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Special Educational Needs Policy

Presentation NS                              Roll: 10835K

Presentation National School is a primary school that is co-educational up to first class and single sex girls from thereon.  It is under the patronage of the dioceses of Ossory and the trusteeship of the Presentation Congregation. It is an ‘ordinary’ mainstream primary school, catering for a full cross section of children. The purpose of this SEN policy is to provide practical guidance for teachers, parents and other interested parents on the provision of effective learning support to pupils experiencing low achievement and / or learning difficulties, as well as to fulfil our obligations under the Education Act 1998, Equal Status Act 2000, Education Welfare Act 2000 and the Education for Persons with Disabilities Act 2004.

For the school year 2016/17 the school currently has the following provisions to cater for children with Special Education Needs:

  • One Full Time Learning Support Teacher
  • 1 Resource Teachers for children with Special Educational Needs based in our school and shared with Boys’ NS, Castlecomer, St. Patrick’s NS, Clogh and Johnswell NS.
  • Special Needs Assistants.

Implementation and Review
The implementation of this Policy will commence in September 2016. It will be reviewed at the end of every third school year, or as circumstances may warrant.


This policy will be available on our school web site or can be viewed in hard copy in the school.  Parents are made aware of the existence of the SEN policy through the medium of the school newsletter.

The principal aim of Learning Support is to optimise the teaching and learning process so as to enable pupils with learning difficulties to achieve adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy before leaving primary school.

Specific Objectives of Learning Support
Through the implementation of this policy we strive to:

  • Facilitate pupils to participate in the full curriculum for their class level
  • Develop positive self-esteem and positive attitudes to school and learning
  • Enable pupils to monitor their own learning and become independent learners within their own ability
  • Involve parents in supporting their children’s learning
  • Promote collaboration among teachers.
Guiding principles
The school recognises that effective learning programmes are based on the following principles:
  • Effective whole-school policies
  • Whole school involvement
  • Prevention of children falling far behind at infant level
  • Provision of intensive early intervention up to and including second class
  • Direction of resources towards pupils in greatest need.
Prevention Strategies/Early Intervention
We adopt early intervention strategies as we believe it is very important to assess and identify children who may experience difficulty as early as possible in order to offset difficulties and to try to ensure that a big gap does not develop for them early on.
  • The development and implementation of agreed whole school approaches to languages development e.g. phonological awareness, phonics and to the teaching of other aspects of English
  • From Junior Infants to first class there will be targeted interventions in literacy:


Junior Infants
Senior Infants
First Class
Term 1

Pre assessments
Fine motor skills station teaching (Pre writing patterns, cutting skills, playdough, threading beads,etc)
Letter names
Letter sounds
Post intervention assessments

Revision of alphabet letter names and sounds (September/October)

Reading books pitched at appropriate level (e.g. First Sails/ Oxford Reading Tree level 1)
Using picture cues and  sentence cues to read text.
Increasing number of sight words in context

Reading Recovery for individual pupils
LLO pre assessment
Reading groups
Levelled readers
Post assessment
LS teacher & CT

Term 2

Mixed ability group work/ station teaching:
Big Books/Sound blending with magnetic letters/Initial letter sounds (workbooks and apps on Ipods)

LLO pre assessment
Reading groups
Levelled readers
Post assessment MIST
(LS teacher & CT)

Levelled group work
for reading & writing
(class teacher)

Term 3

Literacy stations: Reading in mixed ability groups (Sails First Wave Emergent Readers)
Using knowledge of first letter sounds and picture cues to read text/Some sight words in context)/ Sound blending with magnetic letters/ Initial letter sounds (Worksheets and Ipod apps)
Assessment of:
Lower case and Uppercase letter names.
Letter sounds
Targeted intervention for at risk pupils in late May/June

Reading Recovery
Pupils withdrawn for
targeted work.
(LS teacher)

Levelled group work
for reading & writing
(class teacher)

  • The development and implementation of agreed whole school approaches to the teaching of aspects of Maths, e.g. our whole school approach to the Language of Problem Solving at senior level and ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ Maths at infant level, support for multi class situations.


  • Supporting pupils’ to develop social and communication skills and mental resilience through supporting in-class programmes such as Fun Friends and Friends for Life and whole school initiatives such as Friendship week
  • Promotion of parental understanding and involvement through their attendance at an induction meeting for the parents of incoming Junior Infants, the provision of Tips for Parents handouts, the arrangement of formal and informal Parent-Teacher Meetings, and provision of regular school newsletter and blogging on our website as well as ongoing collaboration with Parents’ Association


Roles and Responsibilities

In attempting to achieve the above objectives the BOM, Principal and staff will take all reasonable steps within the limits of the resources available to fulfil the requirements outlined in this policy document.


Board of Management

The BOM will fulfil its statutory duties towards pupils with special needs. It will ensure that the provision required is an integral part of the school development plan. Members will be knowledgeable about the school’s SEN provision – funding, equipment and personnel.



The principal has overall responsibility for the day- to- day management of provision. She will work closely with the support teachers and will keep the BOM informed about the working of this policy. She will encourage members of staff to participate in training to help them meet the objectives of this policy. In consultation with the support teachers, she will liaise with the SENO with regard to support hours and is responsible for personnel appointments. 

SEN Team
In our school the SEN team consists of the full time LS teacher, the RT and the Principal.  The SEN team will
  • Oversee the day to day operation of the SEN policy
  • Coordinate provision for children with special educational needs
  • Liaise with and advise fellow teachers and contribute to in service training of staff
  • Liaise with and advise SNAs with regard to supporting children with special needs
  •  Liaise with parents of children with special needs
  • Monitor and evaluate SEN provision
  • Facilitate planning for class teacher with support teacher
  • Oversee the records of all children with special needs
  • Liaise with external agencies including the psychology services – organising assessments
  • Liaise with the health and social services


Responsibilities of Staff

All staff should be fully aware of the content of this policy and of the procedures described below. Appropriate in - service will be sourced and promoted. As of September 2016, all teachers in our school involved with SEN will be known as Support teachers.

The school aims to meet the needs of any child whom the parent wishes to register at the school as long as a place is available and the admission criteria are fulfilled. The Education for Persons with Disabilities Act 2004 states that “A child is entitled to attend the school which is most suited to his or her overall needs”. Parents are required to notify the school of their child’s special needs in advance of enrolment through the Principal. The Board of Management will request a copy of the child’s medical or psychological report/any other assessments. No child can be refused admission solely on the grounds that he/she has SEN except where the provision required is incompatible with that available in our school.

Stages of Assessment and Provision

Access to the school’s broad and balanced curriculum is achieved for most children by differentiation of class work by the class teacher. The first line of responsibility for the progress of all pupils in the class lies with the class teacher. However when a class teacher is concerned about a child he/she should consult with either the principal/LS teacher with the aim of identifying appropriate interventions that are additional or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum. Provision will be made to release class teachers to enable consultation to occur.  From September 2016 Friday at 2pm will be allocated in the LS and Principal’s timetable for consultation with teachers or parents by appointment or meetings of the SEN team.

Stage One - Classroom Support Plan (Record of Differentiated Support in class)

Class teachers will always discuss their concerns with the child’s parents and the classroom support plan will be developed in consultation with them.

The triggers for this intervention could be;
  • The child makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are directed at an identified area of weakness
  • The child shows signs of difficulty in developing literacy and numeracy skills, which result in poor attainment
  • Persistent emotional or behavioural difficulties which do not respond to behaviour management techniques used by the school
  • Has sensory or physical difficulties
  • Has communication and / or relationship difficulties.

The class teacher will develop and monitor the Classroom Support Plan (template taken from the NEPs Special Educational Needs- a Continuum of Support book) for at least half a school term and a maximum of a school term. The development of the plan can be supported by the checklists and resources provided in the aforementioned book.  If at review concerns remain, the teacher will continue to the next stage with the exception of Junior Infants where it may be determined that a further period of classroom support is needed. Classroom support plans will be stored in the orange folder and transferred to a file in the principal’s office if/when pupil moves to school support plus stage. 

Stage Two -School Support
In cases where the Record of Classroom Support indicates that progress has not improved or if the results of tests (M.I.S.T. Micra T, Sigma T , Infant teacher assessment and observation) indicate this to be the case, intervention in the form of a support teacher will be accessed. Again, class teachers will discuss their concerns with the child’s parents. The action taken will be as follows:

  • The class teacher and support teacher will consult to develop a school support plan (template in the NEPs SEN – A Continuum of Support book) with achievable targets to be implemented by the class teacher and support teacher.
  • If there are others in the class with similar difficulties in one or more of the specific areas then a group educational plan will be implemented
  • These programmes will be reviewed and updated every half term
  • While every effort will be made to allow the SEN group / individual to remain included in class there may be a need to work part of the programme in the SEN room with the support teacher or class teacher. This withdrawal will be time limited and for specific purposes only(e.g. Reading Recovery)
  • Where progress is such that the child is no longer giving cause for concern the child or the child has received the maximum time allocation from the support teacher as per recommendations from programmes such as Reading Recovery.
Stage Three – School Support Plus
When it has been identified that a child is still struggling despite Classroom and School Support the class teacher in consultation with one or more members of the SEN team will seek advice from the school’s assigned NEPs psychologist, in consultation with the child’s parents.
  • A psychological assessment may be advised and arranged (see Education for Persons with Disability Act 2004)
  • Other outside agencies may need to be contacted, who will advise on a range of provision including IEP targets and strategies.
  • The triggers for intervention for resource could be that, despite receiving an individualised programme the child
    • Makes little or no progress over a long period of time
    • Continues to work at Primary Curriculum levels substantially below that of children of a similar age
    • Continues to have literacy and numeracy difficulties
    • Has emotional or behavioural difficulties which substantially and regularly interfere with the child’s learning, or that of other children, despite an appropriate behaviour management programme and IEP
    • Has sensory and/ or physical needs, and requires additional specialist equipment or regular visits from an advisory service
    • Has ongoing communication or relationship difficulties that prevent social development, and act as a barrier to learning.
  • If special educational needs are confirmed by the psychologist an application for resource hours will be forwarded to the SENO. The SENO will determine whether the child falls into the category of Lower Incidence or High Incidence. Lower incidences will be awarded resource hours while the school makes provision for High incidence cases under the GAM system.
  • If it is felt by the psychologist that a child is not coping in the classroom setting, a special needs assistant may be applied for.
  • If the psychologist recommends an exemption from Irish the child’s parents may request the principal to see to this under guidance from the DES.
Exceptional Circumstances
If an incoming pupil (in Junior Infants or another class) finds it challenging to function in a mainstream classroom and presents with obvious/urgent needs (i.e. a danger to themselves or others or presents as a flight risk) which have not yet been attended to or diagnosed, the following actions will be taken by a class teacher in consultation with the support teacher(s), principal and the parents of the child:
  • A classroom support plan will be put in place.
  • Advice may be sought from the school’s NEPs psychologist.
  • Simultaneously due to the needs being urgent the child may referred to HSE services for assessment for:
  • Assessment of Need by parents/guardians through the GP supported by a letter from the school outlining the causes for concern. 
  • Speech and Language – direct referral in writing by the class teacher co-signed by parent using a specific Speech and Language referral form.
  • Occupational Therapist – referred by parent through GP supported by a letter from the school outlining the causes for concern.


A school support plan or an IEP (whichever is most relevant) will be developed and implemented supported by the information from the above outside agencies.


Individual Education Plan
Based on Psychologist’s report, Classroom Support Plan and School Action Plan the support teacher in consultation with the class teacher, SNA (if assigned), parents and representatives of outside agencies (if necessary) formulate an Individual Education Plan (Template in Supporting Documents)

These IEPs which employ a small – steps approach, feature significantly in the provision that we make in school. By breaking down the existing levels of attainment into finely graded targets, we ensure that the child experiences success.
This plan includes:

  • the nature and degree of the child’s abilities and skills and the degree of the child’s special needs
  • the present level of performance
  • services to be provided
  • services for transition to 2nd level school and
  • the goals which the child is to achieve over a period three months.

The strategies set out in the IEP will, as far as possible, be implemented in the normal classroom setting.  However withdrawal is used when indicated by the needs of particular children.

The management of the IEP strategies will be the responsibility of the support teacher, class teacher and the principal.


Review of IEPs

The resource teacher will ensure that the review is conducted twice yearly. The class teacher will consult with the support teacher, the child (and SNA if appointed) and agree on the out comes of the IEP. A draft copy will be formulated and shared with parents at a meeting. The parents are invited to discuss and make recommendations to amend the draft copy if they so wish. Again, outside agencies may play a part in formulating the final copy. Once a final copy is agreed it will be circulated to all relevant parties.  All reviews will be recorded on the IEP form.

Where progress is satisfactory it may be decided that the child remains in Resource. Where the child is consistently achieving targets over time, a decision may be made to revert to School Support.
The review in May will formulate an IEP which will be part of the plan for the next teacher in September. It will be carried out as outlined above. IEPs for children moving to 2nd level will be used at the consultation meetings with the 2nd level representative.



We are fully committed to the principle of inclusion and the good practice, which makes it possible. Our policy, as set out in this document, will enable children with SEN to be an integral part of our school community


Involving Parents/Carers and Children.
Parents/carers are encouraged to be fully involved at all times in their child’s education. If they have any concerns they are encouraged to make an appointment to see the class teacher, support teacher, Principal or Deputy Principal.

The views of parents/carers will be sought at all stages of assessment and provision.  Whenever and wherever possible the views of the child will be ascertained and the child will be directly involved in the process.

If parents have a complaint about the Special Education provision made, then they should in the first instance make an appointment to speak to the SEN co-ordinator and then the Principal.

The complaint will be investigated and dealt with as early as possible. If the matter is not resolved to the parents’ satisfaction, then the matter proceeds to the BoM.

Monitoring and Reviewing
The BOM will ensure that SEN provision is an integral part of the school development plan and will review the policy every three years. The following will inform the review:

  • The standards obtained by children with special needs
  • The number of children at each of the three stages: Differentiation within Class, School Action and Resource
  • The level and pattern of help (i.e. average time allocated and the balance of in-class and withdrawal support)
  • Views of parents
  • Visits from specialist teachers
  • Staff views on in-service
  • Children’s views


Valerie Landy assumes responsibility for ensuring this review takes place.

The school staff engaged with the draft policy on the 19th May, it was presented to the Parents’ Council for consultation on Tuesday, May 30th and it was then ratified at BOM level on the 9th June.

Signed: Pat Parle                                   Date: 9/6/2016
Chairperson of the BOM


Presentation Convent N.S. Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.
Phone:056 444 1426 E-mail:
Website by Graham Kenny