Policy on the Educational Provision for Students with Special Education Needs

October 2015 



  1. Introduction



  1. Students with SEN – Definitions



  1. Aims and Objectives of School Policy



  1. Admissions Policy

– Main School

-ASD Outreach Class



  1. School Organisation for SEN



  1. The Resource Department

-Teaching Staff

-Special Needs Assistants



  1. Transition from Primary School



  1. Reasonable Accommodation



  1. Links with External Agencies



  1. Expected Role of Parents & SEN Students



  1. Appeals Procedure



  1. Conclusion






The aim of this policy is to fulfil the mission of the school by encouraging each student to achieve and develop their gifts and talents in an atmosphere of equal opportunity and inclusion. Piper’s Hill College promotes a rich academic and practical mix of subjects to equip its students to face the challenges of a modern society.

Our school values each student individually. We recognise the growth of each person socially, spiritually, morally and intellectually within the school community. We endeavour to nurture and support the holistic development of each student while in our care.

Piper’s Hill College believes in the following;


  • Equal access to all subjects for all students
  • A Co-educational and multi-denominational environment
  • A strong focus on caring and knowing the individual child (inclusion is paramount)
  • Emphasis on modern technology as an aid to promoting effective learning
  • Maximising the talent of each child in a holistic way


This is written in the context of The Education Act (1998)and The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004)






Definition: The School adheres to the definition of S.E.N. as outlined in the E.P.S.E.N. Act of 2004 namely:


“A restriction in the capacity of the person to participate and benefit from education on account of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or learning disability or any other condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without that condition.”



The school recognises these needs in the following categories of students:


(a)        Those who have already been identified and assessed by the relevant professional(s) as having a Special Education Need, prior to transfer, as per DES guidelines.


(b)        Students who are identified and assessed by the relevant professional(s) after enrolment as requiring additional education support while in the school.


(c)        Students, who for a variety of reasons, may require temporary special educational support (e.g. long term illness etc)


(d)       Students, who because of learning, behavioural or emotional problems may be considered marginalised.






The school aims reflect those of the N.C.C.A Draft Guidelines (2002) and those outlined in the school’s mission statement.


The aims of education for students with special educational needs reflect those that are relevant to all students and these include:


(a)        Enabling the student to live a fulfilling life and to realise his or her full potential as a unique individual through access to an appropriate, broad and balanced curriculum.


(b)        Enabling the student to function as independently as possible in society through the provision of such educational supports as is necessary to realise that potential.


(c)        To enable the student to continue learning into further education and their working life.


(d)       The school places a particular emphasis on functional Literacy,Numeracy and Subject Support.




Piper’s Hill College affirms the right of all students to a full education in as inclusive a setting as possible in line with the school’s Mission Statement.


Mission Statement:

Piper’s Hill College is a co-educational school with an ongoing tradition of service to the community. We provide a caring learning environment where all aspects of the student are valued and nurtured. The ethos and culture of the school promotes high standards of effort and achievement. We encourage everyone to appreciate his/her own worth and creativity so that they can become capable and fulfilled members of society.


Students with Special Education Needs (S.E.N.) follow the schools admission policy.


However to ensure that the school can provide for individual needs the following procedures must also be observed


  • All supporting documentation including medical and educational reports must accompany enrolment form.
  • All interested parties (e.g. Health Board, N.E.P.S., S.E.N.O.) must be aware of the application


Please note

A student with S.E.N. will be offered a place in Piper’s Hill College if this is considered by all parties concerned to be in his/her best social and educational interests.

The student for his/her part must accept and commit to the expectations of a second level school.



  • A recommendation from an Educational Psychologist that the student is to be placed in an Outreach Class for students with ASD is essential.
  • There needs to be an indication that the student would benefit from an Autistic Unit in a Mainstream School and would also access mainstream classes.
  • Both Parents and child will subsequently be interviewed.
  • Staff of Piper’s Hill College will contact previous placement and observe the student in this setting.
  • The Board of Management reserves the right to make the final decision whether or not to accept the child in the interest of the child and the school as a whole.
  • The Board of Management will be given the Psychologist’s report outlining the level of needs and care required by the child in this special class.
  • The class can cater for a minimum of six students.
  • The diagnostic criteria for Autistic Disorder as outlined in the DSM-IV will apply.
  • The child’s continuing enrolment will be periodically reviewed in light of their progress and adaptation to the school.


Priority will be given to students who fulfil the criteria outlined below in order of:

  1. Have been attached to an ASD Outreach Class at primary level and have a recommendation to do so at second level as per a recent Educational Psychologist’s Report (within 2 years).
  2. Have or have had a sibling in Piper’s Hill College or St.Patrick’s Community College.
  3. Reside within the school’s catchment area.






The In-School Supports available are as follows:


  • Placement in a Mainstream Mixed Ability Class
  • The Junior Certificate Schools Programme is offered at Junior Cycle and is open to all students and a core JCSP class may be offered to a small group of students following consultation with parents and primary schools and as recommended by an Educational Psychological Report.
  • The Leaving Certificate Applied Programme is offered at Senior Cycle and is open to all students following consultation with parents, year heads and school management.
  • Placement in the schools ASD Outreach Class, as per ASD Class Admissions Policy.
  • Withdrawal of students from Irish and Languages for additional support in Literacy, Numeracy and Subject Support.
  • In-class support and Team-teaching.
  • Social Skills classes for students on the Autistic Spectrum.
  • Lunch-time Club for ASD students and a friend.
  • Homework Club operates twice weekly and Maths Club once a week for all students including students with SEN.
  • Mentoring
  • Guidance Counselling
  • School Completion including Games Club at lunchtime.


Please note that Pipers Hill College recognises that no one model of provision is fully effective and different methodologies and approaches are required. The wish to prioritise those students most in need of support is the determining factor.



Students may be referred by:

  • Parents informing the principal or a member of the SEN team of a learning/behaviour concern they have concerning their child.
  • Principals and teachers from feeder primary school inform the principal or members of the SEN team of areas of concern.
  • Subject teachers may have a concern regarding a student in their class.
  • Concerns may arise following standardised testing.


Procedures to be followed

  • Having consulted with the parents and teachers involved, the principal will seek appropriate assessment through NEPS with a view to qualifying for support from SENO.
  • In the situation where the parents refuse to grant consent for their son or daughter to attend for either a psychological assessment or support, a record of the offer and its rejection should be kept in the students file.
  • The Education Welfare Act 2000 authorises the Board of Management, with the consent of the parent, to arrange an assessment to gauge the student’s intellectual, emotional and physical development.
  • Students, who do not formally qualify for SENO allocated hours, may be included in regular formal sessions at the discretion of the principal and SEN team.





The aims of the SEN team at Piper’s Hill College are:

  • To support as far as possible the integration of the student with special needs into the mainstream setting.
  • To promote excellence in learning.
  • To enable students to develop positive self-esteem and attitudes to school and learning.



The Special Needs Support Team consists of;


Deputy Principals

SEN Coordinator

Guidance Counsellor

HSCL Officer

Year heads


Resource teachers


There are a number of resource teachers from the SEN team allocated to the different year groups within the school to assist students with special education needs.


The allocation of teachers to certain year groups may change from year to year.


Assigned roles within the school in relation to special needs:


Board of Management

To ensure that the school has a special educational needs policy in place.

To monitor the implementation of the SEN policy and ensure its evaluation.


SEN Coordinator

To oversee the running of the SEN department.

Liaises with parents, students, teachers, management and outside agencies to facilitate the needs of students.



SEN Team

To liaise with subject teachers and work in partnership to ensure effective support is provided to the student.

To liaise with parents and students of an assigned year group.


Teaching Staff

To be aware of the school’s policy and procedures in relation to students with special education needs.

To liaise with a SEN department regarding students in their class with special education needs.


SNA Coordinator

Oversees the rotation and management of the special needs assistants throughout the school year.

Meets with the special needs assistants on a weekly basis.

Liaises with parents and students accessing SNA support.


Special Needs Assistants

The SNA acts in a care and support role that is non-teaching in nature and works under the guidance and supervision of the Principal, the SEN Coordinator and SNA Coordinator.

The role and duties of the SNA are more clearly defined in the DES Circular 0030/2014.




Joe Carroll (Deputy Principal)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Education Needs


Niamh Doyle (SEN Coordinator)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Education Needs


Grainne O’Meara

-Post Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Education Needs


Gerry Greally

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Education Needs


Patrick Timoney (Coordinator of ASD Outreach Class)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Education Needs


Joy Coleman

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Education Needs

(Currently engaged in study)


Maria Keeley (SNA Coordinator)



  • October (prior to entry) -The Principal will visit the feeder primary schools prior to the schools open night.
  • October – An open night is held for prospective students from 5th and 6th classes and their parents.
  • November – Parents will forward all Educational Psychological, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatric and/or Medical Reports and Irish Exemption Certificates (where applicable) with the students enrolment form.
  • February/March – The SEN Coordinator and the HSCL Officer will visit the primary schools to meet with 6th class teachers and resource teachers of incoming first years.
  • December/January/February – The school will make contact with and/or meet with parents to discuss the students’ needs.
  • January – Students will attend the entrance exam.
  • March – Students and their parents will attend a subject option night to assist with subject choices. Information will be provided on aspects of the schools procedures.
  • May – The SEN Coordinator and HSCL Officer will meet with a small number of SEN students and their parents and teachers for an informal information session and tour of the school.
  • June – The Deputy-principal and the SEN Coordinator will meet with parents of potential JCSP students in June.
  • September – A first year welcome night is held.
  • September/October – An Introductory meeting explaining the JCSP Programme is held.
  • The Guidance department provide study skills and information about the guidance service offered in the school during the students first year.
  • A Transition Booklet may be used for ASD students.




Students are granted reasonable accommodations in the certificate examinations as outlined by the State Examinations Commission.  The SEN coordinator, in consultation with other members of the SEN Department, identifies those students in need of reasonable accommodation in school and state examinations. Psychological and other professional reports that recommend reasonable accommodations will be acted upon and applications forwarded to the ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ Section of the State Examinations Commission in consultation with parents.  Parents/Guardians are informed that accommodations granted at Junior Certificate level do not necessarily follow at Leaving Certificate. In-school assessment will be administered to those students identified as potential candidates and applications will be made for those students that meet the criteria necessary for additional supports including but not only;

  • Assistance of a Reader
  • Access to a Word Processor/Scribe/Tape Recorder
  • A wavier in spelling and grammar (Language subjects only)
  • Use of an Individual or a Shared Separate Centre





Currently, the Special Educational Needs Department of Piper’s Hill College liaises with the following agencies:

  • The Department of Education and Science
  • The Special Educational Needs Officer (SENO)
  • The National Council for Special Education (NCSE)
  • The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)
  • The Special Education Support service (SESS)
  • The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Educational Psychologists
  • The Educational Welfare Board
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Primary Schools
  • Social Services
  • General Practitioners
  • Health Boards
  • Juvenile Liaison Officer
  • Gardaí
  • Dyslexia Association (DAI)
  • Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI)
  • Visiting Teacher Services (for children who are Deaf/Hearing Impaired or Blind/Visually Impaired)




  • The parents of any child enrolling in Piper’s Hill College shall make the school aware of any special needs (physical/emotional/learning) that the child may have. They will provide the school with a copy of any assessment/professional reports etc. which will help the school to make appropriate provision for the child.
  • Parents are made aware that the Special Educational Needs team conduct visits to incoming students’ Primary schools in order to assess the needs of a child and to communicate with the child’s primary teachers and resource teachers.
  • It is envisaged that parents will support work done in school by working with their child at home using strategies and methods discussed with the teachers. Parents help the school by keeping the teachers informed of the progress, or the difficulties, they observe in their child’s learning as they progress through the various stages of post- primary school. Parents also assist their child by showing an interest in their school work and by arranging an appropriate place at home for them in which to do homework. By familiarizing themselves with the approaches taken in school, parents provide more effective support for their children and the school.








In line with the schools admission policy, any decision relating to a student’s enrolment can be appealed to the Board of Management at Piper’s Hill College.

This appeals procedure is to be viewed in conjunction with the school’s overall Special Needs Policy.




The management and staff of Piper’s Hill College are committed to providing an inclusive, accessible and meaningful learning experience for all students.

This document will be reviewed regularly to comply with this aspiration.