Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest

Special Educational Needs Policy

The Education Order 1996 addresses the statutory functions of schools towards children with special educational needs.  It is operative from September 1997.

Special educational needs is defined in the legislation as “a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made”.  “Special educational provision” means educational provision which is different from, or additional to, the provision made generally for children of comparable age.

At the heart of every school and each lesson taught lies a cycle of planning, teaching and assessing.  The teacher, as a professional, will be aware of the range of abilities, aptitudes and interests of the pupils in his/her care and will cater for these in the lessons taught.  Most children learn and progress well within these general arrangements.  Those who do not may have special educational needs.

The aims and educational philosophy of the College emphasise the importance of the individual student.  The objectives of the SEN policy stem from these and are as follows:
1 To ensure that every student has as wide an access to the curriculum as possible.
2 To assist those students who have any form of special educational need to minimise its impact on their education and development.
3 To ensure that teachers follow a consistent and agreed procedure in identifying and providing for Special Educational Needs.

As a learning-for-all school the College is committed to promoting and facilitating relevant training for both the professional and personal development of staff enabling them to carry out their duties and responsibilities more effectively.

The Code addresses all types of learning difficulties, from those where classroom provision can adequately meet the needs to where a Statement of Special Educational Need is required.  It covers children with Learning Difficulties both severe (CLD) and profound/multiple (PMLD), Specific Learning Difficulties e.g. dyslexia, Educational and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD), Physical Disabilities, Sensory Impairment, Speech and Language Difficulties and Medical Conditions.

The Code requires:
1 Identification of children with special educational needs at the earliest possible stage.
2 An assessment of the case to identify specific needs.
3 Provision for the special educational needs.
4 Monitoring the effectiveness of the provision.

Stages in Process
The Code of Practice sets out a 5-stage approach within which responsibility for pupils within stages 1 - 3 lies with the school (with close involvement by the Board at stage 3).  At stages 4 and 5 responsibility lies with the ELB and the school.
The school will move on to the next stage if a child’s progress at any one stage continues to cause concern.

1 Concern that a pupil may have special educational needs.  Teacher/Form Teacher makes arrangements to help within normal curriculum framework.  If the problem persists the Form Teacher should negotiate an action plan with the help of the SEN co-ordinator who will place the pupil on the register at stage one and will assist in suggesting possible strategies.  The Form Teacher should record this on the pupil's Record Card.
2 Should stage two be necessary the Form Teacher should present the case history to the SEN co-ordinator who will take the lead in making provision, again within the normal classroom setting.  At this stage the SEN co-ordinator will advise the pupil's teachers and if necessary the Literacy and Numeracy officers that the pupil has progressed to stage two.
3 External support is considered necessary and an education plan is co-ordinated by the SEN co-ordinator.
4 Deciding that statutory assessment is required and the conducting of same.
5 A statement of Special Educational Needs is made.

Any one or combination of the following procedures or sources of information may lead to the identification of special educational needs:
1 The professional observation and monitoring of students by the teacher.
2 Monitoring of formative and summative assessments (Reports and Record Cards).
3 Monitoring of behaviour.
4 Monitoring of homework, punctuality, appearance, grooming.
5 Students’ transfer reports/records.
6 Direct information from parent/guardian.
7 Information from students themselves or peer members.
8 College record of 'Special Case Pupils' on coded name lists.
9 Other sources.

Where a teacher decides that the needs of a particular student should be addressed more specifically, the College’s pastoral system is used as follows:
1 The teacher consults with the Form Teacher.
2 The Form Teacher consults more widely to form an overview.
3 The Year Head is informed.
4 The relevant member of the Senior Management Team is informed.
5 Where referral to an outside person or agency is considered appropriate the Principal is informed.
6 Parents/Guardian will be kept informed.
7 Social Services may be asked to examine the case and/or the Psychology Department of NEELB may be invited to assess the need for a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

1 The College’s disciplinary procedure addresses the day-to-day deviations from what is acceptable behaviour.  Where special conditions apply and a different standard is to be accepted, teachers are informed.
2 Individual subject teachers are informed of the nature of a problem.
3 Students with authorised absence from class or who are distracted from their studies for “genuine reasons” are given adequate time and encouragement by individual teachers to catch up on work and may have assignment deadlines extended.
4 Special case students are accommodated at public examinations through arrangements made via the Examinations Officer.  It may be decided that ‘special consideration’ and/or ‘special arrangements’ are necessary.
5 In the case of under-achievement through low motivation, or poor self-discipline, interviewing, monitoring and target-setting by the Form Teacher takes place.  
6 Serious or prolonged under-achievement results in interviewing, monitoring and target-setting by the Head of Year or if necessary the relevant Vice Principal.
7 A student may be put on Report (daily monitoring by Year Head).
8 If the assessment outcome requires, then a suitable external counsellor is brought in or external agency informed.  
9 Parents/Guardians are consulted and informed, the exception being a case of suspected child abuse by the parent/guardian, in which case Social Services only are informed.

1 Monitoring is done by those individuals responsible in the pastoral hierarchy (subject teacher, form teacher, Head of Year and Vice Principal).  The assessment outcome will determine how far up the hierarchy the referral goes.
2 Review of progress is carried out by the relevant person until the problem is resolved or the pupil leaves.
3 Parents/Guardians are kept informed (except in the case of 9 above).

Footnote: Outside agencies/persons referred to in the Policy may include the following:  Chaplain or other priest, Counsellor, Educational Welfare Officer, Health Visitor, Educational Psychologist, Social Services Personnel, Government Agencies.