The principal aim of Learning Support in Castlepollard Community College is to provide a positive learning environment, which will foster the academic, social and emotional development of students with SEN and to enable each to realise their individual potential. In line with our mission statement, ethos and official Department of Education and Skills (DES) recommendations, learning support strategies will actively seek to include the diverse range of cultures and abilities of the students.

The model of assessment and intervention, as practiced in Castlepollard Community College, is based on recognition that special educational needs occur along a continuum, from mild to severe and from transient to long term. Our response to the needs of students is organised according to NEPS’s Continuum of Support. Using this framework helps to ensure that interventions are incremental, moving from class-based interventions to more intensive and individualised support, and that they are informed by careful monitoring of progress.

In assessing and deciding which students need to be in receipt of supplementary teaching and which students may benefit from support within mainstream context, the following options are considered.

  1. Curricular differentiation
  2. Curricular reduction (reduced load). A student with SEN who experiences difficulty in coping with the breadth of the current curriculum is permitted to reduce subjects. This occurs only after all avenues have been exhausted. A consultation between the parents/guardian and guidance teacher is also necessary. Parents must sign a consent form giving permission for a reduced subject load.
  3. Team teaching/Co-operative teaching
  4. In class support
  5. Differentiation
  6. Inclusion of SNA in specific cases
  7. Small group withdrawal
  8. Individual withdrawal
  9. Organization and life skills lessons

Our provision seeks to:

  1. Identify children’s individual needs at the earliest possible stage to make provision for their needs.
  2. Enable students of all abilities to avail of and benefit from an appropriate education.
  3. Provide students with consistent opportunities to experience success.
  4. Provide supplementary teaching and additional support in literacy and numeracy.
  5. Involve parents in the support of their children’s education.
  6. Promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of the whole school policy on learning support for pupils.
  7. Protect and enhance the self-esteem of the learner.
  8. Involve students in the identification and review of targets, they are specific, achievable, realistic and time related.

The SEN team comprises the Principal, Deputy Principal, the SEN Co-coordinator, the Learning Support Teachers, the Guidance Counsellor and Mainstream teachers. The Team also includes SNAs, as approved by the DES. The SEN Coordinator is also part of the Pastoral Care team in the school and works closely with this student support team and with Year Heads. The team is advised by the SENO and NEPS Psychologist as well as other agencies and professionals involved with SEN students in the school. The specific roles and responsibilities of personnel are as described in the DES Inspectorate publication, Inclusion of Students with Special Needs, Post primary Guidelines (2007)