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SEN / Learning Support

Our Lady’s Secondary School welcomes students with Special Education Needs (SEN) and in line with the Education for Person’s with Special Needs Act 2004 recognises “the need to provide that the education of people with such needs shall wherever possible take place in an inclusive environment”.  The management and staff of our school will endeavour to ensure that all students are able to participate in as many aspects of school life as is reasonably practicable.

Our school recognises that each student is unique and special and that they have their own unique skills, talents and abilities. It is our hope that our school is a place of growth and development where we promote and facilitate a whole school approach to special needs education.

The school Special Education Needs Team comprises the Principal, Deputy Principals, the SEN Co-ordinator, the Special Education teachers, the Guidance Counsellors and the mainstream teachers. The team also includes any SNA’s, as approved by the DES. Representatives from the SEN Team attend our Student Support meetings and Council of Discipline meetings on a weekly basis. Our management and staff enjoy fantastic support from outside agencies and are advised and supported by the SENO and NEPS Psychologist as well as other agencies and professionals involved with SEN students in the school. The model of assessment, intervention and support as practised in Our Lady’s is in line with the NEPS’s Continuum of Support.

The transfer of information from primary level to post-primary level is vital to the successful support of students with SEN.

Prospective parents are invited to meet with members of the SEN Department who will discuss the needs of their son / daughter at the open night and also at the student assessment day. The SEN Co-ordinator will then consult with feeder primary schools and organise meetings with parents / guardians as well as arrange additional visits to the school for students with specific needs. We then work in conjunction with the NCSE and NEPS to ensure that the appropriate supports are put in place before students join our school.

In consultation with parents, students who have been identified as having learning needs are facilitated in a variety of ways, according to their needs including:

  • Curricular differentiation

  • Curricular reduction

  • Team Teaching/Co-operative Teaching

  • In-class support/Differentiation

  • Inclusion of SNA in specific classes

  • Small group support

  • One to one support

  • The use of assistive technology

Where students are identified as having emerging needs, the SEN Co-ordinator will begin a process of informal assessment including observations from mainstream teachers, consultation with parents, meeting with student, SNA consultation/observation as well as formal assessment including review of entrance tests, review of in-house exams and reports, consultation with Guidance Counsellors and administration of relevant tests such as WRAT and/or CAT 4, or other diagnostic testing and screening in line with Department of Education Circulars

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

  • No need for further action.

  • Needs for monitoring /support in mainstream settings.

  • Purposeful support either on a one to one basis or in a small group.

All information / data gathered is recorded in the Student Support file which is kept in their file.

The SEN Co-ordinator applies for Reasonable Accommodations in State Examinations for qualifying students. The Guidance & Counselling Team advises on the transition to Third Level education through the DARE scheme.

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