Dominican College Sion Hill aims to help each student achieve her full potential academically, spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially in a happy secure environment.
A central theme of the mission statement is to provide a whole school environment in which each student can develop to her full potential. Furthermore the school supports the principle of inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational needs.
An additional educational need represents only one aspect of a student’s development; it should not define the student. There are many other dimensions to a student’s development including personality, the ability to communicate (verbal and non-verbal), resilience and strength, the ability to appreciate and enjoy life, and the desire to learn.
Inclusive education means encouraging each young person to take part in the everyday activities of the school and helping every young person to achieve the most from school. It is ensuring that the system adjusts to meet the young person’s needs, rather than expecting young people to ‘fit’ into the system.
The Continuum of Support
The National Educational Psychological Service (often known as NEPS) is a service that supports schools in meeting the needs of students with special educational needs.
NEPS has developed a system of identifying and supporting students, known as the Continuum of Support. This system involves gathering information, planning ways of helping and reviewing progress.
Identification of Need
Identification of educational need is central to the new model. Using the Continuum of Support framework, schools can identify students’ educational needs, to include academic, social and emotional needs, as well as needs associated with physical, sensory, language and communication difficulties.
Many students will have their special educational needs identified prior to their transfer to Dominican College Sion Hill. A “Post Primary Transfer Review” form and application form, as well as school reports are used to gather information on students’ learning from primary schools and parents. This allows us to plan provision and to ensure continuity and progression in the students’ education. Reports are submitted by parents or guardians from relevant professionals and direct contact with the various Primary Schools and with parents is also made.
At Dominican College Sion Hill, all incoming students complete CAT-4 testing (Cognitive Ability Testing). They also complete the NGRT (National Group Reading Test) and the PTM (Progress Test in Maths). This also helps to identify students that will need additional support, intervention and differentiation.
If a parent or guardian suspects that there may be a learning difficulty, they should contact the class tutor, year-head or principal. The student will then be referred to the SEN team who will investigate and monitor the student’s progress. Good communication with the school will help to identify additional educational needs as early as possible. If it transpires that there is an issue, appropriate steps will be taken, such as drawing up an Individual Educational plan/support file, consulting with NEPs or referring the student to an appropriate professional.
Individual Education Plan (IEP)/ Student Support File
An individual education plan (IEP)/ student support file is a written plan that guides a student’s learning and progress. The IEP sets out the learning goals to be achieved by a student over a certain time period and it lists the teaching strategies, resources and supports that are needed to help a student to reach those goals. It is developed and reviewed by the SEN team and teachers, in conjunction with parents, pupils and where necessary, with others involved in the student’s learning.