The Learning Support Department aims to provide an effective and comprehensive support service that will enable students with special educational needs to access the curriculum and achieve their full potential.
The Role of the Learning Support Department:
The Learning Support team provides assistance to these pupils, through early identification, specialist tuition and close liaison with parents, subject teachers, housemasters / housemistresses and outside professionals.
The Learning Support Team consists of:
Janet Nelson - B.A.(mod) M.Sc., H.Dip.Ed., Dip.SEN -Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO)
Yvonne Duggan - B.Comm., B.Sc., H.Dip.Ed., Dip.SEN; Dip.Ed.Lead., Accredited Counsellor and Supervisor with I.A.C.P.
Tia Peyton - B.A. (hons); H.Dip.Ed., Dip.SEN.
Lizzie Peoples - B.A., M.A., H.Dip.Ed.
Andrew Pomeroy - B.A / B.A.I., H.Dip.Ed.
Jenny Wilson - B.A., P.G.D.E.
Special Needs Assistants: Marion Duffy, Mick McKinnon and Emma Regan.
Who is eligible for supports?
Students who are supported by the Learning Support Department include individuals who have been identified by a psychologist or health care professional as having a Specific Learning Difficulty (e.g. Dyslexia), Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder (Dyspraxia), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD /ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Speech and Language Difficulties, mild General Learning Difficulties or those whose learning has been affected by a Physical Difficulty.
Other students who are struggling with the demands of the curriculum may also be eligible for short term interventions.
How are support classes organised?
In The King’s Hospital, pupils with a range of learning difficulties are integrated into regular mixed ability classes and are either withdrawn for extra tuition or provided with in-class support by our Learning Support team. If the student has an Irish exemption, extra classes are usually offered at this time. Pupils who take a full range of subjects are generally seen on a rotational basis.
Resource teachers and Learning Support teachers take students individually or in small groups to develop skills in literacy, numeracy and to offer subject-specific support; to develop social skills, organisational skills and/or study skills and in some cases to help with assistive technology. A small number of students may also be eligible for support from a Special Needs Assistant. The level of support depends upon the level of need.
How do I apply for supports?
If a student in primary school has been receiving assistance from a resource teacher, a learning support teacher or a special needs assistant, it is important that the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in The King’s Hospital is notified, so that there will be continuity of support when the student progresses on to secondary school.
In order to make provision for pupils with special educational needs, it is essential that relevant reports and documentation are forwarded to the SENCO as soon as a place in the school has been accepted. The deadline for applying for resource teaching hours or SNA support is usually early March in the year of entry.
The SENCO is happy to discuss the needs of individual students and is available for consultation by appointment.
How are students with learning difficulties identified?
All students complete Entrance Assessment Tests which screen for basic skills in literacy and numeracy competency. These results, together with information obtained from parents/guardians, feeder primary schools and/or mainstream teachers can assist in identifying students with special educational needs. Other screening or diagnostic tests may be carried out where appropriate. An educational psychological assessment or referral on to another outside professional may be recommended.
Once the relevant information has been collated and the pupil’s strengths and needs identified, a learning support programme and timetable is put in place for each student.
Regular reviews the student’s progress are maintained and parents/guardians are kept informed. The duration of this support is determined by each student’s progress. Students who have been allocated resource teaching hours are strongly advised to avail of all the extra classes. This entitlement remains with the pupil for his/her entire secondary education.
What is ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ in State Examinations?
The Department of Education and Skills may grant ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ or special arrangements in state examinations to students with special educational needs.
Each application is assessed on an individual basis. The SENCO is responsible for the submission of these applications to the Exam Commission on behalf of parents/guardians.
A recent educational psychological assessment is not necessary for Junior Certificate applications, however, Leaving Certificate applications require supporting documentation from relevant professionals.
Special arrangements can include:
- Use of a separate centre
- Use of computer
- Use of tape recorder or scribe
- A spelling/grammar/ punctuation waiver in language subjects
- Provision of a reader
Note: If a student avails of some of these accommodations, this will be indicated on the examination certificate. An asterisk will appear next to the subject and a supplementary report will accompany it.
To prepare students for reasonable accommodation in state examinations, the Learning Support Department offers students in their care the opportunity to practise their accommodation in some subjects in school examinations.
What is DARE?
The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college / university admission scheme, which offers places in college at reduced points to students with disabilities. The scheme recognises that these students have had to overcome more obstacles than most in order to get to 3rd level.
Sixth form students with disabilities may apply for DARE once they have their CAO number (usually in January in the year of entry to 3rd level). The Learning Support Department assists them in this application process. Updated assessments may be necessary in order to be eligible. Further information and guidelines regarding the application process is available on the DARE web-site.
The Learning Support Department is committed to providing an effective learning support provision which will promote, enhance and further develop the acquired skills and confidence of students with learning difficulties. We strive towards the full inclusion of pupils with disabilities in every aspect of life in The King’s Hospital.
Links to some useful Websites
Special Education Support Service (www.sess.ie)
Dyspraxia Association of Ireland (www.dyspraxiaireland.com)
Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (www.aoti.ie)
Dyslexia Association of Ireland (www.dyslexia.ie)
The Asperger's Syndrome Association: 'Aspire' (www.aspireireland.ie)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Support Association: HADD (www.hadd.ie)
Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (Tel: 01-8780215)
Irish Association for Gifted Children (http://homepage.tinet.ie)
Irish Centre for Talented Youth (CTYI) (www.dcu.ie/ctyi/)