Killavullen NS
Educating in a joyful, positive and secure setting

Every child has needs; social, emotional, academic, behavioural, physical, etc. and more than half of children require additional support at some stage in primary school. This support is broadly called Special Education and is delivered by Special Education Teachers (SETs), Class Teachers and Special Needs Assitants (SNAs).

Special Education – How are supports delivered?

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) was set up to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children. The Council was first established as an independent statutory body by order of the Minister for Education and Science in December 2003.

Originally the service was delivered through the national network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) who interacted with parents and schools and liaised with the HSE in providing resources to support children with special educational needs.

2017 – A New Model of Support

From September 2017, there is a new model in place to support pupils with additional educational needs in all mainstream primary schools as per the guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and the National Council for Special Educational Needs (NCSE). While the full details of this model may be downloaded from www.education.ie (DES website), The following information will be of use to you as a reference guide to this new model.

What is the goal of this new model?

The goal of this new model is to allocate and deploy additional teaching resources for students with additional educational needs in a fair and more equitable way.

Who decides on how teaching supports are allocated?

Schools are responsible for deciding how additional teaching supports are deployed in a way that facilitates the development of inclusive schools and caters for all students who require additional supports. The deployment of resources is based on pupils’ identified needs and is informed by regular reviews of their progress, in consultation with their parents and external professional bodies where applicable.

How are students identified for additional support?

The professional judgment of teachers based on school assessments (class work, homework, general class interaction); standardised test results and other forms of assessment; input from parents as well as information from professional reports (where available) inform all decisions in relation to identifying pupils for additional supports.

Who are the students that will receive additional support?

The individual needs of all students are catered for through differentiation in the classroom. Students with significant difficulties in the areas of Academic Competence, Social, Emotional and Behavioural Competence, Physical and Sensory Competence will receive additional support. Those with the greatest level of need, particularly pupils with Complex Needs, will receive the greatest level of support.

What type of support will pupils receive?

Differentiation has always been a key factor in an effective learning environment. The class teacher has responsibility for all pupils. Strategies used in the classroom to cater for the needs of all students and the wide variety of learning styles include tiered assignments, the use of technology, varied questioning and flexible grouping. Differentiation strategies promote inclusive learning and apply to all curricular areas.

Team Teaching

Small Group Teaching (inside or outside the classroom)

One to one teaching

While some pupils will require ongoing support, others may require support in a specific area for a shorter period of time. Progress will be monitored carefully and the level and type of support will be adjusted accordingly.

Student Support Files

Teachers plan carefully and they track and review the progress of all pupils. In the case of pupils with additional needs, this progress is recorded into a template recommended by this new model called the Student Support File (formerly IEPs, Individual Education Plans). The class teacher, support teacher, parents, pupil, external support services (where applicable) will all be involved in this process. Ongoing, meaningful engagement between the school, parents and external support services is essential in supporting all pupils, particularly pupils with additional needs.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher and we  will be happy to meet with you to discuss further.

Special Education Teachers

We go to great lengths to cater for all of the children in our care. Student Support Plans (formerly IEPs) are drawn up to ensure a carefully planned programme is in place for pupils with Additional Needs. The school has an active Special Needs Policy. We work hard to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, suitably differentiated to meet the needs of all children. Teachers monitor, assess and records children’s learning and progress regularly using formative and summative assessment in order to provide a baseline and set targets for future learning and to keep parents informed.

The SEN Team liaises closely with all Staff and parents and all class teachers to ensure all children’s needs are being met. We support the staff with the formulation of Student Support Plans and resources. We liaise closely with pre-schools to identify children with individual needs. Should a child’s problems present as complex, then the school enlists the help of outside professionals and through the school’s NEPS psychologist, Gerard Lennon. We also work closely with a variety of outside agencies, such as CAMHS, HSE, Mallow Primary Health Care, Early Intervention, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and St. Joseph’s Foundation, Charleville to identify and address individual needs.

 

Special needs assistants (SNAs) play an important role in assisting the teacher to support students with additional educational needs who have significant care needs. They are allocated to the school and work under the direction of the principal/teachers. The SNA usually supports a number of students with care needs in the school.

SNA allocation for schools in 2021/22 school year

Following a recommendation from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) In December 2019, Government approved the national roll out of a new frontloading model for the allocation of special needs assistants (SNAs) support to primary and post-primary schools for students in mainstream classes, with effect from the 2020/21 school year, as part of the phased roll out of the School Inclusion Model (see the next tab).

With the onset of Covid-19 and the closure of school buildings from March 2020 and the resulting disruption to schools and the system as a whole, it was decided to defer the full introduction of the Model by one year i.e. to the commencement of the 2021/22 school year.

SNA allocations were maintained at their 2019/20 (April 2020) levels for 2020/21 with provision for additionality where necessary and an exceptional review process was developed.

During this school year, as a result of the pandemic it has not been possible to hold planned workshops and consultations on the introduction of the new allocation model.

Accordingly, the Department has decided that the introduction of the frontloaded model will be deferred for one more year i.e. to the commencement of the 2022/23 school year.

SNA allocations for 2021/22 school year will be based on the actual number of SNAs employed by a school on 30 April 2021 and the allocation on that date will be rolled over into 2021/22. No school will receive a reduced allocation.

As in previous years, there will be provision for schools to apply to the NCSE for additionality where exceptional circumstances give rise to new care needs that cannot be catered for within existing allocations.

The frontloading of SNAs for mainstream classes is a key part of the School Inclusion Model.  The Department and NCSE are committed to its introduction as part of the development of that Model.

The NCSE is planning for the provision of workshops and information sessions for schools in early 2022 so schools can plan for introduction of the new allocation model from September 2022.

School Inclusion Model

School Inclusion Model – a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs – aims to build schools’ capacity to include children with additional needs and to provide other supports for pupils.

Seventy-five schools, both primary and post-primary, in Kildare, Wicklow and South Dublin were invited to participate in this new research-based package of education and health supports which were being piloted and evaluated in the 2019/20 school year.

Key features of the School Inclusion Model are:

  • A new frontloading allocation model for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs). A profiling system for Special Education Teaching will be used to allocate resources, breaking the link with the need for an assessment. An appeals mechanism will be included to deal with exceptional cases in schools.
  • National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) will be expanded to provide more intensive support. Additional psychologists will be recruited for the pilot, giving greater access to the full range of in-school supports for students with complex educational needs.
  • SNAs will be offered a new National Training Programme. It will be designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge to support students with additional care needs arising from significant medical, physical, emotional/behavioural, sensory, communication and other significant difficulties that pose a barrier to participating in school life. The training will emphasise the need for students to develop independence and resilience.
  • A new national nursing service for children with complex medical needs in schools. A cross agency planning group is to be established to develop the scope for the scheme, develop an application procedure for schools and plan for how the service is to be delivered. The new service will complement current provision provided through community based services.
  • A Regional Support Team has been set up for schools in the pilot, under the auspices of the NCSE. The team includes 4 Speech and Language Therapists, 2 Occupational Therapists and 4 Behaviour Support practitioners. A further 19 Speech and Language Therapists and 12 Occupational Therapists who deliver supports within schools.
  • Consultation with schools, teachers and parents.

The trial of this innovative School Inclusion Model will test and evaluate broader and more holistic education and health supports for children with special and additional care needs.

This new model will complement community provision for children with additional needs and allow health care professionals to work with schools and teachers in a setting familiar to children.

Update – 11th May 2021

The introduction of the frontloaded model for the allocation of special needs assistants will be deferred to the commencement of the 2022/23 school year.

This has occurred as during the pandemic period it has not been possible to provide the necessary information and training to support the implementation of the new model in schools.

Summer (July) Provision

Summer Provision, or the July Provision/Education Programme, is a funding initiative run by the Department of Education & Skills (DES) for schools to provide special education throughout July. This enables students in those schools with SENs to learn at a pace more suitable to their needs and focuses on areas where they might be struggling in, such as a particular subject or life skill.

July Provision is usually offered to autistic children enrolled in special schools or mainstream primary and post-primary schools with an autism/special class and to students with a profound learning disability.

In 2020, the DES extended the Summer Provision programme to include children with Complex Needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage. The enhanced summer provision programmes will comprise both programmes running in summer 2021 that were also in place in summer 2020, and new programmes. The programmes are specific to 2021, as a Covid-response measure.

Not every school will take part in the Programme, even if they have students which meet the criteria. A home-based summer programme will continue to be available for children with complex needs where their schools are not providing a school based programme.The teaching and learning provided by the programme is largely based on the school support plan for the individual child.

The total funding available to provide the programme is up to €40 million, a one hundred per cent increase on the allocation for summer provision in 2020. The programme’s aims are to support pupils to re-engage with education, to build their confidence and increase their motivation, promote wellbeing and for some who are at key transition stages, help to ensure they can move on to their planned educational placement next September along with their peers.

The Government decision, to significantly expand the summer programme is a specific response to the pandemic, and offers important education provision this summer to children who really need and it. The summer 2020 programme was extremely successful and its benefit was felt when children re-integrated into their education settings in September. It is the largest summer programme there has ever been and for the first time, every student with complex needs across all primary and post-primary schools will be eligible to take part.

The five key strands of the programme will run, as follows:

  • Numeracy and literacy camps in DEIS primary schools
  • School based summer programme in primary schools with special classes and special schools.
  • Home based provision for children with complex needs where no school based programme is available;
  • All primary schools (DEIS and non DEIS) have the opportunity to provide a two-week summer programme for mainstream pupils with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage.
  • All post-primary schools (DEIS and non DEIS) have the opportunity to provide a two-week summer programme for mainstream students with complex needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage

Further details on the schemes and how schools can apply will be made available over the coming period at gov.ie/summerprovision.