Section 4 Role Expectations

St. Aidan's Community College Special Educational Needs Policy

Section 4. Role Expectations

The Board of Management

The Board of Management shall make reasonable provision and accommodation for students with a disability or other special educational needs. The role of the Board of Management is to:

  • Oversee the development, implementation and review of the provision of support for students with special needs.
  • Ensure adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided.
  • Provide a secure facility for storage or records in relation to pupils.
  • Budget for on-going support for Professional Development for staff.
  • Review and approve this policy upon submission.

The Principal

The role of the principal is to:

  • Assume overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the school’s policy on special education in co-operation with the Board of Management, teachers, parents and children.
  • Monitor the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching, ensuring that this service is focused on the pupils with lowest levels of achievement.
  • Assume direct responsibility for the co-ordination of additional teaching support (learning support and resource teaching).
  • Oversee the implementation of a whole-school assessment and screening programme to identity 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 procedure to be followed in referrals.
  • Help teachers increase their knowledge and skills in delivering support to students with special needs.
  • Ensure that the models of support provided fully integrate students in the mainstream setting unless this is inconsistent with (a) the best interests of the child as determined by an assessment or (b) the effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated.

The SEN Co-ordinator

The role of the co-ordinator with relation to administration is to:

  • Update this policy and submit for approval by Board of Management.
  • Maintain and update the main database of

~ Resource & Learning Support students

~ Exemptions from the study of Gaeilge

~ Assistive technology provision

~ Scanned recommendations for all SEN students

  • Maintain and update hard copy files and backups of

~ Profile files with master list
~ Assistive technology file
~ Exemptions file
~ Templates file/resource teacher starter pack
~ Individual student files

  • Oversee resource teacher timetables
  • Oversee resource student entrance procedures and enrolment assessments
  • Process all applications for ATS hours, SNA hours and Assistive Technology
  • Liaise with relevant outside agencies and primary schools and maintain records of such meetings
  • Chair a weekly meeting of the SEN team, comprising resource teachers, SCP staff representatives, SNA representatives, school management and others by invitation.

The role of the co-ordinator with relation to provision is to:

  • Identify all the pupils in need of additional teaching support, both learning-support teaching and resource teaching, including pupils who have special educational needs arising from high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities, and students at or below the 10th percentile in standardised assessments.
  • Identify the level of intervention required on the basis of the pupils’ learning needs
  • Identify the members of the teaching staff who will be allocated to the identified pupils.
  • Allocate the identified staff members to the pupils, taking account of:

~ the programme needs of individual pupils and groups of pupils, including whether it is short-term/focused intervention or long-term/continuing support,
~ the time available to all pupils and the proportion of time needed by individual pupils and groups of pupils, based on identified needs,
~ the expertise of the teachers, and
~ practical and logistical considerations, including increasing chances for liaising with mainstream class teachers, availability of staff at times of greatest need, etc.

  • Cross-reference the programme needs of pupils with learning needs and consider common needs that can be met by grouping to ensure effective and efficient teaching and learning approaches. Determine which teacher or teachers will cater for these groups.
  • Establish a tracking and recording system to ensure that a record is maintained of all pupils who are receiving additional teaching support and of their progress in response to the established interventions.
  • Maintain an inventory of resources including assistive technology, textbooks, library books and ancillary materials and oral language development materials, testing materials (standardised, diagnostic, screening), reading experience, reading attainment, phonological awareness etc. Acquire materials that may be needed and make any required materials available to teachers where they are needed. 
  • Assist in the development and implementation of agreed whole school approaches to language development, literacy and numeracy.

The Resource Teacher

The role of the resource teacher is to:

  • Liaise with the student, the parents and any outside agency which may benefit the development of the student. 
  • Develop a learning programme for each pupil in consultation with other partners in education, outlining

~ the nature and degree of the child’s abilities, skills and talents;
~ the nature and degree of the child’s special educational needs and how those needs affect his or her educational development;
~ the present level of educational performance of the child;
~ the special educational needs of the child;
~ the special education and related support services to be provided to the child to enable the child to benefit from education and to participate in the life of the school;
~ the specific, time-related goals which the child is to achieve over a period not exceeding 12 months

  • Directly teach the child, either in a separate room or within the mainstream class, or team teach when the child concerned will derive benefit from it
  • Advise class teachers in regard to adapting the curriculum, teaching strategies, textbooks, ICT and other related matters
  • Meet and advise parents, when necessary
  • Meet with other relevant professionals, in the child’s interests, e.g. psychologist, speech and language therapist, visiting teachers.
  • Regularly and actively monitor the progress of the pupils who receive support in consultation with parents, class teachers, and relevant professionals.
  • Facilitate and closely monitor the attendance of students with special educational needs, particularly during the early days and months of their first year in school.
  • Maintain records of student progress and evaluation.
  • Submit a monthly review report on each student.
  • Facilitate transition, including submitting an appraisal at the end of the academic year. 

The Class Teacher

The role of the class teacher is to:

  • Assume primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in his/her class, including those selected for supplementary teaching.
  • Keep his or her self-informed as to the nature and degree of students' special educational needs, accommodations and strategies required.
  • Implement teaching programmes which optimise the learning of all pupils.
  • Implement the school policies on screening and selecting pupils for supplementary teaching in English and Maths by co-operating and assisting with the administration and scoring of appropriate screening measures.
  • For each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, to collaborate with Resource teachers in the development of an individual profile and learning programme by identifying appropriate learning targets and by organising classroom activities to achieve these targets.
  • For each pupil who is in receipt of supplementary teaching, to adjust the classroom programmes in line with the agreed learning targets and activities.
  • Prioritise students with special needs when accessing information from previous class teachers or school records and when establishing parental contact
  • Modify presentation and questioning techniques to maximise the involvement of pupils with low achievement in class activities
  • Set learning targets at an appropriate level
  • Provide learning activities and material which are suitably challenging but which also ensure success and progress
  • Carry out error analyses of a pupil’s work to pinpoint specific areas of difficulty
  • Set up ‘buddy systems’ in class (high achievers collaboratively working with low achievers, e.g. peer tutoring / paired reading)
  • Apply assessments and tests which offer challenge and opportunities for success to children of all levels of achievement.

The Parent/Guardian

The role of the parent/guardian is to:

  • Maintain regular communication with the subject teacher and resource teacher
  • Create a home environment where education is valued
  • Foster positive attitudes about school and learning in the child
  • Participate in learning programmes as determined by the school
  • Encourage the child to persevere
  • Develop the child’s oral language, literacy and numeracy
  • Provide all relevant reports, documentation and information necessary to provide the school with a complete profile of the child's needs and to enable the school to access additional resources

The Special Needs Assistant

The allocation of a special needs assistant to assist a student is balanced against the student’s need to develop independence and to gain access to education in school alongside and in the same way as the other students.

The duties of special needs assistants are set out in Circular SNA 12/05 and Circular 71/2011.

These include tasks of a non-teaching nature, such as:

  • Preparation and tidying up of classrooms
  • Assisting school children to board and alight from school buses. Where necessary travel as escort during school hours on school buses may be required.
  • Special assistance as necessary for children with particular difficulties e.g. helping special needs pupils with typing or writing or computers or other use of equipment
  • Assistance with clothing, feeding, toileting and general hygiene and being mindful of health and safety needs of the pupil
  • Assisting on out-of-school visits, walks, examinations and similar activities
  • Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils during assembly, recreation and dispersal from the classroom for one reason or another
  • Accompanying individuals or small groups who may have to be withdrawn temporarily from the classroom for one reason or another
  • General assistance to the class teachers, under the direction of the principal, with duties of a non-teaching nature (Special needs assistants may not act as either substitute or temporary teachers. In no circumstances may they be left in sole charge of a class or group of children.)
  • Participation with school development planning, where appropriate, and co-operation with any such changes with policies and practices arising from the school development process.
  • Engagement with parents of special needs pupils in both formal and informal structures as required and directed by school management
  • Other duties appropriate to the grade as may be determined by the needs of the pupils and the school from time to time. Special needs assistants may be re-assigned to other work appropriate to the grade when special needs pupils are absent or when particular urgent work demands arise.
  • Circular 71/2011 further sets out a non-exhaustive list of SNA duties including:

SEN pupil-centred activity:

  • Provide input with regard to care needs for the preparation of Individual Education Plans;
  • Assist with care planning;
  • Provide assistance and information in relation to care needs for preparation of physiological and school reports and files;
  • Assist transition process in relation to care needs for pupils from one school or education centre to another;
  • Assist SEN pupils to display their work;
  • Assist in analysis of attendance for SEN pupils;
  • Assist teachers and/or principal in maintaining a journal and uniform care monitoring system for SEN pupils;
  • Assist Principal or other teacher designated by Principal in preparing briefing profiles on SEN pupils;
  • Under the direction of the Principal or designated teacher, assist in compiling information for staff for the return to class in the new academic year e.g. special section in staff handbook, particularly in relation to care and assistance required in class for SEN pupils;

Learning resource administration:

  • Preparation, organising, tidying of Class Room, Resource Room, Learning Support Room, ASD classrooms and such other rooms used by SEN pupils, and appropriate equipment and resources used, including those related to ICT;
  • Prepare materials and equipment in classrooms used by SEN pupils including cleaning any specialist equipment used by SEN pupils, e.g. computer keyboards, special desks;
  • Provide assistance for SEN pupils in relation to assembling their class materials, displays, programmes, books and preparing their materials for class.

Class and school planning and development:

  • Participation with school development planning and policy development, where appropriate, including reference to particular assistance required by SEN pupils to participate fully in school;
  • Planning for the following day’s classes; in particular where there may be additional care or assistance requirements for certain classes or projects;
  • Liaising with the class teacher;
  • Liaising with other teachers such as resource teachers and/or Principal;
  • Meetings with parents as appropriate with the agreement and guidance of the Principal and/or class teacher;
  • Preparation for and attendance at whole team meetings and staff meetings;
  • Participation in and assistance with school operational structures which are in place to facilitate the full integration and participation of SEN pupils in school;
  • Examinations (Both State and House Examinations):
  • Assist in the setting up of Special Examination Centres and appropriate accommodation centres for examinations;
  • Assist in ensuring that special centres are properly organised, and that SEN pupils with assigned SNA are present and have the appropriate equipment; 
  • Where rooms are adapted for use as special centres, assist in restoring those rooms for normal school use after the examinations have finished.

Training and development:

  • Training (nationally or school mandated);
  • Inform colleague SNAs of best practice based on professional and experiential knowledge in relation to the educational and care needs of SEN pupils, with the agreement and guidance of the Principal, and/or class teacher;
  • Up-skill in use of ICT as learning tools for SEN pupils; 


  • Other work which is appropriate to the grade as may be determined by the needs of the SEN pupils and the school.


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