Introduction:

Kilkenny City Vocational School believes that all students should be valued equally, irrespective of any individual needs. Through the Department of Education and Science, National Education Psychological Service (NEPS), National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and other agencies, Kilkenny City Vocational School is committed to making effective provision for students in the school who require learning support and have special educational needs including those students on the Autistic spectrum.

Kilkenny City Vocational School is committed to ensuring that all students achieve their true potential.

Aims of Learning Support / Resource Teaching

To optimize the teaching and learning process in order to enable pupils with learning weaknesses to achieve adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy.

Aims
  1. To enable pupils with low achievement and/or learning difficulties to participate in the full curriculum for their class level.
  2. To develop positive self-esteem and positive attitudes about school and learning in these pupils.
  3. To provide supplementary teaching and additional support and resources for these pupils in English and/or Mathematics.
  4. To enable these pupils to become independent learners.
  5. To promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of whole school policies on learning support for these pupils.
  6. To involve parents in supporting their children’s learning.

Roles and Responsibilities

Principal
  • The Principal has overall responsibility for the school’s Learning Support/Resource Programme and for the operation of services of children with special educational needs.
  • Works with learning support coordinator and parents in the development of the school plan on learning support/resource.
  • Monitors the implementation of the school plan on learning support/resource on an ongoing basis and includes learning support/resource on agenda of staff meetings.
  • Keeps teachers informed about the external assessment services that are available and the procedures to be followed in initiating referrals.
  • Arranges for classroom accommodation and resources as appropriate.
  • Monitors screening processes and the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, ensuring that this service is focused on the pupils with very low achievement, high incidence and low incidence disabilities.
  • To contribute to the in-service needs and training of staff.

Learning Support/Special Educational Needs Coordinator

  • To oversee the day-to-day operation of the school’s learning support/special educational needs policy, and to work closely with and under the overall direction of the school principal.
  • To engage in personal professional development.
  • To liaise with and advise other teachers.
  • To meet regularly with the learning support/special educational needs team, home school community liaison officer and other relevant personnel, as appropriate.
  • To oversee the records of all students with learning support/special educational needs.
  • To liaise with parents of students with learning support/special educational needs.
  • To ensure the distribution of suitable learning resources and teaching aids, subject to those resources and teaching aids being made available by the Department of Education & Science or other agencies.
  • To liaise with external agencies including primary schools. National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), National Council for Special Education (NCSE)Health Boards and Voluntary bodies.
  • To Co-ordinate the provision for students with learning support/special educational needs, and keep a register of needs and provision

Role of Learning Support Teacher

The activities of the learning support teacher should include:

  • Assisting in the implementation of a broad range of whole-school strategies designed to enhance early learning and to prevent learning difficulties
  • Development of Individual Education Plan for each pupil who is selected for supplementary teaching, in consultation with class teachers and parents.
  • To ensure that Individual Education Plans are in place, as required, and to develop other practices to aid the identification of students with learning support/special educational needs.
  • Maintaining a monthly/weekly planning and progress record for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of Learning Support/Resource
  • Contributing to the development of policy on learning support
  • Contributing at the school level to the decision making regarding the purchase of learning resources, books and materials to be made available to pupils with learning difficulties in their mainstream classrooms, in the support library and in the learning support/resource teacher’s room. Funds provided for these materials should not be limited to the learning support grant provided by the Dept. of Education and Science.
  • To conduct standardised tests and record student progress to enable the best provision for students.

Role of Subject Teacher

The subject teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in the class including those selected for supplementary teaching. In supporting the development and implementation of the school plan on learning support/ resource the class teacher should:

  • For each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, collaborate with learning support/resource teacher in the development of an Individual Education Plan by identifying appropriate learning targets and by organizing classroom activities to achieve those targets.
  • Differentiate the class curriculum appropriately to meet the needs of all pupils in the class. With regard to teaching pupils with low achievement, the following general methods are recommended:
    • Group teaching
    • Modifying presentation and questioning techniques to maximize the involvement of all pupils in the class
    • Providing learning activities and materials which are suitably challenging but which also ensure success and achievement
    • Implement the schools Literacy and Numeracy plan.

Role of Parent

  • To support and participate in their child’s learning.
  • To meet with class teacher and / or LS teacher and participate in the setting of educational targets.

Role of Board of Management

To oversee implementation and review of the Learning Support policy and the provision of adequate resources, accommodation.

Role of Pupil

It is important for the students to have an input into the development, implementation and review of their own learning. By doing so they can:

  • become more independent as learners
  • become aware of different learning styles
  • become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses or needs
  • enjoy success and evaluate their progress
  • excel at and enjoy many curricular and extracurricular activities which would not be practical in the mainstream class due to class size.
  • develop ownership of the skills and strategies taught during supplementary teaching and apply these strategies and skills in their mainstream class situation.

Criteria for Selection of Pupils to Receive Supplementary Teaching

In the allocation of places for Learning Support, the following are prioritised:

  • Children who have been defined as having a low incidence disability or a high incidence disability will be given the recommended time allocation for resource hours as per National Council for Special Education (NCSE) guidelines.
  • Any student who has been assessed by a psychologist and has had a recommendation of supplementary/resource hours will be given priority (NCSE guidelines).
  • Priority will be given to pupils who are performing at or below the 10th percentile in a standardised test of English and math’s.
  • Please refer to the ASD Unit Admission Policy also for pupils who have a diagnosis of ASD.
  • Currently only two pupils per school, per annum, are being assessed by the Educational Psychologist for this area. Schools have been advised to refer priority cases. This is due to caseload factors / insufficient number of Ed. Psychologists working in the Kilkenny area.

Screening Procedure

Students will be assessed as follows:

  • Nfer-Nelson Group Reading Test. (To access literacy levels).
  • Progress in maths, (To access numeracy levels).
  1. In coming first years undergo a Post Primary Transfer Review which highlights any specific resources that maybe required by a student on entry to post primary education.
  2. On entry all students undertake the following assessments which aids in the identification of students who may require a level of intervention. Nfer-Nelson Group Reading Test, followed by Progress in maths and CAT 3.
  3. This may be followed by diagnostic assessment, which involves the administration of diagnostic tests by the learning support teacher. The learning support teacher will then discuss the outcomes with the learning support coordinator (LSC). The LSC and Principal will then consider the most appropriate form of intervention for the student.
  4. Programme planning where there is a meeting between the LSC, Principal and the Parents. The learning support teacher develops the Individual Education Plan (IEP) in consultation with the pupil’s subject teachers, LSC and parents.
  5. Programme implementation where the subject teacher makes appropriate modification of teaching approaches. The learning support teacher implements the IEP on a term basis.
  6. Programme Review is made at the end of each term where there is an assessment of the pupil’s progress and an evaluation of the learning programme. There is consultation between the LSC, learning support teacher, subject teacher and parents and a decision is made with regard to the level of support now required by the pupil.

The Learning Support Coordinator and Principal meet parents to:

  • discuss the results of diagnostic assessment
  • discuss the drawing up of learning targets in the pupil’s IEP
  • discuss the actions to be taken by the school to meet those targets
  • suggest ways in which attainment of those targets can be supported at home
  • Answer any queries and address any concerns the parent may have.
  • Referral onto NEPS.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or Group Learning Programme

An individual education plan is drawn up by the learning support/resource teacher in conjunction with the subject teachers, parents, LSC and Principal to target the pupil’s needs.

This will include short term and long term planning covering targets, progress and programme evaluation at the beginning of each term.

 

Individual Education Plan

The individual Education Plan/group learning plan will be in accordance with the criteria as advised in the NCSE (IEP Guidelines, (http://www.ncse.ie/uploads/1/final_report.pdf) ).The plan will address the pupils’ full range of needs and will include:

  • Details from Class Teacher
  • Assessment results
  • Other relevant information, e.g. reports from other agencies
  • Learning strengths and attainments
  • Priority learning needs
  • Learning targets
  • Class-based learning activities
  • Supplementary support activities to include ICT
  • Home support activities
  • Resources are matched to child’s needs and listed in programme
  • Review and assessment dates are documented.

Each plan will be monitored through teacher observation, the keeping of planning and progress records and through the pupil’s own feedback.

A detailed review will take place at the end of each term. The LSC and/or the Learning Support Teacher may meet parents to discuss the child’s progress in the light of the review.

Team Teaching:

In according to best practice we endeavor to accommodate where possible the inclusion of all students in the classroom so where possible the learning support will/may be conducted in the regular classroom during the timetabled subject time, this is achieved through team teaching, i.e. the learning support teacher will attend the class and work with the subject teacher for the best possible outcome for the student. We do recognise that in some circumstances that this support may not be the best approach and in such situations the student will be withdrawn for intensive group or one to one teaching.

 

Monitoring Progress

In order to monitor student progress a meeting with the Learning Support Coordinator, Principal and learning support teachers will be held once a term to determine:

  • Implementation of the school’s screening programme.
  • Allocation of learning support teachers time.
  • Progress of pupils in receipt of supplementary teaching.
  • Level of parental involvement.
  • Referral of pupils for additional assessment and support.
  • Co-ordination of support services in school.
  • Time tabling pupils for supplementary teaching.
  • Reviewing adequacy of resources for supplementary teaching.

Record Keeping

The Learning Support Teacher will maintain the following documentation in individualised files locked in a filing cabinet. Principal and relevant class teachers will be involved in the planning process and will be kept updated on test results / progress etc.

  1. Individual Profile and Education Plan
  2. Planning and programme record
  3. Review of Progress
  4. Test papers and results
  5. Samples of written work
  6. Reports from outside agencies

 

Provision of Resources

Resources for the provision of learning support include a variety of textbooks, library books and ancillary materials.

A variety of testing materials are also in use which include standardised, diagnostic screening, reading attainment, phonological awareness and Math’s attainment.

Links with Outside Agencies

The school will liaise with any outside agencies in agreement with parents that will support and assist the learning of pupils these include

  • National Council for Special Education (NCSE)
  • National Education Psychological Service (NEPS),
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Social Workers/HSE
  • A representative from Post Primary Schools to discuss transfer of 6th class pupils with Special Educational Needs. Meeting takes place usually in summer term.

Referral to Out-of-school Agencies

  • The Learning Support Coordinator (LSC) co-ordinates the referral of pupils to outside agencies, such as National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and the designated Educational Psychologist.
  • The Principal and/or LSC/or home school liaison may meet with the parents to discuss the need for the referral and to seek consent.
  • The class teacher completes the necessary referral form in consultation with the appropriate school personnel.
  • The external professional visits the school to meet with the pupil, parents, principal, class teacher and the LSC as appropriate and assessment is conducted.
  • This is followed by a return visit at which findings are discussed, recommendations are considered and an appropriate response is agreed.
  • Where concern arises regarding the manner or speed of the follow–through post assessment, such concern is pursued by the Principal with the out-of-school agency.