The policy is drawn up in the context of the Loreto Philosophy of Education Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000.
Factors which bear directly on the policy are the school enrolment policy and desire to ensure that students with specific learning difficulties or other needs are given the opportunity to achieve their full potential in the school.
Students with special needs are those who have specific learning difficulties or other barriers to learning and those who are especially gifted. It is recognised that all the needs of those students may not be met in the normal classroom but also that since students in the school follow the Junior and Leaving Certificate programmes they will study most or all subjects with their peers.
It is envisaged that support for students with special needs will be offered by the following:
- The class teacher, tutors and Year Heads
- The Learning Support and / or Resource teacher
- The Special Education Needs Co-ordinator
- Guidance Counsellor whose role will be to provide counselling if appropriate and offer advice regarding entry requirements and exemptions to Third Level courses for students with special needs.
- Parent(s) / Guardian(s) of students
- The Principal and Deputy Principal who will liaise with the DES.
Aims and Objectives
The aims of the policy are to ensure that there are clear guidelines as to:
- The identification of students with special needs
- Procedures to be followed once students are identified
The objectives of the policy are to ensure that students who are identified as described below
- Received appropriate tuition within the classroom context or within a selected group or one to one.
- Are assessed in a way or ways appropriate to their individual needs
- As monitored and reassessed to establish their changing needs
- Are provided with all possible support as they need it throughout their time in the school.
Identification of Students with Special Needs
Students will be identified in the following way:
- By personnel in the student’s primary school through the guidance counsellors or other appropriate person with the permission of the child’s parents.
- By parent(s) / guardian(s) who contact the school directly.
- By subject teachers, tutors and / or Year Heads.
Follow – Up Action
- Students who have received learning support at Primary level will continue to do so at Secondary level provided an up to date report from an educational psychologist is received by the school and by agreement with the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).
- Students who are identified by teachers as having a possible learning difficulty, will be given preliminary in-school tests by either the Learning Support or Resource teacher by agreement with parent(s) / guardian(s). The school’s Entrance Tests will also help to give an indication of students who will require extra learning support. Following this some students may be encouraged to have a psychological assessment.
- Recommendation provided by a psychologist will guide the Learning Support Department in the provision of individual programmes for students with special needs.
- Following assessment and with the agreement and collaboration of parents, interventions required to meet the special needs of students, will be planned by the Learning Support Department. This may require the provision of supplementary teaching in small groups or on an individual basis as well as guidelines for subject teachers to ensure that the intervention is co-ordinated.
- If it is recommended that students be withdrawn from class for individual or group teaching, there may be a case for reducing the number of subjects taken by that student. For students who have an exemption in Irish, supplementary teaching will take place instead of Irish.