify students requiring further attention.

The guidance counsellor and the resource teacher work together to help the successful transition of all students to Arklow CBS and in gathering information about students, including those with special educational needs, before their transfer from primary school.

The guidance teacher and resource teacher visit primary schools in order to meet with 6th class teachers and complete a student profile form on each incoming student. A note is taken of any student with SEN and further information and reports are sought from parents.

The guidance counsellor has an important role in assisting all students, including those with special educational needs at the different stages of schooling. To facilitate this students and parents are welcome to make appointments with the guidance counsellor. This is particularly encouraged for students progressing from Junior to Senior Cycle. Students in Senior Cycle are offered appointments with the guidance counsellor to support them in making career decisions. It is acknowledged that students with special educational needs may require greater support at formal transfer points in their school career and the guidance counsellor will be particularly aware of these students.

An Options Information Evening is held for parents of students progressing to TY or Fifth Year. The guidance counsellor attends and makes a presentation at this meeting.

Prior to entry to Arklow CBS First Year students are tested using standardized tests, the AH2 Aptitude test and Edinburgh Reading Test. The guidance counsellor works closely with the Principal, Deputy Principal and Resource Teacher in the organisation of these tests.

At key stages throughout the students schooling the guidance counsellor is responsible for co-ordinating a number of assessments including the DATs tests (Differential Aptitude tests) and Career Interest Inventory.

When appropriate, the guidance counsellor is available to staff who may want to seek advice/relevant information regarding students with special educational needs and how they can best be supported in school.

The Role of the Resource Teacher

  • At Arklow CBS the resource teacher works closely with students who have special educational needs.
  • The resource teacher can, when appropriate, provide advice to subject teachers as to the teaching methodologies best suited to that student.
  • The resource teacher provides direct teaching to a student with special educational needs either to reinforce the teaching that takes place in the classroom or to improve upon the core literacy skills necessary to successfully access the second level curriculum.
  • At times withdrawal from the classroom may not be the most appropriate means of supporting the student and the resource teacher may teach that student in a whole class situation for English.
  • When appropriate, the resource teacher will initiate and participate in meetings involving parents and/or outside agencies.
  • The resource teacher is involved in the identification of students with SEN.

Tests used?

Aston Index (subtests when applicable.)

Neale Analysis of Reading Ability – Revised

GL Non Verbal Reasoning Test

Edinburgh Reading Test 4.

Dyslexia Screening Test

The resource teacher will formally communicate with the whole staff at a staff meeting once a school term.

The resource teacher works closely with the guidance counsellor during the profiling and assessment of incoming students.

The Role of the Student

  • Where appropriate, the student will be asked to discuss learning targets and select areas for learning support.
  • Where appropriate, the student may be invited to attend meetings with parents and outside agencies.
  • Takes ownership of the targets agreed and cooperate within the learning support group.
  • Work to the best of their ability.
  • Tell the resource teacher of any issue that might be affecting their ability to concentrate and focus in class.
  • Co-operate with the school code of behaviour and RSE and SPHE programmes.
  • Ensure that all subject homework is clearly recorded and completed on time.

The Role of the Special Needs Assistant (SNA)

The Special Needs Assistant provides care assistance to named students who have special educational needs. They make an invaluable contribution to the school’s capacity to provide inclusive education to these students.

The resource teacher, SNA, parents and, where appropriate, outside agencies work collaboratively in devising an appropriate plan for a student with special educational needs. The SNA is given guidance on their role in the successful implementation of this plan.

The Special Needs Assistant plays an important role in the health and safety of the student and in their social, emotional and educational development.

The duties of the Special Needs Assistants involve tasks of a non teaching nature such as:

  • Attending both Staff and Departmental meetings when appropriate.
  • Assisting / escorting students on school trips.
  • Giving special assistance as necessary for students with particular difficulties e.g.
    helping special needs students with typing, writing or other use of equipment.
  • Assisting with clothing, feeding, toileting and general hygiene and being mindful of the
    health and safety needs of the student.
  • Assisting with examinations (if appropriate).
  • Assisting the teacher in the supervision of pupils during assembly, recreation and in
    movement from one classroom to another.
  • Accompanying an individual student who may be withdrawn temporarily from the
  • General assistance of the subject teacher, of a non-teaching nature.
  • Engagement with parents of special needs pupils in both formal and informal structures,
    as required and directed by school management.
  • Attendance, with the resource teacher, at meetings with the parents of the students under their care.
  • Other appropriate duties as may be determined by the needs of the pupils and the school.
    Special Needs Assistants may be re-assigned to other appropriate work when special
    needs students are absent or when particularly urgent work demands arise.
  • Special Needs Assistants are expected to treat all matters relating to school business and their work, as strictly confidential.

Special Educational Needs (S.E.N.) Support Team

Special Educational Needs support team comprises the following staff:

Principal
Deputy Principal
Resource Teacher – Mrs. L. Slazenger
Guidance Counsellor- Ms.E. Seery
Learning Support Teachers
TY Coordinator – Ms. M. White
SNA - Ms. Kirsi Rajapuro, Ms. Pauline Fitzgerald.

Through the work of the Special Educational Needs Support team the school endeavours to create a school wide ownership in the management of Special Educational Needs.

We acknowledge that it is important to continually review and develop our practices in relation to:

  • Collaboration and communication with parents
  • Entrance tests
  • The dissemination of information regarding students with SEN
  • The dissemination of materials relating to the teaching of students with SEN
  • The provision of in-service training for staff
  • Accessing relevant information about all our intake students
  • The use of data, including the Cognitive Ability Tests & DAT Scores
  • Gifted and Talented students

Transition from Primary School

During November there is an Open Evening for parents and prospective pupils. The resource teacher is on hand to meet with parents and students.

Prior to entry to Arklow CBS, the resource teacher and guidance counselor visit or contact the feeder primary schools. The school sees this liaison as an important step in ensuring proper identification of students with special educational needs and the continuity of provision for them.

Information received from the Primary Schools and parents, coupled with the results of the AH2 and Edinburgh Reading test, help the school identify those students who may need additional support to access the second level curriculum.

A student who has been sanctioned resource hours by the Department of Education at primary school will not automatically have this entitlement on transfer to secondary school. A new application is made, however applications are not always successful.

A mentor system operates in the school, which gives Senior students the opportunity to work with the incoming First Years.

All teachers are briefed on matters relating to the SEN students they are going to teach or come into contact with. A provisional Individual Pupil Profile of 1st year students with SEN is given to every teacher on the first day of the new school year.

Students transferring into other Year Groups

When a student is accepted into Arklow CBS to join a year group other than First Year, information is sought from their previous school. The Principal/Deputy Principal usually does this. This information is passed to the Year Head and the resource teacher if appropriate. An Individual Pupil Profile is drawn up and given to staff, if appropriate.

Identification of Students with Special Educational Needs

The education of students throughout the school rests in the first instance with the subject teacher. Each teacher should be aware of which students are likely to experience barriers to learning.

In many cases a student's needs are resolved through the provision of differentiated work suited to their needs. For those students whose progress continues to cause concern referral to the resource teacher may be appropriate. Referral to the resource teacher should be supported by specific evidence (examples of work, records of behavior, etc.) that despite receiving differentiated learning opportunities the student has made little or no progress.

Having reviewed the documentation and liaised with the relevant staff the resource teacher may decide that the student's needs do not warrant their involvement.

If the resource teacher decides that a student would benefit from further intervention they will first assess the student through interview and the use of screening tests. Parents are informed and their consent is sought prior to any assessment taking place. The outcome of this assessment will determine what course of action is taken.

The resource teacher communicates the results of assessments to parents and discusses their implications.

The results of the assessment may indicate that a student has not got a learning difficulty. In this case the student's needs are supported through the structures available to all students. These include:

  • Monitoring by Form Master (Year Head)
  • Differentiated work appropriate to their needs
  • Review of entry levels for State Examinations
  • An agreed referral to an outside agency. (HSE)

If the results of the assessment indicate that a student may have a learning difficulty a decision is made as follows:

  • Referral for a Formal Assessment e.g. to National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)
  • Allocation of learning support time under the General Allocation.

Arrangements for Students with Resource/Learning Support

In consideration of the definitions relevant to this policy, as outlined in the Education Act 1998, the Education of Persons with Disability Bill 2003 and the Education of Persons with Special Educational the School considers a student as being in need of learning support if he:

  • Is recognised as being at the 10th percentile or below on a standardised test and
    following an assessment by the relevant professional personnel.
  • Is failing to achieve in school due to specific personal circumstances.
  • A student is defined as having special educational needs if he has a learning/physical difficulty, which calls for support provision to be made for him. This in particular refers to:
  • Students with a disability that prevents or hinders them from making use of the
    educational facilities provided for students of the same age.
  • Students, who following the correct identification procedures, have been assessed as
    special educational needs by an educational psychologist and are sanctioned resource
    At present the Department of Education and Science defines this as the 2nd
    percentile or below and grants hours to these students accordingly.

Procedures regarding withdrawal

The individual needs of the student dictate what type of practice is most appropriate. In deciding how best to support a student in a sympathetic manner the special educational needs team take account of:

  • The programme required
  • The student's personality/wishes
  • Recommendations from relevant clinicians
  • The concerns and wishes of parents.

Students with Irish Exemptions

A significant number of SEN students have Irish language exemptions. The special needs team has structures in place to ensure that students get maximum benefit from the additional timetable allocation that exemption from Irish creates.

It is school policy that all students follow a modern language up to at least ordinary level standard.

In some circumstances it may be beneficial for a student with special educational needs to be withdrawn from the modern language examination.

Mixed Ability Teaching

Students in the Junior Cycle are taught in mixed ability classes. Final decision on level of examination is not usually made until after the mock examinations. Students in English, Mathematics and Irish classes are taught in mixed ability groups until 2nd year when broad banding can take place. This facilitates the creation of smaller groups for those students who find the subject difficult and require more individual attention.

Reasonable Accommodations

Arrangements at Junior Certificate

The resource teacher and guidance teacher manage the applications for reasonable accommodations at Junior Certificate level. Applications are based on diagnosis of SLD and on visual and hearing impairments as laid out in the Guidelines.

Arrangements at Leaving Certificate

The guidance counsellor is responsible for liaising with parents and students and NEPS to collect the information required to submit an application for Reasonable Accommodation in Certificate Examinations (RACE). The guidance counselor also collaborates with parents in their applications for Disability Access Route to Education (DARE).
Monitoring Evaluation, Assessment and Reporting

All students are assessed on an ongoing basis. Assessment may be formal, informal, summative or formative.

Formal Assessment

  • Incoming First Year students sit the AH2 and the Edinburgh Reading Test prior to entry.
  • Students sit in house school examinations in November/December and at the end of the school year for years 1, 2, 5.
  • Years 3 and 6 sit school exams in October and mock examinations in February.
  • Students sit Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT) in 3rd
  • Students sit Junior Certificate examinations in 3rd Year and Leaving Certificate in 6th

Informal Assessment

  • In class assessments set by subject teachers.
  • In class questioning
  • Assessing homework/project work

The responsibility for many aspects of formal and informal assessments lies in the first instance with the subject teacher. The organisation of the DAT and AH2 tests is the responsibility of the guidance teacher.

Using Assessment Data

Assessment data is used to:

  • Highlight brighter/less able students
  • Profile a class group/year group
  • Track student progress
  • Target learning support to the needs of students.


Recording Assessment Data

Teachers record assessment marks both formal and informal in their register. In house examination results are included on the school report to parents in December/January and at the end of the school year.

The resource teacher records a comment on the school report on the progress of students receiving learning support/resource teaching.

The resource teacher maintains files for the students with whom they work (Learning Support and Resource students). Included in these files are any additional assessments that the students may have taken.

Access to Assessment Records

The school is aware that some assessment material is of a sensitive nature and therefore it is treated confidentially and only made available to appropriate personnel.

The resource teacher manages a significant amount of the assessment information for students with SEN. Relevant information is disseminated as deemed appropriate.

Monitoring Arrangements

The responsibility for monitoring student progress lies in the first instance with the subject teacher. Subject teachers may liaise with Year Heads if they have a concern about a student in their group.

Evaluation

The successes of any intervention strategies are monitored on an ongoing basis through formal and informal assessment. The SEN department consults with students, parents, teachers and year heads as required.

Involvement of Parents

The school regards the partnership with parents as a very important one and is always open and responsive to expressions of concern made by parents. Parents are invited and encouraged to attend any meeting concerning their son’s progress. The Principal, Year Head and Resource Teacher are available, by appointment, to meet with parents regarding concerns. Parents are encouraged to discuss any issues or concerns with the school at the earliest opportunity.

The school values the collaboration of parents with the school in the provision of support for students with SEN. To this end:

It expects parents, at the earliest opportunity, to supply the school with copies of all relevant reports in order to facilitate such support. The school, when appropriate, will inform parents of their child's special educational needs and how those are being met.Consult with parents with regard to the making of all decisions of a significant nature concerning their son's education and invite them to participate in such decisions.

The Special Needs Team is in regular contact with the parents of students with special educational needs. This contact can take the form of a meeting or a telephone call.

The Special Needs Team endeavours to contact parents at least once each term Students receive a school report on two occasions in the school year. There is one parent teacher meeting each year where parents have the opportunity to meet with all teachers. The resource teacher makes herself available to all parents on these evenings.

Links with Outside Agencies and Services

At present the school works with the following outside agencies:

  • Special Educational Needs Support Service
  • National Education Psychology Service
  • Special Council for Special Education
  • State Examination Commission
  • HSE Social Worker team
  • LCVP Support Service
  • Visiting Teacher Service
  • Lucena
  • HSE-, Clinical Psychologist
  • Enable Ireland
  • Association for Higher Education Access and Disability
  • Irish Learning Support Teachers Association
  • The school will further develop links with outside agencies as the needs of the students dictate.

Individual Education Plans

The IEP process is currently the responsibility of the resource teacher. Students in receipt of learning support under the general allocation have a short form IEP detailing their educational profile and learning needs. Group learning support targets for the term are drawn up. Students allocated resource hours have a long IEP and individual targets. Students in the ASD unit have form IEP and individual targets.

The IEP process is a collaborative exercise.

Collating Relevant Information

The Resource teacher collaborates with parents, students and all relevant personnel working with the student in order to identify learning needs. The following people would be invited to the planning meeting:

  • Parent/Guardian
  • Any outside agency working with the student
  • Resource teacher
  • The SNA

It may be useful for the following people to attend:

  • The principal
  • Students (for some part of the meeting)

At this meeting the learning needs are highlighted and the targets for the student are decided. An IEP is drawn up and a copy is sent home with proposed targets. A final copy is kept on file. Targets are reviewed termly and amended as required. A short form version of the IEP is given to staff.

Ratified on 23 May 2012

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Coolgreaney Rd,
Arklow,
Co. Wicklow,
Y14 RV04

0402 32 564


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