3.1:     Special Needs Policy:     

Introductory Statement:

This policy was formulated following a consultative process, involving the Principal, S.E.T and class teachers over a period of months. Children with special needs will be educated, in accordance with the level of resources provided by the Department of Education and Skills and in accordance with the Sonna N.S. Equal Opportunity Policy. Children with Special Needs are allocated Resource Teachers by the D.E.S on the basis of reports furnished by appropriate specialists.


Every child in our school including those with special needs will be educated to the best of our ability, in line with our Mission Statement-  To give the children a sense of self-worth and value, to empower them to develop their individual potential as a human being and to respect others who are created in Gods own image and likeness.
We want all children, particularly those with disabilities, to feel that they are a valued part of the School Community. We will do this through inclusion, which has, at its core the following principles

Aims and Objectives of Special Needs Education:



Roles and Responsibilities:

Board of Management:

The B.O.M fulfils its statutory duties towards pupils with Special Needs.


The Principal has overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of provisions, working closely with the S.E.N. co-ordinator, liaising with the S.E.N.O., securing training for staff and reporting to the Board of Management.

All staff, including Support Teachers and mainstream staff, has an important role to play, in  the process of inclusion of Special Needs pupils into mainstream classes. The class and resource teachers identify and intervene, while the S.N.A. attends to care needs, if necessary.

Parent’s consent to allow their children to act as ‘buddies’ and liaise closely with the Principal and S.E.T. and, as such, play a very positive role in the implementation of the policy.

Identification of Children with Special Needs:


Concerns about children arise in a number of ways

  1. Parents inform the Principal or Class Teacher of a concern they have regarding their child.
  2. Teachers may have a concern regarding a child in their class.
  3. Concerns may arise following standardised testing and consultations with Learning Support Teachers.

Having consulted with the teachers and parents, the Principal or Teacher will seek appropriate assessment. This will involve arranging for an assessment by, or through, N.E.P.S. The procedures laid down by the D.E.S. and N.E.P.S. will be strictly followed.

Following the receipt of the Assessment Report, application will be made to the D.E.S. for support services.

The Special Needs Team will meet the parents, child (if appropriate) and other personnel and then draw up an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Prior to the drawing up of the I.E.P., the parents will support, as far as possible, the integration of the child with special needs into the mainstream setting. The child will work with the Resource Teacher for the allocated time, but a copy of the IEP will be given to the Class Teacher, so as to continue the work within the classroom setting. The IEP will be added to the class file. IEP’s are reviewed regularly. This will be the document from which we will work.

Parents are invited to meet the Resource Teacher every term, as continued input from home is vital, if progress is to be made. The Special Needs Team meets regularly to review all the pupils and meetings of the team take place with the Principal every term.


Assessment and Reporting:

The role of co-ordinating Learning Support and Special Needs will be fulfilled by the S.E.T. who at present is Antoinette Keena.


Facilities and Resources:

The school presently has limited ‘resource’ teaching facilities. They are limited to the following:

The day-to-day resource teacher presently works in the room outside the main building, as there are fewer distractions here. It is warm and bright. The visiting resource teachers use the resource room in the main building.
The school has ample resources for the Special Needs children, having recently purchased an English scheme (Wolf Hill) and maths scheme (Maths Trackers)- both very suited to special education. However the children do not have access to a computer room, as we do not have one. We do however try to ensure that they work with computers once a week.

Individual Education Plans:

We support children by providing an inclusive curriculum. Sometimes it will be enough to differentiate delivery to a level that allows the child to access what is happening in the classroom. For other children this will not be enough. The means of planning for differentiation is the IEP.
The IEP is the tool with which we can plan for the child, provide input and monitor the outcome of our support.

When we set targets they will be:
S    -           Specific
M   -           Measurable
A   -           Achievable
R   -           Realistic
T    -           Timed


An I.E.P will be drawn up for each child who has been assessed by an educational psychologist and is found to have special educational needs. This plan will be produced by the people involved in the child’s education i.e. Class Teacher, Resource teachers, Principal and parents. The plan will take in to account the following.

The school has its own I.E.P template. The one currently in use is from Special Education needs-  A Continuum of Support. The management of I.E.P. will be the responsibility of the Support Teacher, Class Teacher and Principal. A copy will be sent to both parents.


The I.E.P. will be reviewed at the end of each term i.e. Christmas, Easter and June and a new one drawn up for each term, as appropriate. A time which is suitable to all members of the support team will be arranged during the first week of each term, to discuss and develop the child’s I.E.P.


We will endeavour to do our best to include all children in all activities, wherever possible. We aim to enable all pupils to belong within an educational community that values their individuality.
We attempt to promote inclusion through:

Classroom Practices:

In this school, teachers are encouraged to



Timetabling for Resources and Learning Support is done through a collaborative approach, between L.S.T./R.T. Class teachers and Principal. Every effort is made to ensure that children are not removed from the same curricular area each day. Due recognition is taken of the specific needs of each child.



Communication in relation to Special Needs will be ongoing through the use of a home/school link notebook. Parents of children with Special Needs will be invited into school to help formulate their child’s I.E.P. They will be given a copy of the current plan.

Communication with the H.S.E, S.E.N.O, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Educational Psychologist will be made by phone call, where necessary.
All relevant numbers will be available in the Principal and S.E.T rooms.


Out of School Trips:

Children with Special Needs will be catered for on our school tours.
Permission forms in relation to the proposed trips, and for seeking medical assistance in the event of an accident, will be sought from parents.
Staff will hold a number of contactable phone numbers.
The S.N.A will be issued with clear instructions as to their duties for the day.



The school will evaluate the effectiveness of Special Needs Provision through monitoring standards reached, case samples from children, the views of parents and staff.


Ratification and Communication:

This policy is to be circulated to:




This policy has been in operation since _________________.



The policy will be reviewed in _________________.