St Vincent's Secondary School

Special Educational Needs/Learning Support


Arising from our Mercy ethos and its principles of inclusion, St Vincent’s Secondary School welcomes students with Special Education Needs (SEN) and in line with the Education for Person’s with Special Needs Act 2004 recognises “the need to provide that the education of people with such needs shall wherever possible take place in an inclusive environment”. It will endeavour to ensure that these students are free to participate in school life in so far as is reasonably practicable.

It is our hope that our school is a place where we promote and facilitate a whole school approach to special needs education and so create a community of learning. We recognise each student as a unique individual with different talents and needs. We endeavour to meet their physical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional needs through our student focused programmes. The support of students with Special Educational Needs is a whole school enterprise.

The school Special Education Needs Team comprises the Principal, Deputy Principals, the SEN Co-ordinator, the Special Education teachers, the Guidance Counsellors and the mainstream teachers. The team also includes any SNA’s, as approved by the DES. The SEN Co-ordinator is also part of the junior and senior care teams in the school and works closely with the care teams and with Year Heads.

The team is advised by the SENO and NEPS psychologist as well as other agencies and professionals involved with SEN students in the school.

The model of assessment and intervention, as practised in St Vincent’s Secondary School, is underpinned by recognition that special educational needs occur along a continuum, from mild to severe and from transient to long term. Our response to the needs of students is organised according to NEPS’s Continuum of Support.

For students with known and documents needs, the transfer of information from primary level to post-primary level is vital to the successful support of students with SEN. Prospective parents are invited to meet with members of the SEN Department who will discuss the needs of their daughter at the open night and also at the student assessment day. The SEN Co-ordinator will then consult with feeder primary schools and organise meetings with parents / guardians as well as arrange additional visits to the school for students with specific needs. We then work in conjunction with the NCSE and NEPS to ensure that the appropriate supports are put in place before the student joins the school.

In consultation with parents, students who have been identified as having learning needs are facilitated in a variety of ways, according to their needs including:

  • Curricular differentiation
  • Curricular reduction
  • Team Teaching/Co-operative Teaching
  • In-class support/Differentiation
  • Inclusion of SNA in specific classes
  • Small group support
  • One to one support
  • Organisation, life and social skills lessons
  • The use of assistive technology
  • The use of Accelerated Reader Programme

Where students are identified as having emerging needs, the SEN Co-ordinator will begin a process of informal assessment including observations from mainstream teachers, consultation with parents, meeting with student, SNA consultation/observation as well as formal assessment including review of entrance tests, review of in-house exams and reports, consultation with Guidance Counsellors and administration of relevant tests such as WRAT and/or CAT 4.

Following this profiling stage decisions are made as to appropriate support warranted as follows:

  • No need for further action.
  • Needs for monitoring /support in mainstream setting.
  • Purposeful support either on a one to one basis or in a small group.

All information / data gathered is recorded in the Student Support file which is kept in their file.

In St Vincent's we are committed to continuing to implement the use of assistive technology for students with additional needs. Parents can also avail of online courses outlining the use of assistive technology in supporting the education of their daughter. Further details are available here.

The SEN Co-ordinator applies for Reasonable Accommodations in State examinations for qualifying students. The Guidance & Counselling Team advises on the transition to Third Level education through the DARE scheme.

St Vincent’s is an inclusive school. Our aim is to ensure that every student is enabled to fulfill her potential academically and socially and to take an active part in the life of the school community.

St Vincent's Secondary School
Seatown Place
Co. Louth

042 933 6736/933 2790

© 2024 St Vincent's Secondary School