Whole School Policy for SEN Provision




This Policy on SEN Provision in Kilfenora N.S., was formulated taking cognisance of directives contained in:

•the 1998 Education Act;

•the Learning-Support Guidelines (2000);

•the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (EPSEN) 2004;

•Recent Department of Education and Skill Circulars, especially Circular 13/17 and 02/05.

•The Draft Policy was discussed and further developed by the teaching staff of Kilfenora NS on: 02-02-2018

•The Policy was discussed, accepted and ratified by the Board of Management of Kilfenora NS


Kilfenora NS was allocated two Support Teachers in September 2017 under the New Model (combined Learning-Support / Resource Teachers). One teacher is shared with a neighbouring school. Our school has been allocated three SNAs.  


Aims of SEN Support.

•To support the inclusion of SEN pupils in primary schools

•To ensure that the Staged Approach / NEPS Continuum of Support is implemented

•To provide supplementary teaching and additional support in English and / or Mathematics

•To enable pupils to participate in the full curriculum

•To encourage differentiation in the classroom

•To develop positive self-esteem and positive attitudes about school and learning in pupils

•To support attainment, and behavioural, social and emotional functioning

•To enable pupils to monitor their own learning and become independent


•To involve parents in supporting their children through effective parent-support programmes

•To promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of whole-school policies on learning support for pupils

•To establish early intervention programmes designed to enhance learning and to prevent / reduce difficulties in learning

•To guard the self-esteem and self-image of the learner.



The school recognises that effective learning programmes are based on the following principles:

•Effective whole school policies

•Whole school involvement

•Prevention of failure at infant level

•Provision of intensive early intervention up to and including second class

•Direction of resources towards pupils in greatest need



Withdrawal Model:

•1:1 interventions (vital when e.g. difficulties are very significant; when pupil needs do not match to form a small group)

•Small group interventions


In-Class Support Model:

•Collaboration between Teachers

•Maintenance of Support Plans

•Thorough Assessment procedures

•Regular contact with SEN pupils

•Manageable caseloads / timetables

•Prevention of failure

•Support from Outside Agencies

•Continuing Professional Development (CPD)


Roles and Responsibilities

The role of supporting learning is a collaborative responsibility shared by all of the school community. It is important that everyone contributes to the implementation of our school plan on SEN Provision.

Role of the Board of Management:

1.Oversee the development, implementation and review of the SEN policy.

2.Ensure that satisfactory classroom accommodation is provided for the Support Teachers.

3.Ensure that teaching resources are provided for the Support Teachers.

4.Provide adequate funds for the purchase of SEN materials

5.Provide secure facilities for the storage of records relating to pupils in receipt of SEN.



Role of the Principal Teacher:

•Assume overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the school’s policies on special needs in co-operation with the Support Teachers.

•Work with teachers and Parents in the development of the school plan on learning-support and special needs.

•Monitor the implementation of the school plan on SEN and special needs on an ongoing basis.

•Monitor the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, ensuring that this service is focused on the pupils with very low achievement.

•Keep teachers informed about the external assessment services that are available and the procedures to be followed for initial referrals.

•Help teachers to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of learning-support.

•Arrange for the provision of SEN funding and resources.

•Complete application forms for outside agencies such as NCSE; NEPS; CAMHS etc….

•Liaise with external agencies such as psychological services to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs.

•Co-ordinate and organise SNAs' work and timetabling.



The role of the Special Education Teacher:


•Monitoring the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching with the Principal, ensuring that support is focused on the pupils with very low achievement.

•Identifying the level of support that is needed to meet the pupil’s needs, in conjunction with the Principal, Class Teacher and Parents.


•Overseeing the implementation of a whole-school assessment and screening programme to identify pupils with very low achievement and learning difficulties so that these pupils can be provided with the support they need.

•Administering  a whole-school screening programme to identify pupils with very low achievement and / or learning difficulties in English and Mathematics

•Consulting with Class Teachers on the identification of pupils who may need diagnostic assessment, taking into account:

•the pupils’ scores on an appropriate standardised screening measure

•agreed criteria for identifying pupils

•teachers’ own views of the pupils’ difficulties and needs

•Support Teacher caseload.

•Co-ordinating comprehensive diagnostic assessment for each pupil who has been identified as experiencing low achievement and / or learning difficulties.

•Maintaining assessment tests.

•Ordering standardised assessment scripts each year.

•Maintaining the results of standardised assessment each year and share the results with the Principal Teacher.

•Advising Class Teachers about baseline and screening assessments in September each year, when requested.

Co-ordination Activities:

1.Maintaining a list of pupils who are receiving supplementary teaching at each stage of support - Classroom Support / School Support / School Support Plus.

2.Advising Parents on procedures for availing of special needs services, when requested.

3.Advising Class Teachers on procedures for availing of special needs services, when requested.

4.Liaising with external agencies such as psychological services to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs.

5.Supporting the Principal Teacher to implement a tracking system at whole-school level to monitor the progress of children with learning difficulties.

6.Completing application forms for outside agencies such as NCSE; NEPS; CAMHS etc…, in collaboration with Class Teachers and the Principal Teacher, as required.

7.Advising on effective timetabling practices that ensures continuity when requested.

8.Advising on Transition, when requested.


The Support Teacher’s activities should include, where possible:


•Providing supplementary teaching commensurate with the child’s particular and individual needs.

•Researching the pupil’s learning difficulty / SEN, to become au fait with this impediment to learning.

•Implementing suitable recommendations from outside agencies, wherever possible, and liaise with outside agencies pertinent to the children on their caseload.

•Developing a Support Plan for each pupil who is selected for supplementary teaching, in consultation with Class Teachers and Parents.

•Maintaining a Forward Planner and Progress Record, or equivalent, for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of support.

•Maintaining a Forward Planner and Progress Record (together with the Class Teacher) for In-Class support.

•Providing supplementary teaching in English and / or Mathematics to pupils who experience low achievement and / or learning difficulties at School Support / School Support Plus (as per Selection Criteria).

•Delivering intensive early intervention programmes, caseload and selection criteria permitting.

•Assisting the implementation of whole-school procedures for the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching.

•Contributing to the development of policy on SEN at the whole school level / at the cluster level, if requested.

•Providing advice to the Class Teacher (if requested) about pupils who are experiencing learning difficulties in such areas as:

•Individual pupil assessment

•Programme planning

•Curriculum differentiation

•Approaches to language development

•Approaches to reading

•Approaches to spelling

•Approaches to writing

•Approaches to Mathematics

•Behaviour difficulties

•Meeting with Class Teachers of each pupil who is in receipt of School Support / School Support Plus, to discuss targets and ways in which attainment of the targets can be supported throughout the school day.

•Meeting with Parents of each pupil who is in receipt of support, if possible, to discuss targets and ways in which attainment of the targets can be supported at home.

•To review the pupil’s attainment of agreed targets

•To discuss the next instructional term

•To revise the pupil’s Support Plan.

•Contributing at the school level to decision making regarding the purchase of learning resources, books and materials to be made available to pupils with learning difficulties in their mainstream classrooms and in the Support Teacher’s room.

•Liaising with external agencies such as speech and language therapists etc…

•Implementing school policies on preventing learning difficulties, screening pupils for learning difficulties, interpreting the outcomes of diagnostic assessments and providing supplementary teaching, where it is deemed necessary.

•In addition to providing supplementary teaching to pupils, the Support Teacher is involved in administering a range of formal and informal assessments and in maintaining records of the outcomes of those assessments. The Support Teachers shall:

•Conduct an initial diagnostic assessment of each pupil who has been identified as having low achievement and / or a learning difficulty, based on results of an appropriate screening measure and record the findings of the assessment in the pupil’s Support Plan.

•Monitor the ongoing progress of each pupil in receipt of supplementary teaching in relation to the attainment of agreed learning targets and short-term objectives that arise from them, and record the observations.



Role of the Class Teacher:

•The Class Teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in her / his class, including those selected for supplementary teaching.

•Grouping pupils for instruction

•Providing lower-achieving pupils with strategies for reading, spelling and problem solving

•Adapting learning materials for lower-achieving pupils and higher achieving pupils (through differentiation)

•Liaising closely with their Parents.

•Varying the level, structure, mode of instruction and pace of lessons to meet individual needs

•Adapting lessons to take account of pupils’ interests

•Matching tasks to pupils’ abilities and needs

•Adapting and utilising resources, including the use of technology

•Placing an emphasis on oral language development across the curriculum

•Setting learning targets at an appropriate level


Role of the Special Needs Assistant (SNAs)

The purpose of the SNA scheme is to provide for the significant additional care needs, which some pupils with special educational needs may have:

• Assistance with feeding: Where a pupil with special needs requires adult assistance and where the extent of assistance required would overly disrupt normal teaching time.

• Administration of medicine: Where a pupil requires adult assistance to administer medicine and where the extent of assistance required would overly disrupt normal teaching time.

• Assistance with toileting and general hygiene: Where a child with special needs cannot independently self-toilet, and until such time as they are able to do so.

• Assistance with mobility and orientation: On an ongoing basis including assisting a pupil or pupils to access the school, the classroom, with accessing school transport  or to help a pupil to avoid hazards in or surrounding the school.

• Assisting teachers to provide supervision in the class, playground and school grounds: At recreation, assembly, and dispersal times including assistance with arriving and departing from school for pupils with special needs where the school has made a robust case that existing teaching resources cannot facilitate such supervision.

• Non-nursing care needs associated with specific medical conditions.

• Care needs requiring frequent interventions including withdrawal of a pupil from a classroom when essential: This may be for safety or personal care reasons, or where a pupil may be required to leave the class for medical reasons or due to distress on a frequent basis.

• Assistance with moving and lifting of pupils, operation of hoists and equipment.

• Assistance with severe communication difficulties including enabling curriculum access for pupils with physical disabilities or sensory needs and those with significant, and identified social and emotional difficulties. Under the direction of the teacher, this might include assistance with assistive technology equipment, typing or handwriting, supporting transition, assisting with supervision at recreation, dispersal times etc.

The tasks noted above are the primary care support tasks for which access to SNA support is provided.




The associated support tasks which may be carried out include:

•Preparation and tidying of workspaces and classrooms or assisting a pupil who is not physically able to perform such tasks to prepare and tidy a workspace, to present materials, to display work, or to transition from one lesson activity to another. To assist with cleaning of materials.

•Assistance with the development of Personal Pupil Plans for pupils with Special Educational Needs, with a particular focus on developing a care plan to meet the care needs of the pupil concerned and the review of such plans.

•Assist Teachers and / or Principal in maintaining a journal and care monitoring system for pupils including details of attendance and care needs. Assist in preparation of school files and materials relating to care and assistance required in class by students with special needs.

•Planning for activities and classes where there may be additional care requirements associated with particular activities, liaising with Class Teachers and other Teachers such as the Resource Teacher and School Principal.

•Assistance to attend or participate in out of school activities: walks, or visits, where such assistance cannot be provided by teaching staff.


Role of Parents:

Parents can support the work of the school in supporting their child by:

1.Providing a home environment in which there are opportunities for adults and children to participate together in language, literacy and mathematical activities in the early years before formal schooling begins.

2.Supporting the work of the school by participating with their child in such activities as:

3.Book sharing / reading stories


5.Paired reading (listening to and giving supportive feedback on oral reading)

6.Discussions about school and other activities to build vocabulary and thinking skills

7.Writing lists and short accounts about children’s experiences

8.Counting and measuring and other activities involving number

9.Visits to the zoo, museum, library etc… to broaden the range of their child’s experiences

10.Using Information and Communications Technology (ICTs), where available, to support learning in English and / or Mathematics

11.Talking positively about school and school work.

12.Availing of real-life situations to discuss the importance of language, literacy and mathematics.

13.Modelling involvement in language, literacy and mathematical activities at home by engaging in and talking about these activities.

14.Working on agreed Targets at home.


Parents should keep the Class Teacher informed of the progress that they observe in their child’s learning. They should also let the school know of any learning difficulties that they observe in their child at home. If, following diagnostic assessment, the child has been identified as requiring supplementary teaching, the Parents should attend a meeting with the Support Teacher to discuss:


• The results of the assessment

• The learning targets in the child’s Support Plan

• The ways in which attainment of the targets can be supported at home.

Where a child is in receipt of supplementary teaching from the learning-support teacher, the Parents should:

• Discuss their child’s progress with the Support Teacher  and, in cases where supplementary teaching is to be continued, discuss the revised learning targets and activities in their child’s Support Plan.

• At the discontinuation of supplementary teaching, discuss with their child’s teachers how the child’s future learning needs can continue to be met at school and at home.


Identification of Learning Difficulties:

•The Class Teacher plays an important role in the initial identification of pupils who may have general or specific learning disabilities.

•In supporting the development and implementation of the school SEN Policy, the Class Teacher will administer and score appropriate screening measures, and discuss the outcomes with the Support Teacher(s).

•The Class Teacher will liaise closely with Parents and elicit relevant information from them regarding e.g. hearing / vision checks.

Screening Assessment and Supplementary Teaching:

We implement the Staged Approach to assessment, identification and programme planning as recommended by NEPS and Guidelines for Primary Schools.

Junior Infants undertake the teacher designed assessments in literacy.

Senior Infants undertake the MIST screening test during Term 2.

Senior Infants undertake the Drumcondra Literacy and Maths test in Term 3.

Classes 1-6 undertake the standardised non-referenced test- Micra T, Sigma T in May/June each year and the Drumcondra Spelling Test in Term 3.

The N.R.I.T is administered to 2nd and 5th class pupils in Term 1.

In selecting pupils for diagnostic assessment, priority is given to those pupil who score at or below the 25th percentile and to pupils from the Junior end of the school.



Stage 1 (Classroom Support)

Where the class teacher or parent may have concerns about a pupil’s development, screening tests and checklist are administered. Parental concern, class tests and teacher observation are also taken into account. A Continuum of Support file is opened for the child in which all interventions, reviews, successes and meetings with parents/professionals are recorded. A short simple plan is drawn up and implemented over an agreed period of time. The plan is adapted and reviewed as required. If the child fails to make progress, discussion takes place with parents and permission is sought to refer pupils to the Support Teacher for further diagnostic assessment.


Stage 2 (School Support)

If a concern remains after review of the classroom support plan, intervention at Stage 2-School Support will commence. Testing at stage 2 is completed by the SEN teacher and includes a range of diagnostic tests. If supplementary teaching is required, it is delivered by the SEN Teacher.


A plan is drawn up with the SEN teacher and will include:

•Provision of Supplementary Teaching and then review

•A shared expectation of success by all involved

•Small group teaching or individual teaching

•Intensity in terms of the pace of instruction and the frequency of lessons

•Focus on the area of the curriculum that the child is having difficulties with

•Monitor progress, review and document. Information to be shared with the class teacher and parents.

•If the pupil fails to respond to the interventions and significant concerns remain, discussion will take place between the SEN teacher, class teacher, parents and principal. Permission will be sought from the parent to refer the child to a relevant professional for assessment


Stage 3 (School Support Plus)

School Support Plus is the level of intervention for children with complex and/or diagnosed low incidence needs and whose levels of attainment and progress are considered inadequate despite carefully planned interventions at previous level. If significant concerns remain after a number of reviews and adaptations to the School Support Programme then it may be necessary  to provide intervention at stage 3. In the case of pupils with severe or emotional or behavioural difficulties more urgent action may be needed. In these caes, Stage 2 may be passed over and the child moved to Stage 3.

•The SEN teacher co-ordinates the referral of pupils to outside agencies, eg. Educational Psychologist.

•The Principal and/or SEN teacher and /or Class Teacher meet with parents to discuss the need for referral and to seek consent for their child to go forward for assessment.

•Occasionally depending on the nature of the concern the Principal may request the parents to make referral themselves through the GP.

•The Class Teacher completes the necessary referral form in consultation with the appropriate school personnel and parents/guardians will be consulted and asked to fill in the relevant sections. These forms will then be forwarded to the relevant professional.

•The external professional visits the school to meet with the pupil, parents, Principal, Class Teacher and the SEN Teacher as appropriate.

•This is followed by a return visit at which findings are discussed, the assessment is conducted, recommendations are considered and an appropriate response is agreed.

•Priority for assessments will be given to those children identified by the staff as being most in need.  Parents may choose to have assessments done privately.

•The recommendations in the ensuing assessment and the precise nature of each individual child’s special education needs will be carefully considered by all partners in the drawing up of the intervention programme for the student.

•An IEP will be developed, implemented and reviewed for students who fall into this category.

•The SEN teacher, in conjunction with the class teacher, will prepare this educational plan or a behaviour modification plan, for the child based on their needs.

•Parents and guardians will be consulted in the drawing up of the plan.

•The SEN teacher and the class teacher will review the plan and the progress of the child. The SNA, where applicable will be consulted.

•If necessary, new targets will be set for the child. Re-testing using diagnostic tests may take place.

•Continuing, reducing or discontinuing supplementary teaching will be decided at the review meeting.





Communicating with Parents:

In the case of each pupil who has been identified as experiencing low achievement and / or a learning difficulty following administration of an appropriate screening measure the school should should:

•Make Parents aware of concerns about their child’s progress.

•Outline the support that is available to pupils who experience low achievement and / or learning difficulties (Classroom Support / School Support or School Support Plus).

•Inform Parents that a meeting with the Support Teacher(s) and / or the Class Teacher will follow.

•Attend, if possible, the meeting between the pupil’s Parents and the Support Teacher(s).

•Collaborate with Parents and Support Teachers on the formation of a Support Plan.

•Indicate to Parents how the pupil’s class programme will be modified in order to achieve the agreed learning targets in the pupil’s Support Plan.

•Parental permissions for school-based tests / assessments is sought.



Prevention Strategies.

Our strategies for preventing learning difficulties include:

•The development of agreed approaches to the teaching of English and Mathematics in order to ensure progression and continuity from class to class.

•Careful development of phonological awareness and rhyming skills in the classroom, before the introduction of formal reading of words and books.

•The use of concrete materials at every opportunity.

•Implementation of whole school parental involvement programmes e.g. developing children’s oral language skills; shared reading at home; developing early mathematical skills

•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

•Close collaboration and consultation between the Infant Teachers and the Support Teachers.

•Thorough Assessment procedures throughout the school

•Provision of additional support in language development / early literacy / early mathematical skills to pupils who need it


Early Intervention Programmes.

•Early intervention programmes may be provided by the Class Teacher and / or by the Support Teacher.

•Close collaboration and consultation between the Class Teachers and the Support Teachers, should 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 at Classroom Support / School Support level.

•Involve small group teaching or one-to-one teaching where small group teaching has not been effective / difficulties are significant

•Include a strong focus on oral language, laying the foundation for meaningful reading activities and further development of language and comprehension skills

•Emphasise the development of phonemic awareness

•Develop phonic skills, once phonological awareness has been developed well

•Develop word identification skills

•Stress the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading and writing

•Focus on language development in mathematics, and in the development of mathematical procedures and concepts.


Parental Permissions:

Written parental permissions are required for children to receive School Support / School Support Plus.


Selection Criteria:

Selection Criteria for Providing Pupils with Additional Teaching Support:

•Standardised tests can be used to screen and identify pupils’ performance in reading and mathematics. Those pupils performing below the 25th percentile should be prioritised for support in literacy and numeracy.

•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 who have a professional diagnosis.  

•Pupils with significant Special Educational Needs. For example, pupils with significant learning, behavioural, emotional, physical and sensory needs.

•Pupils who have additional literacy or language learning needs including those pupils who need additional English Additional language Support.


Continuing and Discontinuing Supplementary Teaching.:

• Supplementary teaching will normally be discontinued where the targets have been met and the pupil (on assessment) is performing above the percentile laid down in the selection criteria for receiving support.

• The school may decide to discontinue supplementary teaching with some pupils (who have made satisfactory progress), in order for the Support Teacher to provide early intervention / prevention for Senior Infants, after for example the analysis of the MIST screening test.

• Support may be discontinued for children with diagnosed specific  learning difficulties/high incidence disabilities who are consistently preforming above the 25th percentile.

• Due consideration will be given to the overall needs of the school and all of its pupils. Support for 6th class pupils may be discontinued no later than the end of the first term.


Monitoring Progress:

Monitoring the academic progress of the pupils in this school will be accomplished by:

• Ongoing structured observation and assessment of the language, literacy and numeracy skills of the pupils in the infant classes to facilitate early identification or possible learning difficulties by the Class Teacher.

• Formal and informal testing and observation of work by the Class Teacher.

• Implementing the school policies on screening and the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching in English and / or in Mathematics by administering and scoring appropriate measures.

• Standardised assessments administered by the Class Teacher.

• Diagnostic testing administered by the Support Teacher.

• Support Plans.

• Non-academic progress of pupils in this school can be reviewed informally, for example under the headings of improvements in the pupil’s self-esteem; school attendance; attitude to learning; attitude to school and general behaviour.


Record Keeping

A file containing pertinent details of children at stages 2 and 3 will be kept in a secure place. These files will be made available on request to Principal, Class Teacher and Parents. Files will be stored until the pupil reaches the age of 25.


Transition of pupils to another school/second level

The transfer of pupil files will occur only with permission of the parents. Copies of reports, etc will be delivered by parents to the school at their own discretion.


Lunchtime Supervision

If the shared Support Teachers have opted in to this scheme, he / she will complete lunchtime supervision at their base school only.

Travelling Time

The shared Support Teachers will ensure that the time spent travelling between schools is kept to the minimum possible, while providing regular support to pupils.


Review of this SEN Policy

This policy will be reviewed every two years.