Learning Support

This Learning Support Policy is reviewed by the Learning Support ,  Principal  and staff of St Aengus ’N.S. taking cognisance of directives contained in the 1998 Education Act; the Learning-Support Guidelines (2000); the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (EPSEN) 2004; and recent DES Circulars,especially 02/05.

 

The Draft Policy was discussed, accepted and ratified by the Board of Management of St. Aengus’ N.S.  on __11/12/2011_____________.

This Draft Policy on LSR Provision  contains the following elements:

1. Situation.

2. Aims of Learning-Support.

2.1 Subsidiary aims

3. Principles.

4. Roles and Responsibilities

4.1 Role of the Board of Management.

4.2 Role of the Principal.

4.3 Role of the Class Teacher

4.4 Role of the LSRT.

4.5 Role of Parents.

4.6 Role of Pupils.

5. Prevention and Early Intervention.

5.1 Prevention Strategies.

5.2 Early Intervention Programmes.

6. Policy

for Screening, Assessment, Caseload, Selection, Permissions, Review

6.1 Parental Permissions.

6.2 Initial Screening.

6.3 Diagnostic Assessment

6.4 Caseload Decisions

6.5 Selection Criteria.

6.6 Deploying Resources (The 6 Steps from Circular 02/05)

6.7 Staff Meetings.

6.8 Parent-Teacher Meetings.

6.9 Lunchtime Supervision.

6.10 Travelling Time.

6.11 Review of the Cluster-Wide Policy on Learning-Support.

7. Continuing and Discontinuing Supplementary Teaching

8. Monitoring Progress.

9. Liaising with Parents.

9.1 Communication with Parents

9.2 Principal Teacher Liaising with Parents.

9.3 Class Teacher Liaising with Parents.

9.4 The LSRT Liaising with Parents.

10. Monitoring and Reviewing this Policy.

 

 

List of Appendices.

Appendix 1.

The Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme

Planning (Appendix 3 of Circular 02/05).

Appendix 2.

A List of Assessments Available in St. Aengus’ N.S.

Appendix 3.

Draft Letter seeking Parental Permission for their Child to Attend

Learning-Support.

Appendix 4.

Draft Letter Seeking Parental Permission for the Learning-Support

Teachers to Administer Diagnostic Tests.

Appendix 5.

Resources Maintained by the Learning-Support/ Resource Teacher.

 

Bibliography.

 

 

 

1. Situation.

St. Aengus N.S was allocated 1 full time plus 7 hours,  LSR teachers under the General Allocation model (GAM) in June 2005. The school also has a number of pupils who have been diagnosed as having low incidence learning disabilities and high incidence learning

disabilities. This number varies as children pass through the school.The full time post is shared between Mary Kindlon and Anna Mc Carron. The other 7 hours and the low incidence hours are covered by Pauline Caldwell. 1.9 hours surplus to this is covered by a cluster arrangement with Cockhill N.S.

 

This policy is the LSR Policy for St. Aengus’ N.S.  but also contains a section which

outlines the cluster-wide policy for Screening, Assessment, Caseload, Selection,

Permissions and Review (Section 6).

 

2. Aims of Learning-Support.

 

The principal aim of learning-support provision, “is to optimise the teaching and

learning process in order to enable pupils with learning difficulties to achieve

adequate levels of proficiency in literary and numeracy before leaving primary

school” (LSG: p. 15). This support may be provided by the class teacher and / or the

LSRT (See Appendix 1: The Staged Approach, described in Circular 02/05).

2.1 Subsidiary aims.

  • To enable pupils to participate in the full curriculum for their class level
  • To develop positive self esteem and positive attitudes about school and learning in pupils
  • To enable pupils to monitor their own learning and become independent learners
  • To provide supplementary teaching and additional support in English and / or Mathematics
  • To involve parents in supporting their children
  • To promote collaboration among teachers in the implementation of whole school policies on learning support for pupils
  • To establish early intervention programmes designed to enhance learning and to prevent / reduce difficulties in learning
  • To guard the self-esteem and self-image of the learner.

 

3. Principles.

 

Effective learning programmes are based on the following principles:

 

  • Effective whole-school policies and parental involvement
  • Prevention of failure
  • Provision of intensive early intervention
  • Direction of resources towards pupils in greatest need.

4. Roles and Responsibilities.

 The role of supporting learning is a collaborative responsibility shared by all – The

Board of Management, Principal Teacher, Class Teachers, LSRT, Parents and

Children. It is important that everyone contributes in the planning and implementation

of our school plan on LSR Provision.

 

4.1 Role of the Board of Management.

The Board of Management shall:

  • Oversee the development, implementation and review of the LSR policy.
  • Ensure that adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided for the LSRTs.
  • Provide adequate funds for the purchase of LSR materials. “Funds provided for these materials should not be limited to the learning-support grant provided by the Department of Education and Science”, (Learning-Support Guidelines, p. 47).
  • Provide a secure facility for storage of records relating to pupils in receipt of LSR.

 

4.2 Role of the Principal Teacher.

“The principal teacher has overall responsibility for the school’s learning-support

programme and for the operation of services for children with special educational

needs”. (Learning-Support Guidelines, p.38). The Education Act (1998) and the

EPSEN Act (2004) have all reiterated this responsibility

.

The Principal Teacher is required to:

  • Assume overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the school’s policies on learning-support and special needs in co-operation with the LSRTs.
  • Work with teachers and parents in the development of the school plan on learning support and special needs.
  • Monitor the implementation of the school plan on LSR and special needs on an ongoing basis.
  • Organise at least one cluster meeting per annum.
  • Monitor the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, ensuring that this service is focused on the pupils with very low achievement.
  • Oversee the implementation of a whole-school assessment and screening programme to identify pupils with very low achievement and learning difficulties so that these pupils can be provided with the support they need.
  • Keep teachers informed about the external assessment services that are available and the procedures to be followed for initial referrals.
  • Help teachers increase their knowledge and skills in the area of learning-support.
  • Liaise regularly with the LSRTs, “In order to support the implementation of school policy on learning support as outlined in the school plan, the principal teacher should arrange a meeting with the learning-support teacher at least once each school term to discuss the implementation of the school plan on learning support” (Learning-Support Guidelines, p. 40).
  • Assume direct responsibility for co-ordinating LSR and special needs             services.
  • The role of co-ordinating learning-support and special needs services may be filled by the principal teacher him / herself. Alternatively the principal teacher may assign these duties to another teacher such as a special education teacher, LSRT or post holder.

 

 

 

Typically, the duties assigned to this role would include the following:

 

  • Maintaining a list of pupils who are receiving supplementary teaching and / or special educational services
  • Help to co-ordinate the caseloads / work schedules of the learning support and resource teachers
  • Supporting the implementation of a tracking system at whole-school level to monitor the progress of children with learning difficulties
  • Advise parents on procedures for availing of special needs services
  • Liaising with external agencies such as psychological services to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs
  • Arrange for classroom accommodation and resources, as appropriate.
  • Organise and co-ordinate the construction of IPLPs / IEPs

 

4.3 Role of the Class Teacher.

  • Circular 02/05 demands the implementation of the Staged Approach. Stage 1 of

this approach requires class teachers to support their pupils’ learning, in the first

instance (See Appendix 1 of this policy).

  • The Staged Approach requires class teachers to construct simple, individual

plans of support, and to implement this plan for a specified time before referring

the child for Stage 2 interventions (See Appendix 1 of this policy).

  • Circular 02/05 demands that, “Interventions with pupils at stages 2 and 3 should

include a classroom support plan to ensure that the pupils’ needs are met for the

whole school day” (p. 7).

  • The Learning Support Guidelines (2000) advocate a significant change in the role

of the class teacher, in terms of increasing emphasis on consultation with the

learning-support teacher and with parents.

  • The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in her /

his class, including those selected for supplementary teaching.

  • A particular responsibility of the class teacher is to create a classroom

environment in which learning difficulties can be prevented or at least

alleviated”, (Learning-Support Guidelines, p. 42).

This can be achieved by:

Grouping pupils for instruction

Providing lower-achieving pupils with strategies for reading, spelling and problem  solving

Adapting learning materials for lower-achieving pupils

Liaising closely with their parents.

  • When supplementary teaching cannot be provided for a pupil, or is being phased out or discontinued, the class teacher will need to develop and implement a support programme that meets the pupil’s changing needs, in consultation with the learning-support teacher.
  • In supporting the development and implementation of the school plan on learning Support, the class teacher should administer and score appropriate screening measures, and discuss the outcomes with the LSRT.
  • The class teacher plays an important role in the initial identification of pupils who may have general or specific learning disabilities. The class teacher will carry out appropriate screening measures him / herself and / or refer the pupil to the learning-support teacher for appropriate screening.
  • For each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, the class teacher will collaborate with the learning-support teacher in the development of an Individual

Profile and Learning Programme (IPLP) by identifying appropriate learning

targets and by organising classroom activities to achieve those targets.

  • For each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, the class teacher will

adjust the class programme in line with the agreed learning targets and activities

on the pupil’s IPLP and maintain a record of the pupil’s progress towards

achieving those learning targets.

  • With regard to teaching pupils with low achievement, the following general approaches and methods are recommended:

 

Group teaching

Modifying presentation and questioning techniques to maximise the

involvement of pupils with low achievement in class activities

  • Placing an emphasis on oral language development across the

curriculum

  • Providing pupils with extra tutoring in the key basic skills in literacy

and numeracy

  • Setting learning targets at an appropriate level
  • Providing learning activities and materials which are suitably challenging but which also ensure success and progress
  • Carrying out error analyses of a pupil’s work to pinpoint specific areas of difficulty, for particular attention in subsequent lessons
  • Setting up ‘buddy systems’ in class (high achievers collaboratively working with low achievers).

Teaching all children in the use of AFL (assessment for learning) in the classroom. Using this system in the class.

  • A key role of successful learning-support is a very high level of consultation and co-operation between the class teacher and the learning-support teacher.

Central to this consultation is the development, implementation and review of

IPLPs. This consultation will be achieved through formal timetabling at

least once per instructional term, and through informal consultation as

the need arises.

  •  It is accepted practice for class teachers to consult with the parents of all their pupils from time to time. However, for parents of pupils who are in receipt of supplementary teaching, additional time should be devoted to consultation and collaborative planning. In the case of each pupil who has been identified as experiencing low achievement and / or a learning difficulty following administration of an appropriate screening measure, the class teacher should:
  • Make parents aware of the concerns of the school about their child’s progress
  • Outline the school’s practices regarding the administration of diagnostic tests by the LSRT and seek the approval of the pupil’s parents to proceed with such assessment
  • Outline the support that is available in the school to pupils who experience low achievement and / or learning difficulties
  • Indicate to the pupil’s parents that a meeting with the LSRT will follow the assessment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.4 Role of the Learning-Support / Resource Teacher (LSRT).

The activities of the learning support teacher should include both teaching and nonteaching duties. According to the Learning-Support Guidelines (2000) “The

particular balance that the learning-support teacher achieves between supplementary

teaching and consultative activities will depend on the specific circumstances of the

school” (p. 32). The LSRT’s activities should include, where possible:

 

  • Assisting in the implementation of a broad range of whole-school strategies

designed to enhance early learning and to prevent learning difficulties.

  • Provide supplementary teaching commensurate with the child’s particular and individual needs.
  • Research the pupil’s specific learning difficulty, to become au fait with this impediment to learning.
  • Implement recommendations from outside agencies, wherever possible, and liaise with outside agencies pertinent to the children in their care.
  • Development of an IPLP for each pupil who is selected for supplementary teaching, in consultation with class teachers and parents.
  • Maintaining a weekly planning and progress record, or equivalent, for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of learning support.
  • Delivering intensive early intervention programmes and providing supplementary teaching in English and / or Mathematics to pupils in the junior section of the school (Senior Infants to 2nd Class), caseload permitting.
  • Providing teaching in English and / or Mathematics to pupils in the senior section of the school who experience low achievement and / or learning difficulties.
  • Co-ordinating the implementation of whole-school procedures for the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, giving due consideration to:
    • The selection criteria specified in this LSRT
    • Teachers’ professional observations
    • Input from parents

Contributing to the development of policy on LSR at the whole school level and at the cluster level.

Providing advice to the Class Teacher (if requested) about pupils who are experiencing learning difficulties in such areas as:

      • Individual pupil assessment
      • Programme planning
      • Curriculum differentiation
      • Approaches to language development
      • Approaches to reading
      • Approaches to spelling
      • Approaches to writing
      • Approaches to Mathematics

Meet with parents of each pupil who is in receipt of LSR to discuss targets and ways in which attainment of the targets can be supported at home.

Meet with parents of each pupil who is in receipt of LSR at the end of each instructional term:

      • To review the pupil’s attainment of agreed targets
      • To discuss the next instructional term
      • To revise the pupil’s IPLP.
  • Contributing at the school level to decision making regarding the purchase of learning resources, books and materials to be made available to pupils with learning difficulties in their mainstream classrooms and in the learning-support teacher’s room.

 

  • Liaising with external agencies such as educational psychologists, speech and
  • language therapists etc… to arrange assessments and special provision for pupils with special needs.
  • Collaborate with the principal teacher and meet with  her at least once each school term to discuss issues relating to the development and implementation of the school plan on LSR, and to the provision of LSR.
  • The LSRT should work closely with class teachers to implement school policies on preventing learning difficulties, screening pupils for learning difficulties, interpreting the outcomes of diagnostic assessments and providing supplementary teaching and other forms of learning-support, where it is deemed necessary.
  • The LSRT plays an important role in co-ordinating the selection of pupils for
  • supplementary teaching. The LSRT shall:
    •    Co-ordinate the administration by class teachers of a whole-school screening programme to identify pupils with very low achievement and / or learning difficulties in English and Mathematics and spelling
    •    Consult with class teachers on the identification of pupils who may need diagnostic assessment, taking into account the pupils’ scores on an appropriate standardised screening measure, agreed criteria for identifying pupils, teachers’ own views of the pupils’ difficulties and needs and the number of pupils to whom LSR can be provided
    •    Carry out a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of each pupil who has been identified as experiencing low achievement and / or learning difficulties and, in consultation with the class teacher and parents, identify the type and level of LSR that is needed to meet the pupil’s needs.
    • In addition to providing supplementary teaching to pupils, the LSRT is involved in administering a range of formal and informal assessments and in

maintaining records of the outcomes of those assessments. The LSRT shall:

_ Conduct an initial diagnostic assessment of each pupil who has been

identified as having low achievement and / or a learning difficulty,

based on results of an appropriate screening measure and record the

findings of the assessment in the pupil’s IPLP.

_ Monitor the ongoing progress of each pupil in receipt of supplementary

teaching in relation to the attainment of agreed learning targets and

short-term objectives that arise from them, and record the observations

in the Weekly Planning and Progress Record, or equivalent.

_ Review the progress of each pupil at the end of an instructional term

and record it on the pupil’s IPLP.

_ As one of our LSRTs is shared between 3 schools, the following caution

contained in the Learning-Support Guidelines, is particularly relevant to our

situation: “Teachers providing learning-support services in a cluster of

schools face additional challenges in meeting the learning needs of pupils

(Learning-Support Guidelines, p.51).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Role of Parents.

“Parents through their unique knowledge of their own child, have much to contribute

to their child’s learning programmes” (Learning-Support Guidelines, p.52). Parents

can prepare for and support the work of the school by:

Providing a home environment in which there are opportunities for adults and

children to participate together in language, literacy and mathematical

activities in the early years before formal schooling begins.

Supporting the work of the school by participating with their child in such

activities as:

  • Using Information and Communications Technology (ICTs), where

available, to support learning in English and / or Mathematics

  • Book sharing / reading stories

Storytelling

  • Paired reading (listening to and giving supportive feedback on oral

reading)

  • Discussions about school and other activities to build vocabulary and

thinking skills

  • Writing lists and short accounts about children’s experiences
  • Counting and measuring and other activities involving number
  • Visits to the zoo, museum, library etc… to broaden the range of their child’s experiences
  • Where their child is in receipt of supplementary teaching, implementing suggested home-based activities outlined in their child’s IPLP and discussing the outcomes with the child’s teachers.
  • Talking positively about school and school work;
  • Availing of real-life situations to discuss the importance of language, literacy and mathematics.
  • Modelling involvement in language, literacy and mathematical activities at home by engaging in and talking about these activities.
  • Where their child is in receipt of supplementary teaching, implementing suggested home-based activities outlined in their child’s IPLP and discussing the outcomes with the child’s teachers.
  • Parents should keep the class teacher informed of the progress that they observe in their child’s learning. They should also let the school know of any learning difficulties that they observe in their child at home. If, following diagnostic assessment, the child has been identified as requiring supplementary teaching, the parents should attend a meeting with the learning support teacher to discuss:
      • The results of the assessment
      • The learning targets in the child’s IPLP
      • The actions to be taken by the school to meet those targets
      • The ways in which attainment of the targets can be supported at  home.
  • Where a child is in receipt of supplementary teaching from the learning support teacher, the parents should:
  • Discuss their child’s progress with the LSRT at the end of each

instructional term, and, in cases where supplementary teaching is to be

continued, discuss the revised learning targets and activities in their

child’s IPLP

  • At the discontinuation of supplementary teaching, discuss with their

child’s teachers how the child’s future learning needs can continue to

be met at school and at home

  • Participate in activities organised by the school that are designed to

increase the involvement of parents in their children’s learning

  • Become familiar with and contribute to the development of the school

plan on learning support individually and through involvement in

parents’ associations.

 

4.6  Role of Pupils.

 

Pupils who are in receipt of supplementary teaching should, as appropriate:

 

  • Become familiar with the medium and short-term learning targets that have been set for them and they should be given the opportunity to contribute to the setting of such targets.
  • Contribute to the selection of texts and other learning materials that are relevant to the attainment of their learning targets.
  • Develop ‘ownership’ of the skills and strategies that are taught during supplementary teaching and learn to apply these learning strategies and skills to improve their own learning.
  • Contribute to the evaluation of their progress by participating in appropriate assessment activities, including self-assessment and AFL

The involvement of pupils in the development, implementation and review of their own learning programmes is an important principle underlining effective supplementary teaching” (Learning-Support Guidelines, p.54).

 

5. Prevention and Early Intervention.

Prevention / early intervention is a cornerstone of LSR.

5.1 Prevention Strategies.

Our strategies for preventing learning difficulties include:

  • The development of agreed approaches to the teaching of English and

Mathematics in order to ensure progression and continuity from class to class.

(See Plean Scoile for English and for Mathematics)

  • Provision of additional support in language development and relevant early literacy and mathematical skills to pupils who need it
  • Implementation of a whole school parental involvement programmes that focus on developing children’s oral language skills, shared books with children and developing their early mathematical skills
  • Implementation of paired reading programmes involving adults / parents and pupils in the school
  • Ongoing structured observation and assessment of the language, literacy and numeracy skills of pupils in the infant classes to facilitate early identification of possible learning difficulties
  • Close collaboration and consultation between the Infant teacher and the LSRT.

 

5.2 Early Intervention Programmes.

  • Early intervention is a vital component of the LSR provision in this school, caseload permitting. Early intervention programmes may be provided by the class teacher and / or by the LSRT, in accordance with the Staged Approach, outlined

in Circular 02/05 (pp. 21-22), and available here in Appendix 1.

  • Close collaboration and consultation between the class teachers and the LSRT,

will identify pupils who may be in need of early intervention. Teacher observation

and professional opinion will be given due consideration in the selection of pupils

for early intervention programmes.

  • Intensive early intervention programmes in the early primary classes can be an

effective response to meeting the needs of children with low achievement. These

programmes will:

    • Be set within a specific time frame (13-20 weeks)
    • Be based on a shared expectation of success by everyone involved
    • Involve small group teaching or one-to-one teaching where small group teaching has not been effective
    • Include a strong focus on oral language, laying the foundation for meaningful reading activities and further development of language and comprehension skills
    • Emphasise the development of phonemic awareness and a range of other word identification skills
    • Engage the pupils in frequent supervised oral and silent reading of texts at appropriate levels of difficulty and monitor their comprehension
    • Stress the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading and writing
    • Focus on language development in mathematics, and in the development of mathematical procedures and concepts.

 

6.  Policy on Screening, Assessment, Caseload, Selection,

Permissions and Review.

 

This section of the policy refers to policy in relation to screening etc… in

__St. Aengus’ NS and it also incorporates cluster-wide arrangements.

6.1 Parental Permissions.

(1)Written parental permissions are required for children to attend learning-support.

(2)Written parental permissions are also required for the LSRT to undertake

individual, diagnostic testing (Circular 02/05).

6.2 Initial Screening: Class teachers will carry out the initial screening tests. Class

teachers will also correct and record results for both Micra-T and Sigma-T

standardised tests.

6.3 Diagnostic Assessment: The LSRT will discuss each class’s recorded results with

the class teacher, and carry out further screening tests and / or diagnostic assessments

where it is deemed necessary. The results of these tests will be available for the end of

year staff meeting.

6.4 Caseload Decisions: Large caseloads have led to a dilution of LSR provision, and

this is to be avoided, as is the inclusion of average-achieving pupils on the LSRT

caseload. The Staged Approach (See Appendix 1 of this policy), together with current

guidelines (the LSG), and DES directives must inform all decision-making regarding

the LSRT’s caseload.

1.1 Selection Criteria:

The following selection criteria encompass all current guidelines and general good

practice. The LSRT will select pupils in accordance with these criteria, stopping at (1)

if his / her caseload is full, but will continue on to point (2) caseload permitting, and

so on through the selection criteria.

(1) Pupils diagnosed as having Low Incidence learning disabilities.

(2) Pupils diagnosed as having High Incidence learning disabilities.

(3) Pupils scoring at/below the 10th percentile on standardised assessments in literacy.

(4) Pupils scoring at/below the 12th percentile on standardised assessments in literacy

(to allow for a margin of error).

(5) Early intervention in literacy (Infants-2nd class pupils who continue to experience

difficulty, despite Stage One interventions by the class teacher).

(6) Pupils scoring at/below the 10th percentile on standardised assessments in

mathematics.

(7) Pupils scoring at/below the 12th percentile on standardised assessments in

mathematics (to allow for a margin of error).

(8) Early intervention in mathematics (Infants-2nd class pupils who continue to

experience difficulty, despite Stage One interventions by the class teacher).

(9) Pupils scoring above the 12th percentile on standardised assessments in literacy,

who continue to experience difficulty, despite Stage One interventions by the class

teacher, under the Staged Approach.

(10) Pupils scoring above the 12th percentile on standardised assessments in

mathematics, who continue to experience difficulty, despite Stage One interventions

by the class teacher, under the Staged Approach.

6.6 Deploying Resources: The 6 Steps from Circular 02/05.

(1) Step 1 Circular 02/05, p. 7. A list of every pupil in the school who has been

highlighted as being in need of support will be compiled by the

learning support teachers, Mary Kindlon and Anna Mc Carron.

Step 2 Circular 02/05, p. 7. This list will be examined in consultation with

Circular 02/05, and each child will be allocated support, as appropriate, under the

terms of the Staged Approach.

(3) Step 3 Circular 02/05, p. 7. A list of members of the teaching staff will be

compiled by the LSRTs.

(4) Step 4 Circular 02/05, p. 8. A member of staff will be allocated to support the

learning of each pupil identified, taking into account: the Staged Approach; the needs

of the pupils; the expertise and experience of the teacher; and practical considerations.

(5) Step 5 Circular 02/05, p. 8. Pupils with similar needs may be grouped for

support.

(6) Step 6 Circular 02/05, p. 8. A tracking and recording system will be established

by Julie Doherty ( deputy Principal). Teachers will actively monitor the progress of pupils.

1.1 Staff Meetings.

The LSRTs will attend and contribute to staff meetings, as usual. LSR will be

included on the agenda for staff meetings at least once per instructional term. The

shared LSRT will attend staff meetings at the other 2 schools, when possible. The

‘out of school’ element of staff meetings will be fulfilled in the base school only.

1.2 Parent-Teacher Meetings.

The nature of LSRT means that meetings with parents are on-going and regular. The

LSRT will fulfil the ‘out of school’ requirement of parent-teacher meetings at the base

school.

1.3 Lunchtime Supervision.

If the shared LSRT has opted in to this scheme, he / she will complete lunchtime

supervision at the base school only.

6.10 Travelling Time.

The shared LSRT ensures that the time spent travelling between schools is kept to the

minimum possible, while providing regular support to pupils. The cluster

acknowledges that 3 schools and 3parishes are involved.

6.11 Review of the Cluster-Wide Policy on Learning-Support.

At least one meeting per year will accomplish regular review of the cluster-wide

policy.

  • The meeting will be co-ordinated by the base principal.
  • The 3 principals and the shared LSRT will attend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.      Continuing and Discontinuing Supplementary Teaching.

 

  • An instructional term is generally taken to mean 13-20 weeks of instruction.

However, where the LSRT is shared between schools and is unable to meet

pupils more than 2-3 times a week, an instructional term may be longer than

13-20 weeks.

  • A meeting will be held at the end of each instructional term with the parents in

cases where supplementary teaching is to be continued to discuss the revised

learning targets and activities in the pupil’s IPLP.

  • Supplementary teaching will normally be discontinued where the targets have

been met and the pupil (on assessment) is performing above the percentile laid

down in the criteria for receiving learning-support.

  • The school may decide to discontinue supplementary teaching with some

pupils (who have made satisfactory progress), in order for the LSRT to

provide early intervention / prevention for Senior Infants, after the analysis of

the MIST screening test results in February (pupils who have not responded to

Stage One interventions by the class teacher, under the Staged Approach).

  • Due consideration will be given to the overall needs of the school and all of its

pupils, and to the cluster, as appropriate.

 

8. Monitoring Progress.

Monitoring the academic progress of the pupils in this school will be accomplished

by:

  • Ongoing structured observation and assessment of the language, literacy and

numeracy skills of the pupils in the infant classes to facilitate early identification of possible learning difficulties by the class teacher.

  • Formal and informal testing and observation of work by the class teacher.
  • Implementing the school policies on screening and the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching in English and / or in Mathematics by administering and scoring appropriate measures:
    • For Senior Infant pupils: MIST each year in February
    • For 1st to 6th Class pupils: Micra-T and Sigma-T each year in May
    • Standardised and diagnostic testing by the learning-support teacher.
  • Record keeping (Children have a file where records, test results and assessments are kept in a secure filing cabinet).
  • Non-academic progress of pupils in this school will be reviewed informally,

for example under the headings of improvements in the pupil’s self esteem;

school attendance; attitude to learning; attitude to school and general behaviour.

 

9. Liaising with Parents.

Effective communication with parents is critically important to the success of a

learning-support programme.

9.1 Communication with Parents.

  • Teachers will take every opportunity to make parents familiar with the purpose and procedures of the school’s learning-support team.
  • Activities may be organised in our school, from time to time, to increase the involvement of parents in their children’s learning, e.g. Paired / Shared reading.

 

Parents will be encouraged to support their child’s learning through:

  • Developing children’s oral language through discussion
  • Motivating children to read more
  • Creating a home environment where literacy can thrive
  • Selecting books that interest children
  • Counting, measuring and other activities involving number.

 

9.2 Principal Teacher Liaising with Parents.

While the learning-support teacher will consult with parents and outside agencies on

an ongoing basis, the principal teacher can facilitate the involvement of parents in the

learning-support process by:

  • Establishing school policies and procedures, which enable parents to become involved effectively in the provision of learning-support.
  • Encouraging the organisation of information sessions for all parents on issues

relating to the school’s learning-support service.

  • Overseeing the development of links between teachers and the providers of

assessments and other services.

  • Facilitating the involvement of other members of the community (for example,

grandparents, older siblings, retired adults) in contributing to the learningsupport

programme by inviting them to train for and participate in activities such as paired reading, story telling and library time.

9.3 Class Teacher Liaising with Parents.

  • Once a pupil has come to the attention of the school because of low achievement it will be possible for the class teacher in the context of ongoing contact with the parents to make them aware of the situation and to ascertain the parent’s views about the child’s performance at school.
  • Seek the parent’s approval to proceed with diagnostic assessment, which may lead to supplementary teaching. Permission for diagnostic testing by the LSRT must be given by parents in writing. When a child is selected for LSR, the parents must accept or decline the place in writing (Draft letter for this purpose, Appendix 4).
  • Indicate that a meeting with the LSRT and the parents will take place following diagnostic assessment and prior to the commencement of supplementary teaching.
  • Seek the parent’s permission for their child to attend supplementary teaching with the LSRT (Draft letter for this purpose, Appendix 5).

9.4 The LSRT Liaising with Parents.

In addition to providing general information to parents about the LSR services that are

available in the school, the LSRT should:

  • Meet with the parents of each pupil who has been selected for diagnostic assessment (if such a meeting is requested at this point by the parents).
  • After the initial diagnostic assessment has been completed, meet with each pupil’s parents to discuss the outcomes of the assessment.
  • Discuss the learning targets in the child’s IPLP with the parents, the actions to be taken by the school to meet those targets and the ways in which attainment of the targets can be supported at home (if it is decided that supplementary teaching will be provided by the LSRT).
  • Communicate on an ongoing basis with the parents of each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching so that progress can be positively affirmed and any difficulties in implementing the pupil’s learning programme at school or at home can either be anticipated and avoided or addressed without delay.
  • Consult with the parents of each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching at the end of the instructional term to review the pupil’s attainment of agreed learning targets, to discuss the level of supplementary teaching (if any) that will be provided in the next instructional term and to revise the pupil’s IPLP, as necessary.
  • Consult with parents when supplementary teaching is to be discontinued and identify ways in which the pupil’s learning can continue to be supported at school and at home
  • Demonstrate techniques and strategies to parents that will enable them to help with their child’s development in such areas as oral language, reading, writing, spelling and mathematics
  • Where relevant, collaborate with other teachers to advise parents on ways in which they can support their children’s learning at home.

 

10. Monitoring and Reviewing this Policy.

 

Monitoring of the Learning-Support Policy is an ongoing and developmental process.

The whole school staff of this school will discuss this LSR Policy at least once per

year at a staff meeting, and review as necessary. A cluster meeting will be held in the

last term of each school year in order to review the cluster-wide policy.

 

List of Appendices.

Appendix 1.

The Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning

(Appendix 3 of Circular 02/05).

Appendix 2.

A List of Assessments Available to this Cluster.

Appendix 3.

Draft Letter Seeking Parental Permission  for their Child to Attend Learning-Support.

Appendix 4.

Draft Letter Seeking Parental Permission for the Learning-Support Teachers to Administer Diagnostic Assessments.

Appendix 5.

Resources Available to the Learning-Support Teachers in this Cluster.

 

Appendix 1.

The Staged Approach to Assessment, Identification and Programme Planning

(Appendix 3 of Circular 02/05).

Stage I

A class teacher or parent may have concerns about the academic, physical, social,

behavioural or emotional development of certain pupils. The teacher should then

administer screening measures, which may include screening checklists and profiles

for pupils in senior infants and first class, standardised, norm-referenced tests for

older pupils and behavioural checklists where appropriate.

The class teacher should then draw up a short, simple plan for extra help to be

implemented within the normal classroom setting, in the relevant areas of learning

and/or behavioural management. The success of the classroom support plan should

be reviewed regularly, with appropriate parental involvement. If concern remains

after a number of reviews and adaptations to the plan, the special education support

team or the learning support/resource teacher in the school may be consulted about

the desirability of intervention at stage II.

Stage II

If intervention is considered necessary at stage II, then the pupil should be

referred to the learning support/resource teacher, with parents’ permission, for

further diagnostic testing. In the case of pupils with learning difficulties, if the

classroom support plan fails to achieve the desired outcome the pupil should be

referred to the learning support teacher/resource teacher, with parents’ permission, for

further diagnostic testing. If this diagnostic assessment suggests that supplementary

teaching would be beneficial, this should be arranged. The parents and the class

teacher should be involved with the learning-support/resource teacher in drawing up

the learning programme, which would include appropriate interventions for

implementation in the home, in the classroom, and during supplementary teaching.

The learning support/resource teacher and the class teacher should review regularly,

in consultation with the parents, the rate of progress of each pupil receiving

supplementary teaching. If significant concerns remain after a number of reviews and

adaptations to the learning programme, then it may be necessary to provide

interventions at stage III.

In the case of pupils with emotional or behavioural difficulties, it is recognised that,

with serious difficulties, more urgent action may be needed. In these cases the pupil’s

needs should, with parents’ permission, be discussed with the relevant NEPS

psychologist and/or the case should be referred to the clinical services of the Health

Services Executive. This may lead to a more detailed behavioural management

programme to be implemented at home and in class, or to referral for further specialist

assessment (stage III).

 

Stage III

Some pupils who continue to present with significant learning needs will require

more intensive intervention at stage III. The school may formally request a

consultation and, where appropriate, an assessment of need from a specialist outside

the school in respect of pupils with learning difficulties or with mild or moderate

behavioural problems (or both) who have failed to make progress after supplementary

teaching or the implementation of a behavioural programme and in respect of pupils

with serious emotional disturbance and/or behavioural problems. Such specialist

advice may be sought from psychologists, paediatricians, speech and language

therapists, audiologists, etc.1

The learning support/resource teacher, resource teacher, if available, and the class

teacher, in consultation with the relevant specialist or specialists should then draw up

a learning programme that includes identification of any additional available

resources that are considered necessary in order to implement the programme. The

parents should be fully consulted throughout this process. This programme should be

the subject of regular reviews, leading to revisions of the learning programme and

referral for specialist review, as necessary.

In the case of pupils identified at an early age as having very significant special

educational needs, intervention at stage III will be necessary on their entry to school.

Support in the classroom will be an essential component of any learning programme

devised for such pupils, and primary responsibility for the pupil will remain with the

class teacher, in consultation with the learning support/resource /or resource teacher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 2.

List of Assessments available in St. Aengus N.S.

 

EYES (Early Years Easy Screen) for Junior Infants

MIST ( Middle Infant Screening Test) for Senior Infants

Micra-T Screening Test for Literacy for First to Sixth Classes

Sigma-T Screening Test for Numeracy for First to Sixth Classes

NRIT (Non-reading ability test) for Senior Infants to Sixth Classes

NARA (Neale Analysis of Reading Ability)

QUEST Numeracy and Literacy assessments

Staffordshire Mathematics Test

Salford Reading Test

Drumcondra Spelling Test

RAIN Sentence Reading Test

Aston Index Screening and Diagnosis of Language Difficulties

An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (Marie M. Clay)

Test of Phonological Awareness (Peter Hatcher)

 

 

Appendix 3.

Draft Letter Seeking Parental Permission for their Child to Attend Learning-Support.

 

Dear Parent/ Guardian,

Your child has been selected to take part in a learning support programme for literacy/numeracy.  If you wish to avail of this service please sign below.

 

I agree to let ______________________________________________________( child’s name)

take part in the learning support programme.

Signed ______________________________________________________________________

Date ________________________________________________________________________

 

Yours Respectfully

___________________________

 

Anna Mc Carron/Mary Kindlon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 4.

Draft Letter Seeking Parental Permission for the Learning-Support Teachers to Administer Diagnostic Assessments.

 

Dear Parent/Guardian,

An individual learning programme will be devised for your child to help his/her progress with literacy/numeracy.  Diagnostic testing would help to plan this programme.  Could you please sign the form below if you consent to this diagnostic testing.

 

I consent to letting my child___________________________________________(child’s name)

do diagnostic tests.

Signed_______________________________________________________________________

Date ________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Yours Respectfully

______________________________

 

Anna Mc Carron/Mary Kindlon

 

Appendix 5.

Resources Maintained by the Learning-Support Teacher (As at 7/12/06):

Deleted to maintain confidentiality of the school concerned.

 

Appendix 7.

Resources available to the LSRT in this School:

 

 

Guidelines/Information for Teachers

 

Special Education in Irish Classrooms, A Practical Guide by Fiona King

Reading Recovery: A Guidebook for Teachers in Training by Marie Clay

Guidelines for Teaching Numicon

Sounds-Write, Background and Content

Signposts: A Resource Pack for Teachers, Information and Guidelines on:

Assessed Syndromes

Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Dyspraxia

Emotional Disturbance and /or Behavioural Problems

Exceptionally Able

General Learning Disabilities

Specific Speech and Language Disorders

Physical Disabilities

Sensory Impairment

Specific Learning Disability

NCCA Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum

Mental Health in Children and Adolescents- A Guide for Teachers

Mutism-A guide for Parents, Teachers. Clinicians and the Child

Special Education Needs, Continuim of Support (Resource pack for teachers)

Guidelines on the Individual Education Plan Programme

NCCA Guidelines For Teachers of Students with General Learning Difficulties

Dept of Education and Science Learning Support Guidelines

Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties- A continuum of support, Guidelines for Teachers

Children First-National Guidelines for Protection and Welfare of Children

Our Children-Their Lives- the National Children’s Strategy

The Gift of Dyslexia

ICT and Special Needs (NCTE)

Overview of TEACCH (Treatment and education of children of autistic and related communication handicapped children) promoted by SESS

 

 

 

 

Reading Material

 

Sails Readers Emergent First Wave to Early 4 level (Heinemann)

PM Library : Magenta to Silver

Oxford Reading Tree Stage 2 to Stage 16 (Oxford University Press)

Reading Zone Programme First to Sixth Classes

Fuzzbuzz: Levels 1 to 3 (Oxford University Press)

Livewire Real Lives (Hodder Murray)

Livewire Investigates (Hodder and Stoughton)

Livewire Non-Fiction (Hodder and Murray)

Wolfhill: Levels 1 to 5 (Oxford University Press)

Storyworld Stages Blue and Purple (Heinemann)

Literacy World Satellites Stages 1 to 4

Take-Off Series (Heinemann)

Chillers (Puffin)

Five Minute Thrillers (LDA)

Ten Minute Thrillers (LDA)

All Aboard Stage 1 Introductory (Ginn)

Dorling Kindersley Read Along

Easy Words to Read (Usborne Publishing)

I Wonder Why Series (Kingfisher)

Happy Families (Puffin/Viking)

Folen’s Reading Pack, Level 2

 

Big Books

 

Storyworlds

Hide and Seek

Pirate Pete and the Monster

Mamba and the Crocodile Bird

The Shark with No Teeth

Bingo and the Bone

Voyage into Space

 

Comprehension and Listening Skills

 

Listening Comprehension Lower (Prim-Ed)

Listening Comprehension Middle (Prim-Ed)

SRA Reading Laboratory (Levels 1-12)

Multiple Choice Comprehension Lower (Prim-Ed)

Look! Listen! Think! Middle (Prim-Ed)

Comprehension Lifters Books 1 and 2

Digraph Sounds and Comprehension Stories Book 1 (Prim-Ed)

Differentiated Cloze Middle (Prim-Ed)

Reading Comprehension 1, 2 and 3 (Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company)

Understanding Sentences Reading for Comprehension (LDA)

Getting the Main Idea (LDA)

Sequential Thinking Set 3

Why Because

Teaching Comprehension Strategies, Books E and F

 

Oral Language

 

“Of Course I Can” Language Programme (Victoria B. Sperry)

Chatterbox Basic Language (LDA)

Auditory Processing Activities (ECL Publications)

And Then Series of Language Development

 

Writing

 

Stop it, Editor! (Exercises in Punctuation)

Fine Motoring (Easylearn)

My Handwriting Workbooks A & B

Activities for Writing Adventure Stories (Scholastic)

Activities for Writing Fantasty Stories (Scholastic)

Let’s Write and Draw 1 (Nelson)

Fuzzbuzz Workbooks Levels 1-5

Quest Writing Workbooks 1 & 2

Write Here Books C & D

Creative Activities for Plots, Characters and Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phonological Awareness

 

Sounds-Write Programme (Susan Case, Dave Philpot and John Walker)

Teacher Designed Sounds-Write Programmes for First, Second, Third and Fourth Classes

The Big Book of Early Phonics (Prim-Ed)

The Big Book of Phonics (Prim-Ed)

The Alpha to Omega Programme (Bev Hornsby and Julie Pool)

Fuzzbuzz Phonics Programme

Toe By Toe

Spelling Made Easy, Introductory, Key Stages 1 & 2 (Violet Brand)

Phonic Code Cracker by Sylvia Russell

Quest Phonic Workbooks

Jolly Phonics Programme

Active Phonics, Books 1 and 2, Initial Blends and Digraphs (Prim-Ed)

Letts Literacy Basics, Key Stage 2

Sounds Activities, Key Stages 1 & 2 (Egon Publishers)

Initial Sounds Fold Ups (Prim-Ed)

Initial Sounds Through Art and Craft (Prim-Ed)

PM Library Blends (PM Library)

Phonic Pictures, Initial Sounds and Blends (Prim-Ed)

Finger Phonics Books 1-7 (Jolly Phonics)

Tune into Sounds (Ginn Phonics)

Sounds and Words 1 & 2

Literacy Skills Big Rhyme Books A & B (Stage 3)

Literacy Skills Big Rhyme Books A & B (Stage 4)

 

Games

Games on Rhyme:

Easylearn Rime Cards Sets 1-4

Slug in a Jug Rhyme Game (Orchard Toys)

Picture Rhymes (Carson Della Rose)

Smart Chute Rime Cards

Silly Rhymes (Dorling Kindersley)

Onset and Rime Starter Sets A, B & C (Philip and Tracey)

Rime Cards by Easylearn

 

Initial Sounds:

Smart Chute Card Games

Stile Phonics Book 1

Alphabet Train (Party Games)

Alphabet Puzzle (Galt)

First Letter Lines (Easylearn)

 

Consonant Vowel Consonant:

Smart Chute Card Games

Crossbow CVC Games

Sounds Write CVC Card Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blends/Digraphs:

Smart Chute Card Games

Sounds Write Games

Crossbow Blends/Digraphs Games

Initial Consonant Clusters 1 & 2 (Taskmaster)

Consonant Clusters Matching Game

Stile Phonics Games

Blends and Digraphs Puzzle Cards (Learning Resources)

Wordspell Blends/Digraphs Cards, Sets 1, 2 & 3

 

End Consonant Clusters:

End Consonant Clusters (Taskmaster)

Stile Phonic Games

End Consonant Clusters (Crossbow)

 

High Frequency Word Games:

Basic Words Bingo 1 & 2 (Easylearn)

Word Fun Match and Learn

Muddled Sentences

Word Blocks

Spiders Webs (Know How)

Read and Match Dominoes (Taskmaster)

Compound Words (Taskmaster)

Syllables, Levels 1, 2 & 3 by Smart Chute

Hex-a-Word Game (Taskmaster)

Sounds Write Word Games

 

 

ICT

 

Sounds Write

Fuzzbuzz, Levels 1 & 2

Phonic Code Cracker

Oxford Reading Tree, Levels 6, 7, 8 and 9

Word Shark

IEP Writer

Teacher Designed Sounds-Write DVD for parents

Lexia SOS

 

 

Mathematics:

 

The Mathemagic Mathematics Programme by Fallons

The Action Maths Mathematics Programme by Folens

The Maths Matters Mathematics Programme by EDCO

New Wave Mental Maths Programme by Prim-Ed

100 Mental Maths Starters Years 1 to 5 by Scholastic

The Numicon Maths Programme.

Maths Made Easy Programme by Egon

Maths Together 4 and 5 by Mulberry Publications

Telling the Time by Easylearn

Table Talk for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division by E.E.C. Publishing

Time4Learning by NALA

Dienes Blocks

Unifix Cubes

Lollipop Sticks

Numicon Materials

Smart Chute Cards

Time Lotto

Shape Lotto

Data Lotto

Fraction Lotto

Maths Games Books 1, 2 and 3 by Prim-Ed

Donkey Derby for Counting

Spotty Dog for Addition

Racing Around the Clock

Tangrams

Maths Shark

Calculators

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division Bingo Games

Shopping Basket, Groceries and Coins

Till for Shopping

What Time Is It?

 

Social Skills:

 

Feeling Good About Yourself

I Take Responsibility For Me and it Shows

Socially Speaking- Board game and manual

Talk About (DVD)

Circle Time

 

 

 

 

Bibliography.

Department of Education and Science (1999) Primary School Curriculum. Your

child’s learning. Guidelines for parents, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Department of Education (1988) Guidelines on Remedial Education, Dublin:

Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2005) Circular 202/05,

Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2004) Education for

Persons with Special Education Needs (EPSEN), Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2003) Circular 24/03,

Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2002) Circular 08/02,

Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2001a) Report of the

Task Force on Autism, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2001b) Report of the

Task Force on Dyslexia, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (2000) Learning-

Support Guidelines, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland & National Council for Curriculum Assessment (1999a)

Primary School Curriculum, Introduction, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland & National Council for Curriculum Assessment (1999b)

Primary School Curriculum. English Language. Teacher Guidelines, Dublin:

Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland & National Council for Curriculum Assessment (1999c)

Primary School Curriculum. English Language, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland & National Council for Curriculum Assessment (1999d)

Primary School Curriculum. Mathematics, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland & National Council for Curriculum Assessment (1999e)

Primary School Curriculum. Mathematics. Teacher Guidelines, Dublin: Stationery

Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (1999f) Circular 08/99,

Dublin: Stationery Office.

 

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (1998) The Education

Act, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Government of Ireland, Department of Education and Science (1993) Report of the

Special Education Review Committee (SERC), Dublin: Stationery Office.

Irish National Teachers Organization (2001) Literacy in the Primary School, Dublin:

I.N.T.O. Publication.

Irish National Teachers Organization (1997) Teaching and Learning: Issues in

Assessment, Dublin: I.N.T.O. Publication.

Irish National Teachers Organization (1994) Remedial Education. A Review, Dublin:

I.N.T.O. Publication.

Shiel, G; Morgan, M; Larney, R; (1998) Study of Remedial Education in Irish

Primary Schools, Dublin: Stationery Office.