Nagle-Rice PS, Milltown, Killarney          Phone: 066 976 7625    |   Email:

Please note this Special Education Policy is under review for 2017-2018

Special Education Policy


School Profile

Nagle-Rice Primary School is a co-educational mainstream primary school whose SEN Team are shared between the Junior and the Senior school buildings, situated on a split site, 0.3 miles apart.

Currently there are children requiring Resource Teaching (Low Incidence) as well as class groups or smaller groups requiring Supplementary Teaching (High Incidence) under the terms of the General Allocation Model, outlined in Circular 02/05.


All the educational partners are aware of the fact that the policy was formulated by persons having no legal expertise but motivated by meeting the individual needs of the pupils who attend our school.

This policy was formulated by the Principal and staff of Nagle Rice Primary School with reference to policy prompts available on the Primary Professional Development Service (PPDS), Learning Support Guidelines and the NCSE Guidelines. It is a revised and updated version of our previous Special Education Policy. This policy reflects Department of Education and Science (DES) Circulars 07/02, 08/02, 24/03, 02/05, revised circular 12/96, 06/11, 30/11, 37/11, 56/11, 65/11 and 66/11.

Special Education Needs (SEN) Team

The SEN team consists of the Principal, class teachers, SENCos (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators), teachers providing resource/learning support, visiting teacher for the deaf and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs).

The development, planning and implementation of the SEN Programme is a collaborative responsibility shared by all-the Board of Management (BOM), Principal Teacher, Class Teachers, Special Education Teachers (SETs), SNAs, Parents and Pupils.

It is important that everyone contributes to the planning and implementation of our school plan on Supplementary Teaching.


For the purpose of this document the term Supplementary Teaching is used to denote all or some forms of the following:

Supplementary Teaching can be structured as follows:

Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004 (EPSEN), Section 1, defines a special educational need as ‘a restriction in capacity to participate in and benefit from education due to an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or learning disability, or any other condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without that condition and cognate words shall be construed accordingly”

The Learning Support Guidelines, 2000, p. 1 refers to pupils whose achievement is at a very low level and who are at risk of not reaching adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy before leaving primary school.


It was necessary to revise our policy on Special Educational Needs at this time-

The purpose of this policy is to provide effective supplementary teaching support to pupils experiencing low achievement and/or learning difficulties and pupils who have been assessed as having additional needs by an Educational Psychologist and/or multi-disciplinary team. It also aspires to provide practical guidance for teachers and parents and other interested partners involved. This policy also intends to fulfil our obligations under the Education Act 1998 (section 9), Education and Welfare Act 2000, Equal Status Act 2000, Disability Bill 2002 and the Equality Act 2004 in as far as we have interpreted them. It will also reflect the school’s policy on enrolment of children with additional needs.

Relationship to our Mission Statement

Nagle-Rice Primary School seeks to provide an appropriate education for all pupils and ‘aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupils: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual’ in accordance with our mission statement. The school cherishes all our pupils equally, (Equal Status Act, 2000) and is committed to meeting their educational needs.

We are dedicated to helping each pupil achieve his or her individual potential. The provision of a quality system of Special Education is integral to this commitment.

Aims and Objectives

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

By introducing this policy our school hopes:

Aims of Supplementary Teaching

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


For the purposes of this policy, we define inclusion as:

‘The process by which a school attempts to respond to all pupils as individuals by considering and adapting its curricula, organisation and provision.’ (Sebba, 1996)

It implies a radical reform of the school in terms of the curriculum, assessment, pedagogy and grouping of pupils. “It is based on a value system that welcomes and celebrates diversity.” (Mittler, 2000)

The goal of inclusion is not to erase differences, but to enable all pupils to belong within an educational community that validates and values their individuality. 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 pupils with additional needs to be an integral part of our school community.


The curriculum will be differentiated by the Class Teacher to facilitate inclusion for pupils with additional needs at their ability and competence levels.

This can include:

Pupils with exceptional ability will have the curriculum differentiated for them in their classroom setting by the Class Teacher with the possibility of using some of the following education provision arrangements:

School personnel will be made aware of the additional needs of the pupils and of the strategies necessary to integrate them in all aspects of school life.

Provision for the enrolment of children with identified additional needs

The Education of 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.”

The EPSEN Act 2004, Section 2 states that “A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that to do so would be inconsistent with:

The Education Act 1998: 15.-(2) d states that a board shall…. ‘publish… the policy of the school concerning admission to and participation in the school, including the policy of the school relating to…. the participation by students with disabilities or who have other special educational needs, and ensure that as regards that policy, principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents’ choice are respected ….

“Within the context and parameters of department regulations and programmes, the rights of the patron as set out in the Education Act (1998) and the funding and resources available, the school supports the principle of inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a special educational need.”

This policy is also in line with our Admission Policy on Special Needs which states:

“On enrolment of children with special educational needs, the Board of Management will request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological report or where such a report is not available will request that the child be assessed immediately. The purpose of the assessment is to assist the school in establishing the educational needs of the child and to profile the services required. Following receipt of the report, the Board will assess how the school can meet the needs specified in the report. Where the Board deems that further resources are required, it will request the Special Education Needs Organiser (NCSE see Circular 01/05) to provide the resources required to meet the needs of the child as outlined in the psychological and/or medical report. These resources may include for example, access to or the provision of any or a combination of the following: visiting teacher service, resource teacher for special needs, special needs assistant, specialised equipment or furniture, transport services or other. The school will meet the parents/guardians of the child and with the Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) to discuss the child’s needs and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs. Where necessary a full case conference involving all parties will be held, which may include parents, principal, class teacher, learning support teacher, resource teacher for special needs, Special Education Needs Organiser or psychologist, as appropriate. It may, in certain circumstances, be necessary for the Board of Management to defer admission of a child pending the completion of an assessment report and/or the provision of appropriate resources by the Department of Education and Skills.”

Having gathered the relevant information, the Board of Management will ensure that a child with Additional Needs will be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have additional needs, unless the degree or nature of those needs is not in the best interests of the child and that it does not interrupt the effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated.


Parents are requested to fill an enrolment form for their child prior to the child beginning school informing the school of any additional needs their child may have. If a pupil has an identified additional need and is already receiving a service from another organisation, it is the responsibility of the parents to notify the school. The school will acquaint themselves with a pupil’s addition needs and whether these are categorised as High Incidence or Low Incidence in the following ways:

Transition to Primary School

To assist in the smooth transition to primary school for the pupil, parents and school the following strategies can be used:

Health and Safety issues arising from the child’s mobility and care needs are identified and strategies developed to address them e.g. access, toilets, supervision, administration of medicine, intimate care, courses for SNA e.g. administration of medicine, lifting techniques.

Strategies for the gathering of information for the development of a comprehensive pupil profile when developing education plans for these pupils once they have enrolled can be found in “The Guidelines on the Individual Education Plan Process, NCSE, 2006-Section 2.1 Gathering Information” pp. 12-17.

Provision for pupils with emerging additional educational needs

See Special Educational Needs, A Continuum of Support – Guidelines for Teachers (NEPS, 2007) and the Staged Approach (See Circular 02/05) when providing for pupils with emerging additional needs.

Classroom Support Plan (Stage 1)

A pupil receiving support within their classroom would be considered to be at stage 1 in terms of the “Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning”

The teacher, parent or other professional expresses concern about a pupil in school. Any indications that a pupil may have additional needs is explored and addressed. Concerns may relate to learning and/or social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which may affect the pupil’s ability to progress at the same rate as their peers. These concerns are documented. The teacher will consider if any concerns can be met through whole class teaching approaches and class differentiation. These concerns may also be identified by the class teacher through gathering information and assessing –

Any concerns identified will be communicated between teachers and with parents at annual Parent Teacher meetings or as the need arises.  A Classroom Support Plan is agreed with and implemented by the Class Teacher and parents. Parents are informed of additional help which may be given at home. The Class Teacher will complete Information Gathering and assessments. The Class Teacher maintains this plan, monitors the pupil’s progress and records his/her standardised test results. If the pupil continues to have difficulty, a decision will be made by the school about moving the pupil on to School Support (Stage 2). Parents will be consulted and the pupil will be placed on the school’s special education caseload.

If children arrive at school with difficulties that are more significant or are immediately recognised, it may be more appropriate to begin with a School Support or School Plus Support Plan. This may apply to pupils who might be new to the school or for some pupils following an event which impacts significantly on them in school. If concerns seem to warrant the provision of support at School Plus Support (Stage 3), with parental consent, a referral will be made to NEPS psychologist.

School Support Plan (Stage 2)

A pupil receiving mostly group support or occasional individual support with the LS/RT, in addition to classroom support would be considered to be at stage 2 in terms of the “Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning”:

The Class Teacher will review the records detailing the Classroom Support Plan. The pupil’s assessment results, class teacher’s recommendation, parents’ concerns, availability of resources, caseload and timetabling are all factors to be considered when referring a pupil to the LS/RT.

The LS/RT will seek written consent from the parents for their child to receive additional help-this consent form will also include permission to administer further testing. The LS/RT will consult with class teachers, parents and outside agencies (where applicable) to assess each pupil’s learning strengths and needs and then write an individual profile and learning programme (IPLP) for the pupil. Learning targets will be agreed with parents and teaching resources appropriate to the learning style of the pupil will be used to implement the School Support Plan.

The parent needs to put in writing if he/she wishes to refuse this additional help for his/her child.

The class teacher will support the pupil’s learning and accommodate access to the curriculum in a meaningful manner by differentiating curriculum work for the pupil according to the pupil’s needs.

The learning programme will be reviewed twice each year. Pupil progress will be recorded and the school will decide whether or not the pupil remains on the special education caseload. The Class teacher will continue to monitor this pupil’s performance.

School Plus Support Plan (Stage 3)

A pupil receiving more intensive teaching support including more focused small group work or individual teaching is considered to be at stage 3 in terms of the “Staged approach to Assessment Identification and Programme Planning” Consultation or referral for assessment to outside specialist

When concern is expressed by a parent/teacher or other professional the co-ordinating teacher considers if the pupils’ needs causing significant barriers to learning or impeding development of social relationships? Is progress inadequate despite support provided? Were interventions based on evidence from assessment; well planned and given sufficient time to work? The co-ordinating teacher arranges a review of the presenting problem and of the records from the consultation with the pupil, parents, class and supporting teacher and external professionals, as appropriate. The co-ordinating teacher will liaise with the principal teacher, class teacher, SET, pupil and parents regarding further assessment and gathering of information and communicate with psychologist or other outside specialist as necessary. The parent needs to put in writing if he/she does not wish to have their child referred for assessment. These may include NEPS, Community Care Psychology, Family Support, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy,

The SET and Class Teacher in consultation with parents will complete NEPS referral forms. Relevant documentation such as test scores, previous assessments or other reports will accompany the form. All referral decisions will be overseen by the Principal. In the event of limited availability of assessments through NEPS, the Principal and SEN team will prioritise pupils based on degree of need, age, duration since previous assessment (if it is a review), with the help and advice of the NEPS psychologist.  Educational assessments are carried out during school time in a familiar setting such as the LS/RT classroom where the pupil will feel comfortable and the parents sensitivities are taken into account.

Following assessment, the psychologist/outside specialist will provide feedback to the parents, class teacher and LS/RT teacher. Feedback and recommendations will be followed and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be devised for the pupil. The Principal will apply for recommended resources from SENO. The parent needs to put in writing if he/she does not wish to avail of the additional services to be put in place for their child e.g. RT hours, SNA Support.

All consent forms as well as any letters regarding the other wishes of parents are stored in the pupil’s file.

Parents may have their child assessed privately. The LS/RT can advise the parents if necessary on how to initiate this process. Parents will be encouraged to share the results of the assessment with the school to help in devising the appropriate educational plan for their child.

Drafting and implementing IEPs ,IPLPs and GEPs.

The school recognises that IEPs are not legal documents but considered good practice. IEPs will be drafted and implemented with the help of Chapters 2 and 3, Guidelines on the Individual Education Plan Process, NCSE and Special Educational Needs-A Continuum of Support, NEPS, 2007 for pupils who have been assessed as having a Low Incidence additional need.

IPLPs and GEPs will be drafted and implemented in accordance with the Learning support Guidelines issued by the DES in 2000 for the pupils receiving additional support under the GA model.

The purposes of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) are to:

Individual Education Planning, SESS Seminar, 2009

These plans will address the pupil’s needs and learning priorities. The LS/RT will meet with the class teacher twice a year to plan a work schedule. Plans will be evaluated and adjusted if the pupil’s needs necessitate it. The plan will include:

The format for IEPs is available in the Special Educational Needs-A Continuum of Support – Resource Pack for Teachers, NEPS, 2007 and Appendix 4

Support for International Pupils

International pupils receive support under the General Allocation (GA) Model either individually or in a group depending on their needs. As of September 2011 no funding has been granted by the DES for Language Support.

Deployment of Staff

The principal decides on the deployment of staff taking into consideration the experience of teachers, part time hours and rooms available. Based on this the SETs in consultation with the principal and class teachers will devise a timetable for support teaching. Time is allocated to administration, planning and consultation.

 Pupils with additional needs transferring from another school

Parents of a pupil with additional needs transferring from another school are asked to provide the school with copies of all reports regarding the needs of their child. If resources have been granted to the previous school for the benefit of the pupil, a new application will be made to the SENO for those resources to be continued after the transfer. Pupils transferring and who had been receiving LS in their previous school will continue to get support if they meet the criteria set out in this policy. “Where the principal of the original school receives notification of a child’s registration in a new school, that principal must notify the principal of the child’s new school of any problems relating to the school attendance that the child had in the original school and any other matters relating to the child’s educational progress as the original principal considers appropriate.”-Primary Education Management Manual (Section 3:4.7)

Transfer to Post-Primary

The SENO and NEPS psychologist advises the school and parents on the options available for post primary education. Parents may visit these options and when they have made their decision, further visits may be arranged for pupils with additional needs.

The parents will make the Post Primary School of choice aware of their child’s additional needs and pass on the relevant reports and information. The NEPS psychologist will assist the school in putting a transition plan in place where appropriate for pupils with additional needs in the Low Incidence Category. Our principal facilitates visits from local post primary school staff and pupils, and informs the post primary school of any pupils with additional needs. Lessons and discussions based on this transfer will take place in 6th Class.

Exemption from the study of Irish.

Exemption from the study of Irish will be granted to some pupils in accordance with the revised Circular 12/96.This will be documented and stored in the pupils file in the Office.

Record Keeping

The LS/RT teacher will maintain records of the outcomes of standardized norm referenced tests, diagnostic assessments, teacher designed tests, the agreed learning programmes/plans, fortnightly plans/progress reports, daily logs, work samples of pupils’ progress at the end of each instructional term. All records are stored in the LS/RT Rooms. Standardised Test booklets are maintained in the school until the pupil has completed his/her primary education. The front cover of the test booklet is maintained until the pupil turns 21 years of age. Each pupil has their Standardised test results tracked from Junior Infants to Sixth Class on an individual tracking sheet. Each class teacher records the standardised test results of each pupil from their class on a class summary sheet.

Other related policies

Some aspects of this policy may impact upon other policies in the school e.g. differentiation of content and methodologies in curriculum areas.

Success Criteria

The school-wide implementation of this policy will result in the enhancement of pupil learning in the following ways:

Staff Roles and Responsibilities

 The Role of the BOM.

The BOM will:

The Role of the Principal

The Principal Teacher will have overall responsibility for the development, implementation and the monitoring of the school’s Special Education Programme, and for the operation of services for pupils with additional needs in cooperation with the BOM, teachers, parents and pupils.

The Principal will:

The Role of the SENCOs

The SENCOs will assist the principal in coordinating the provision of education for pupils with Additional Needs by:

The role of the Class Teacher

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

The class teacher should implement the school policies on screening and selecting pupils for supplementary teaching by administering and scoring appropriate screening measures (such as rating scales, curriculum profiles or standardized tests of achievement) and by discussing the outcomes with the learning support teacher.

The Class Teacher will:

The Role of Learning Support/Resource Teacher (LS/RT)

The activities of the LS teacher and RT include:

Pupils who have been sanctioned resource hours by the SENO (Special Educational Needs Organiser) can receive Supplementary Teaching either in the pupils’ own classrooms or in a Resource Room.

Visiting Teacher for the Deaf

“Visiting teachers work with children with visual impairment and with deaf and hard of hearing children. They give advice and guidance on the development of IEPs for these children” (NCCA Guidelines on the Individual Education Plan process pg. 64)

The Visiting Teacher for the Deaf visits our school on a regular basis-gives tuition and is available to the principal and teachers in an advisory role regarding issues around hearing impairment.

Special Needs Assistants

The school principal is ultimately responsible for the work of the Special Needs Assistants in the school. The SNA’s will consult with the Class Teacher and LS/RT with responsibility for the pupil in their care for everyday needs. The LS/RT Teacher, in collaboration with the class teacher, guides the SNA as how best to help the child with special needs to integrate successfully into school life. Areas that may be discussed will include: behaviour issues, motor skills, organisational skills, language development, written work, literacy, numeracy, social interaction with peers, basic management/classroom skills, care need e.g. toileting, feeding, dressing

Parents’ permission is sought before an application is made to the SENO for a SNA.

SNA’s provide three levels of support, to the pupil, to the class and to the school.

The role of the SNA involves tasks such as (Ref. Circular 07/02):

The SNA works under the direction and supervision of the class teacher in order to promote effective learning and teaching. The SNA may be invited to attend meetings with parents and other educational personnel at the discretion of the principal but no formal meetings will take place without the principal, class teacher or LS/RT being present. Where an SNA has been appointed to assist a school in catering for a specific pupil, duties can be modified to support the particular needs of the pupil concerned.

The class teacher is responsible for the activities of the children with additional needs in the class, whether inside or outside the classroom, and whether supervised by the SNA or not.

The Role of the Parents

Parents have much to contribute to their child’s learning programme, particularly when the child requires Supplementary Teaching.This role involves:

The Role of the Pupils

It is important that pupils become involved in the development, implementation, and review of their own learning programme depending on their age and category of need.

By doing so they can:

Early Intervention Strategies and Parental Involvement

Nagle-Rice Primary School recognises the importance of having appropriate identification strategies and as a result of this implements a programme of Early Intervention.

As a means of identifying and addressing the needs of children who are experiencing learning difficulties, the following strategies will be used:

Early Intervention

Here is a summary of course content that is included in the Early Intervention Programme.

Early Intervention Programme
Phonological Awareness
Letter Recognition
Sequencing of Alphabet/Days of the Week
Word Identification Skills
Sight Vocabulary e.g. Dolch List, High Frequency Words List
Supporting Class Reading
Shared ReadingHandwriting Skills

Aspects of oral language development through use of Big Books

  • Listening
  • Naming
  • Categorising
  • Describing
  • Denoting position
  • Sequencing
  • Reasoning and planning
  • Retelling a story

Forward Together Programme

Comprehension Strategies

Development of Mathematical skills e.g. Vocabulary, concepts, numeracy etc

Structured Play (Numeracy and Literacy) in Junior Infants

Co-operative Teaching

Other areas as recommended by class teacher depending on individual needs of a particular group/pupil

Following the implementation of early intervention strategies, pupils will be selected by the class teacher and LS/RT to receive additional support.

Criteria for identifying and selecting pupils for Supplementary Teaching

The identification and selection of pupils will involve the following criteria:

Priority will be given to pupils who have completed Classroom Support along with the annual administration, scoring/results, and interpretation of Drumcondra English Reading and Mathematics Tests by the teachers of pupils in classes (1st to 6th)-they will determine the following priority caseload for the GA Model:

Judgement of the Class Teacher is an important criterion in the selection of pupils for diagnostic assessment. The class teacher will be in a position to confirm whether or not the score achieved by a pupil on a screening measure is an accurate measure of the pupil’s performance in class. Pupils who have been identified as being exceptionally able by the Class Teacher will be challenged where possible by differentiating the curriculum. Children with Behavioural/Emotional difficulties who in the opinion of the Whole School Staff need intervention will be offered support, if after Classroom Support sufficient progress has not been made. All staff will have a record sheet in which all behaviours which cause concern are recorded. Records will identify cause, consequence and location of misbehaviour. It is the responsibility of the class teacher to ensure that these logs are kept updated. In situations where it is deemed suitable and of benefit, the support teacher may work in the classroom. This may take the form of Team Teaching, Station Teaching or Parallel Teaching. The Supplementary Teacher may work with one of the class groupings from a classroom in a separate room, allowing both the class teacher and the support teacher to work with a smaller group.


Circular 56/2011 issues guidelines on assessing children’s literacy and numeracy achievement. Assessment is central to the process of teaching and learning. It is used to monitor learning processes and to ascertain achievement in each area of the curriculum. Through assessment the teacher constructs a comprehensive picture of the short-term and long term learning needs of the child and plan future work accordingly. Assessment is also used to identify children with specific learning difficulties so that the nature of the support and assistance they need can be ascertained and appropriate strategies and programmes put in place to enable them to cope with the particular difficulties they are encountering. It helps identify the pupil’s strengths and needs and therefore determine the nature of the intervention to be provided such as additional support from the class teacher and/or supplementary teacher. Circular 0138/2006 has been reviewed as part of the development of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. We implement standardised testing in English Reading and Mathematics on an annual basis during the period May/June for all students from Infants to Sixth Class.

Students may be excluded from standardised testing if in the view of the school principal in consultation with class teacher and LS/RT, they have a learning or physical disability which would prevent them from attempting the test, or in the case of migrant students, where the level of English required in the test would make attempting the test inappropriate.

Continuing/Discontinuing Pupils in receipt of Supplementary Teaching

The progress of each pupil, who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, will be evaluated at the end of each instructional term: Feb and June. Following consultation with the pupil’s class teacher and parents, a decision will be taken as to whether to continue or discontinue the support. The decision to continue/discontinue providing Additional Support will be based on the following criteria:

Strategies for communicating information


Work Schedule of the LS/RT

In addition to providing supplementary teaching the LS/RT must also allocate time for non-teaching activities. These activities include conducting diagnostic assessments, maintaining and reviewing pupil’s records, co-ordinating special needs services and consulting with teachers and parents.

Implementation and Review

The implementation of this policy will commence in Feb 2012 and it will be implemented in full by the end of 2012/2013. Monitoring can be accomplished through regular meetings between The Principal Teacher, SENCOs and LS/RT in order to examine aspects of the school plan. The policy will be reviewed and if necessary amended in line with any new directives from the DES.


The SENCOs are responsible for sourcing and acquiring additional resources/materials. Class Teachers have access to these resources on request from the LS/RT. See appendices for list of resources available to the principal, SET and class teachers.


This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on _________________

Signed: __________________________

Chairperson of Board of Management

Content of Appendices


Appendix 1- The Continuum of Support

Appendix 2- Possible approach to planning for the deployment of resources at individual school level

Appendix 3- Stage 1: Intervention Record

Appendix 4-Sample 1 of IEP

Appendix 5- Sample 2 of IEP

Appendix 6- Reference Section

Appendix 7- List of Assessment Resources

Appendix 8- List of other Resources



Appendix 1

The Continuum of Support

Special Educational Needs – A Continuum of Support, DES/NEPS, 2007

Classroom Support      

Classroom Support is the most common, and typically the first response to emerging needs. It is a response for pupils who have distinct or individual educational needs and who require approaches to learning and/or behaviour which are additional to or different from those required by other pupils in their class.

Problem solving at this level typically begins when a parent or teacher has concerns about an individual pupil. The teacher and parents discuss the nature of the problem and consider strategies which may be effective. Classroom Support incorporates the simple, informal problem-solving approaches commonly used by class teachers to support emerging needs.

A pupil receiving support within their classroom would be considered to be at stage 1 in terms of the “Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning” (DES Special Education Circular 02/05)

School Support    

In some cases interventions at classroom support level are not enough to fully meet the pupil s special educational needs. School Support may, therefore, be required. The class teacher needs to involve the learning support/resource teachers in the problem-solving process at this point and it involves more systematic gathering of information and the development and monitoring of a School Support Plan or an Individual Pupil Learning Profile (IPLP).

A pupil receiving mostly group support or occasional individual support in addition to classroom support would be considered to be at stage 2 in terms of the “Staged Approach to Assessment Identification and Programme Planning” (DES Special Education Circular 02/05)

School Support Plus      

If a pupil’s special educational needs are severe and/or persistent, they are likely to need intensive support. School Support Plus will generally involve personnel outside the school team in the problem solving, assessment and intervention process. However, the information from Classroom and School Support work will provide the starting point for problem-solving at this level. Classroom support and school support will continue to be an important element of his/her individual education plan.

A pupil receiving more intensive teaching support including more focused small group work or individual teaching is considered to be at stage 3 in terms of the “Staged Approach to Assessment Identification and Programme Planning” (DES Special Education Circular 02/05)


While most pupils’ initial needs should be met through classroom based interventions, a small number of pupils may arrive at school with difficulties that are more significant or which are immediately recognised. In such cases, it may be more appropriate to begin with a School Support or School Support Plus Plan. Most of the pupils to whom this applies will be new to the school. However it may also apply for some pupils following an event which impacts significantly on them in school.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Circular 02/05


A Staged Approach to Meeting the Needs of Pupils with Special Educational Needs (Circular 02/05)



Personnel Involved

Stage 1

Class teacher/parent has concerns regarding a pupil’s academic, physical, social, behavioural or emotional developmentClass teacher administers appropriate screening measures. Class teacher devises a plan, which aims to meet pupil’s identified needs within the normal classroom setting. The success of this plan is regularly reviewed in consultation with parents.

Additional Supports

If concern remains after a number of reviews, the Special Education Support Team in the School may be consulted about the desirability of a move to Stage 2

Stage 2

Child is referred to learning support teacher, with parental permission for further diagnostic testing.

If diagnostic testing indicates that supplementary teaching would be beneficial, this is arranged. Parent, class teacher and learning support teacher collaborate in devising, implementing and reviewing the pupil’s learning plan.

Additional Supports

If significant concerns remain after a number of reviews, it may be necessary to implement Stage 3

Stage 3

School formally requests a consultation, and, where appropriate, an assessment of need from a specialist outside the school.A learning plan is devised by personnel involved, which includes identification of any additional available resources that are considered necessary in order to implement the plan. Parents should be fully consulted throughout this process. This learning plan should be subject to regular reviews, leading to revisions of the learning plan and referral for specialist review as necessary.

Any private practitioner engaged by a school at Stage 3 should have the relevant Department of Education and Science Circulars and guidance notes drawn to their attention.

Additional Supports

Planning in Individual Schools (from Circular 02/05)

In planning to meet the special educational needs of pupils, schools should plan in a manner consistent with the size of the school, the learning profile of the pupils with special educational needs, and the expertise of the school staff.

As stated in Circular 24/03, the over-riding principle is that resources should be deployed in individual schools in the manner that best meets the needs of the pupils with special educational needs in that schoolIn addition to adherence to the principles set out in Section 4, the following factors should be considered in order to achieve this:

Appendix 2

Outline of a possible approach to planning for the deployment of resources at individual school level


Step 1

Identify all the pupils in need of additional teaching support, both learning-support teaching and resource teaching and including pupils who have special educational needs arising from high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities.

Step 2

Identify the level of intervention required on the basis of the pupils’ learning needs. (Stage II or Stage III). It is up to the school to decide whether one-to-one or group teaching, or a mixture of both, is the best type of support for each individual pupil, depending on the nature of their needs.

Step 3

Identify the members of the teaching staff who will be allocated to the identified pupils (all teachers who are appointed on foot of the general allocation model, allocations of additional teacher hours for the support of pupils with special educational needs arising from low-incidence disabilities, and any other allocation to the school).

Step 4

Allocate the identified staff members to the pupils, taking account of:

  • the learning programme needs of individual pupils and groups of pupils, including whether it is short-term focused intervention or long-term, continuing support,
  • the time available to all pupils and the proportion of time needed by individual pupils and groups of pupils, based on identified needs,
  • the expertise and interest of the teachers, and
  • practical and logistical considerations, including increasing chances for LS/RTs and RTs to liaise with mainstream class teachers, availability of staff at times of greatest need, etc

Step 5

Cross-reference the programme needs of pupils with learning needs at stages II and III, and consider common needs that can be met by grouping to ensure effective and efficient teaching and learning approaches. Agree on which teacher or teachers will cater for these groups.

Step 6

  • Establish a tracking and recording system to ensure that a record is maintained of all pupils who are receiving additional teaching support and of their progress in response to the established interventions.
  • Learning-support/resource teachers and resource teachers should regularly and actively monitor the progress of the pupils who receive support under the general allocation model and those who have special educational needs arising from low-incidence disabilities, in consultation with parents, class teachers, and relevant professionals.  This is particularly important in cases where support for a pupil has been increased, reduced or discontinued.

Pupils in need of additional support and stage of intervention


Pupils with learning needs at stage II

(literacy and numeracy needs)

Pupils with learning needs at stage II

(other special educational needs)

Pupils with learning needs at stage III

(pupils with high incidence disabilities)

Pupils with learning needs at stage III

(pupils with low incidence disabilities)

Junior Infants

Senior Infants



First Class




Second Class



Third Class



Fourth Class



Fifth Class


Sixth Class



Example: Pupils in need of additional support and stage of intervention



Pupils with learning needs at stage II

(literacy and numeracy needs)

Pupils with learning needs at stage II

(other special educational needs)

Pupils with learning needs at stage III

(pupils with high incidence disabilities)

Pupils with learning needs at stage III

(pupils with low incidence disabilities)

Junior Infants

None yet identified

None yet identified

None yet identified

None yet identified

Senior Infants

1 pupil (Bartak) with mild emotional and behavioural difficulties

1 pupil (Kevin) with emotional and behavioural disturbance

First Class

3 pupils for literacy support


1 pupil (Michael) with borderline mild GLD and behavioural difficulties


Second Class

5 pupils for literacy support and 2 for maths support


Third Class

3 pupils for literacy support


1 pupil (Kyle) with autistic spectrum disorder

Fourth Class

3 pupils for literacy support and 2 for maths support

1 pupil (Ajith) with mild emotional and behavioural difficulties

1 pupil (Joshua) with hearing impairment

Fifth Class

1 pupil for literacy support and 2 pupils for maths support

1 pupil (Jack) with mild GLD

Sixth Class

3 pupils for literacy support


1 pupil (Eoin) with severe reading difficulties

Contact with Parents: ________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

Stage One: Intervention Record


Concern identified/by whom?

Action to be taken/by whom?


Appendix 4

Profile of Pupil with Special Educational Needs – Mainstream Setting

Pupil’s Name:Address: Date of birth:Parents’ names: Contact Tel. No:

Provision for SEN

Date commenced:

Date/s of review:


School:Sch. Tel. No:Support Team Principal:

Class Teacher:

Special Ed. Teacher:





Formal Assessment
Screening    Date Result Date Result
General Info (interests, attendance, physical health, co-ordination)
Social SkillsSelf-esteem (identity, belonging etc)Interaction with peers (body language, play, structured activities)

Interaction with staff (body language, asking questions, dependence level)



Behaviour  (response to rewards, adapting to different settings/ groupings)


Language skillsOral language (verbal, non-verbal, social functions, description…)Comprehension recall, assimilate, retell, deduce, infer..)Phonological awareness (rhythm, phoneme, morpheme, onset, rime..)



Reading fluency


Writing (functional, creative)

Mathematical skills Number: operations, estimation, problem-solvingMeasures: estimation, instruments of… ICT skills (mouse control, keyboard, word processing, software use)









Priority Learning Needs      






Notes: Observations during implementation of IEP


Individual Education Plan

Name of pupil:DOB: Class teacher:Special Ed teacher:SNA:Parent/s: Provision commenced:Provision review:
Collaboration: Class teacher and SET    Parent/ Guardian Input Pupil Input Therapist/Other 
Priority need/s (could be on literacy, numeracy, social, behavioural, motor skills etc.)

  • X
  • Y
  • Z


Learning target (from Priority X) Target to be reached by: (day/month/year)
Strategies (state who has responsibility for each) Resources Notes on progress Evaluation

Learning Target (from Priority Y) Target to be reached by: (day/month/year)
Strategies (state who has responsibility for each) Resources Notes on progress       Evaluation       
Learning Target (from Priority Z) Target to be reached by: (day/month/year)
Strategies (state who has responsibility for each) Resources Notes on progress       Evaluation       


Name :
Date of birth: –
Address: –
Class Teacher: –
Resource Teacher: –
Psychological Assessment     

Date Tests administered See Psychological report for full details. 

Other Assessment

Speech and Language Assessments
Date Tests administered See  report for full details Summary
Most recent school based assessments- see previous profiles for earlier assessments

Summary of other information

Parents .
Class teacher



Interaction/ Social Skills
Personal Organisation

Summary of academic progress in

Oral language
Sight Vocabulary:-
Phonological Awareness
Creative Writing
Functional writing
Computer activities.


Review Date:                                                Resource Teacher:


Priority Learning Needs



Learning Strengths



Summary of Learning Objectives from           to                Date achieved


Summary of Resource Teacher Activities and Strategies  


Equipment to include:  

 Activities – Class Teacher


 Activities – Home


 Activities – Student


 Resource Teaching Time Allocation

Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Time -Maths        

Appendix 6

Reference Section

Appendix 7

Assessment Resources for LS/RT

Appendix 8

Other Resources

ICT Resources