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Drogheda Grammar School

Whole School Inclusion Policy

Introduction:

This policy document aims to outline the form that additional educational support for students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) takes in our school and the philosophy which underpins it. It is written in the context of The Education Act (1998) and takes cognisance of The Equal Status Act (2000), The Equality Act (2004), The Education Welfare Act (2000), The Data Protection Acts (1988, 1998 and 2003) and The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004). Two further publications have informed the content of this policy-“Inclusion of Students with Special Educational Needs-Post Primary Guidelines (Department of Education & Science (DES) Inspectorate: 2007) and “Exceptionally Able Students-Draft Guidelines for Teachers” (NCCA: 2007).

The policy is a revision of the existing policy and is a ‘work in progress’ involving a consultative process with staff, students, parents and Board of Management.

Ethos:

Drogheda Grammar School sees itself as an inclusive community that is welcoming of all. We foster an atmosphere of learning that is holistic in approach and nurtures each individual student’s personal growth and development. We are committed to fostering a sense of identity and self-worth in each of our students. We are committed to developing a well-rounded individual, with skills, attitudes, sensibilities and personal initiative that will allow each to grow into mature, confident adults.  As an inclusive school all students should be able to access our learning network and we recognise that all partners have a role to play in facilitating our students achieving their potential.  Our Learning Network Programme is a reflection of our commitment to the ideal of an inclusive learning community and the learning supports are available to all.  However we recognise that there are pupils who have particular educational needs / learning difficulties and we will make every possible arrangement, within the constraints of the resources available, to provide for their individual needs while attending Drogheda Grammar School.

Our mission statement is;

Every individual is of value and has something to contribute.”

As a result, the department will be known as the Learning Network within school and for the purposes of this document.

Definitions:

  • Students with particular educational needs are those who are restricted from participating in and benefiting from education because of 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. (EPSEN Act 2004).
  • Exceptionally able students are those understood to require opportunities for enrichment and extension that go beyond those provided for in the general cohort of students.

Access to Support Teaching:

A student may be selected for Support Teaching in our school in the following circumstances:

  • A student who has had an educational psychological assessment which recommends Learning Support / Resource teaching.
  • A student who has a Specific Learning Difficulty (SLD) or a General Learning Difficulty (GLD).
  • A student who has a language exemption and/or a reduced timetable
  • A student identified by a subject teacher / teachers as having difficulty with one or more of their subjects.
  • A student with emotional or behavioural difficulties may be given links to relevant support both school based and external agencies as is appropriate.
  • A student with physical difficulties.
  • A student with English as an Additional Language (EAL) needs.
  • A student identified as Exceptionally Able through a full educational psychological assessment.

Priority will be given to students who qualify for teaching support hours as defined by the National Council for Special Education (N.C.S.E.) i.e.: Students whose overall cognitive score is in the average range and their score in reading / writing and maths is at or below the 2nd percentile.

Priority will also be given to students whose achievement is at or below the tenth percentile on standardised tests of reading or mathematics according to circular 02/05 DES. These students fall within the general allocation laid down by the National Council for Special Education.

Students with conditions such as Dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD, and Aspergers Syndrome who have been assessed according to Department of Education criteria will receive an individual allocation of support.

Roles:

The following have responsibility for managing the school response for students with Special Educational Needs.

Board of Management:

  • Oversees the development, implementation and review of a Whole School Inclusion Policy.
  • Enables a periodic review of the range of curriculum provision within the school.
  • Provides resources for the professional development of staff in supporting students with special educational needs.
  • Ensures adequate accommodation and resources.
  • Provides a secure facility for the storage of records.
  • Ensures that the rights of parents as prescribed in legislation are upheld in the school.

Principal:

Has overall responsibility for ensuring that the special educational needs of students are met.

  • Works with the School partners in the development of Whole School Inclusion.
  • Ensures that mainstream teachers are aware of their responsibilities in relation to the education of students with special needs.
  • Monitors implementation of support programmes and selection of students for learning support.
    – Consults and liaises with outside bodies and agencies.
    – Provides for in-service for staff.
    – Promotes the involvement of parents of students with special educational needs.

The following work on a day-to-day basis with students with Special Educational Needs:

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Co-ordinator

  • Co-ordinates Individual Learning Plans (ILP’s) for students with Special Educational Needs in consultation with parents, student, SEN team and teachers.
  • Co-ordinates the work of the SEN team.
  • Liaises with guidance counsellor(s) and other staff members in relation to the selection and implementation of tests and other means for assessing students’  achievement and progress.
  • Co-ordinates the gathering of information for ILP’s for students with special educational needs from assessment reports by outside professionals and in-school  assessment.
  • Co-ordinates Reasonable Accommodations at Examinations in consultation with the Guidance and Counselling Department.
  • Makes application to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) for resource hours and/or Assistive Technology for incoming students with special needs.
  • Organises the purchase of Department resources.
  • Facilitates communication with the general staff on LN issues.
  • Provides advice to subject teachers as required.
  • Communicates with parents/guardians if it is deemed that their daughter/son is in need of Support.
  • Meets and advises parents as required.
  • Liaises with the School Counsellor and gathers information about the learning needs of students with SEN.
  • Administers assessments for year groups.
  • Coordinates student files and ensures their storage in the administration office.
  • Ensures that student confidentiality is upheld.

 

Learning Network/ Resource (LN/R) Teacher:

  • Works with the SEN Coordinator and teachers.
  • Supports the literacy and numerical needs of students.
  • May be involved in co-operative teaching in mainstream classes with mainstream teachers.
  • May withdraw students for additional classes in particular subjects.
  • Provides specific support for students with special educational needs in social skills etc.
  • Assists the SEN Coordinator in the gathering of information for ILP’s for students with special educational needs from  assessment reports by outside  professionals and in-school assessment.
  • Is involved in the administration of standardised and diagnostic tests.
  • Advises on Reasonable Accommodations in the Certificate Examinations.

Guidance Counsellor:

  • Administers diagnostic assessment tests to Transition year students
  • Counsels in personal, educational and career development.
  • Provides career information management.
  • Consults with the SEN team, staff and parents.
  • Provides referrals to other professionals and agencies.
  • Meets with students to assist them in subject choices

Subject Teacher:

  • Has primary responsibility for the progress of all students in his/her class.
  • Collaborates with the SEN Coordinator and/or LN teacher in identifying pupils who may have general or specific learning difficulties.
  • Attempts, as far as possible, to differentiate the curriculum appropriately to meet the needs of all pupils, e.g. setting objectives at appropriate levels,  modifying presentations, questioning appropriately.
  • Provides learning activities and materials that will enable success.
  • May be involved in providing Curricular Support to students identified in the identification procedures outlined in Section 6 of this policy.

Special Needs Assistant (SNA):

  • Special Needs Assistants make a valuable contribution to the capacity of the school to provide inclusive education for  students with Special Educational Needs. The duties of the SNA are assigned by the Principal acting on behalf of the Board of Management and are outlined in Circular SNA 12/05.
  • When the SNA is engaged in assisting a student or a group of students in relation to a particular learning task, this should always take place in accordance with the directions of the teacher who has assigned the task.
  • An SNA is expected to treat all matters relating to school business and their work in the school as strictly confidential

Parents/Guardians:

  • Grammar School recognises the right of parents / guardians of students with Special Educational Needs to be involved in and consulted about the programme of education available to their child.
  • Parents are encouraged to actively communicate with the school if they observe any learning or related difficulties at home.
  • In all cases where screening, assessment and profiling are conducted, parents are consulted and their permission sought.
  • When an Individual Learning Plan is being developed, parents will be consulted.

Student:

  • All ILPs are student-centred.
  • A student for whom an ILP is being developed is consulted as an essential part of the development process.
  • Students are encouraged to approach the SEN Coordinator if they have concerns about their learning.
  • Students are encouraged to contribute to the learning targets as set out in an ILP.

Identification Procedures for identifying students with Learning Needs.

  • Parents are expected to provide relevant information on enrolling their son or daughter.  This ensures that the school can begin the planning process for the student.  We are currently assessing the process of information gathering on the school application form so that this process will be more streamlined.
  • The Guidance Counsellor consult with Primary teachers when visiting feeder Primary schools in the Spring.  This consultation should provide information that is going to make the transfer process positive for the incoming students.
  • A class teacher, tutor and/or Year Head can refer any student they are concerned about to the Learning Network and/or Guidance Departments. Referral forms are available in the marked tray in the staff room, and on the Teacher drive on the server.

Informal assessment may involve all or some of the following:

  • Observations from mainstream teachers.
  • Consultations with parents.
  • Meeting with student.

Formal assessment may involve all the following:

  • Review of scholarship assessment results.
  • Review of in-house exams and reports.
  • Standardised assessment.
  • Behavioural record if appropriate.
  • Consultation with Guidance Counsellors.
  • Referral to outside agency/agencies.

Following this profiling stage, decisions are made as to the appropriate support warranted:

  • There is no need for further action.
  • There is a need for monitoring and support in a mainstream setting.
  • Purposeful withdrawal is desirable.
  • It may be decided that further investigation is required and parents will be advised.

The school is currently in the process of transitioning from a paper based standardised assessment to an online assessment.

When a student is identified with Special Educational Needs:

(a)     In a situation where a student is identified as needing additional support, an ILP is drawn up in consultation with stakeholders. Priority learning needs are identified and a time frame for the attainment of targets is included. Targets are  set for each priority learning need and strategies and resources required are identified.  An ILP is a working document and  may change according to needs, resources and/or other unforeseen circumstances.

(b)     An ILP is developed and reviewed periodically. This review may take into account the perspectives of both parents and staff.

(c)     All records pertaining to the student will be retained on the student file.

Organisation of Class Groups:

In First Year, classes are mixed ability. In Second and Third Year, classes are banded for Irish and Maths. Transition Year is mixed ability. Senior Cycle operates a mixture of banding and mixed ability.

Organisation of Support:

Currently, we have a mixed model of Support in operation:

  • Team Teaching.
  • Small Group Withdrawal.
  • Individual Withdrawal

Students may be on a reduced timetable with the agreement of the student and parents/guardians.

Other Issues:

(a)        Withdrawals:

The Learning Network Department may withdraw students from subjects in consultation with the respective teachers and with parents. In some cases, a student with SEN may be on reduced timetables to facilitate her individual needs.

(b)        Irish Exemptions:

Irish exemptions will only be granted when the criteria outlined in Circular M 10/94 are met. All students who have an Irish exemption will be offered as much support teaching at this time as our resources allow. This may vary from year to year.

Parental permission is sought in advance for the transfer of any information to subject teachers. All relevant staff are made aware of any educational psychological assessments and the coordinator of the department is available to discuss any of  the recommendations with staff if they need to discuss how they should support a student.

The Exceptionally Able Student:

Students who require opportunities for enrichment and extension that go beyond those provided for the general cohort of students are deemed to be exceptionally able.

Students may excel in various areas and the school will do what it can as an inclusive learning community to support them and encourage the development of their special abilities.

Students with Physical Difficulties:

Students with physical difficulties (permanent or temporary) may require additional support. This support may take the form of:

1. SNA support
2. Assistive Technology
3. Modified assessment procedures
4. Support Teaching
State Exams and House Exams:

House Exams;

Students who would avail of RACE in the state exam process are provided with the same types of supports in house exams.  This is subject to staff availability.

RACE and DARE applications for State Exams;

These applications are made in October for the Junior Certificate candidates and May for the Leaving Certificate candidates.  The applications are in line with the criteria set down by the Exam Commission.  Information on this process is available from www.examinations.ie
Students applying for DARE are responsible for informing the relevant staff of their intention to apply and should provide the department with the necessary documentation.

Outside Agencies

The Learning Network Department will liaise with the school NEPS psychologist and the NCSE Seno where appropriate to support the needs of the students and their parents/guardians. The School liaise with other agencies and interested parties as is necessary.
Signed: ______________________________
Chairperson of the Board of Management
Date: ________________________________
Policy due for review: ___________________