SEN is a term used to mean Special Educational Needs. The criteria lists 11 categories used to determine SEN.
- Physical Disability,
- hearing Impairment,
- Visual Impairment,
- Emotional Disturbance/Behavioural Problems,
- Mild General Learning Disability,
- Borderline Mild General Learning Disability,
- Moderate General Learning Disability,
- Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorders,
- Specific Learning Disability,
- Children with needs arising from an assessed syndrome and
- Specific Speech and Language Disorder.
Criteria for each category is very specific. *See complete document
The Act makes it clear that the constitutional rights of children includes those who have a disability or have other special educational needs.
The Minister for Education and Science must ensure that a level and quality of education and support is available which matches the needs and abilities of children with special needs.
The support which can be expected includes assessment, psychological guidance and counselling; technical aids and equipment; adaptations to buildings to allow access, transport and speech therapy. Schools will be required to use these to meet the needs of children with special educational needs.
Boards of Management are required to publish their policy for the education of children with special needs and will be expected to use the resources provided to make provision.
This bill published 16th July 2003 aims to give detailed provision in law so that the educational needs of persons with disabilities can be met. The legislation is intended to ensure that these children will be able ‘to leave school with the skills necessary to live independent and fulfilled lives.’
The main aims of the Bill are:
- Parents to have a central role in all, important decisions concerning the education of their children.
- Integrated, inclusive education to be the general approach to the education of children with special needs
- Assessment of a child to be provided up to the age of 18; assessments to take a whole-child, holistic approach.
- A child with an assessed educational disability is to have a detailed and goals driven individual education plan, which is to be regularly reviewed.
- health boards, in the case of a pre-school child, and the National Council for Special Education in the case of a school-going child, to have a duty in law to provide the services identified in an assessment or an education plan which are necessary for the child to access and benefit from education.
- The National Council for Special Education is to be established as the agency with primary responsibility to implement the legislation and with a membership drawn from a range of interests with a special interest in or knowledge of the education of children with disabilities, including people with disabilities.
- The Council will have the power to designate a school or centre for education which a child with special educational needs is to attend.
- An accessible and efficient appeals system is to be established.
- The appeals process will not restrict any right a parent has to seek redress in the courts if the provisions of the Bill are not implemented.
- A statutory duty is imposed on the relevant Ministers to make resources available to schools for the provision of adequate and appropriate education to children with special educational needs, with policy making in this respect based on key principles relating to respect for constitutional rights and equitable treatment of all children in resource allocation.
- The policies and operations of the various agencies engaged in delivering education related services are to be coordinated and consistent.
National Disability Association Response (pdf)
In the Republic of Ireland individual education plans are not yet statutory but are likely to become so in the next few weeks with the passage through government of the Disabilities Bill. Many schools, however, have designed and have been using their own education plans for some time.
Click to see one example
In order to begin to put together an education plan for a child with special needs, information needs to be gathered from all those who have any involvement with the child.
This will include:
- Diagnostic assessments
- Observations of parents and family
- Teacher observations
- Views of other professionals
- Views of previous teachers
- Student’s own views (if appropriate)
From this the student’s strengths and needs will be noted. The needs will be prioritized. Long term learning goals will be established in relation to the curriculum.
Short term aims towards these goals then need to be established. They need to be as objective as possible in order to monitor progress and make changes later. They should be realistic, achievable and observable. Target dates need to be set.
These short term plans will be reviewed regularly and questions asked as to whether they have been achieved or not and if not, why. Do they need to be broken down into smaller steps? Do the teaching strategies need to be changed? Do the objectives need to be changed or abandoned altogether
Sample Template for Individual Education Plan
Sample Pupil profile and IEP template
Guidelines on IEP Plan Process
Any child who has been assessed as being at Stage 2 of the Code of Practice requires an Education Plan (EP) to be devised by the class teacher and the SENCO. In Northern Ireland the same plan may be used by a group of children.
IEP Sample Template (from a UK school)
*Click on graphic for full size version.
These guidelines published in 2000 are an attempt to ensure that suitable early intervention procedures are in place to enable all children achieve appropriate levels of literacy and numeracy on leaving primary school. The guidelines are intended to help schools plan and consider whether they are provided the best approach for children with learning difficulties. They are intended to help class teachers, learning support teachers and parents work together to help the children.
The guidelines deal with development of policies, the role of the principal, resource teacher, learning-support teacher, class teacher, identification of pupils needing learning support, planning support programmes, individual planning and use of specific methodologies for literacy and numeracy support.
Learning-Support Guidelines can be purchased from: Government Publications, Postal Trade Section, 4-5 Harcourt Road, Dublin 2, telephone 01-6613111 ex 4040
This is a set of 3 books which give extensive information, advice and guidance to teachers teaching pupils who have a range of special educational needs. Book1 is designed for teachers of pupils with severe and profound disabilities who are most likely to be in special schools. Book 2 is for teachers of students with moderate disabilities and Book 3 is for teachers of students with mild disabilities. Books2 and 3 would be most useful for teachers in mainstream schools.
The books begin by outlining the general aims of education in an inclusive educational system. They explain the role and responsibilities of all those involved in educating pupils and give guidance on how to produce suitable policies and teaching plans. They also give a lot of guidance on teaching strategies within and across subject areas for both primary and post-primary teachers.
The SEND legislation was intended to come into force following the SENDA Bill in the rest of the UK, which improved the rights of people with disabilities and Special Educational Needs. However, due to the suspension of the N.I. Assembly, the bill will not now become law this year.
When the legislation is passed, it will strengthen the rights of children with SEN to be educated in mainstream schools, where it is the wish of parents and where it will not impair the interests of other children.
It will also require more information to be given to parents when a school is considering special educational provision for children; more information and rights on appeal procedures will also be made available.
This information need not be provided by the Education Boards themselves but parents should be given full details of advisory services available to them whether public or private.
There are plans to have an independent conciliation service for parents who have disputes with the education service.
Schools will not be able to treat pupils less favourably, for a reason that relates to their disability. Schools will be required to make reasonable adjustments so that pupils with disabilities are not at a disadvantage. Plans will have to be made to improve accessibility to premises and to the curriculum to enable pupils with disabilities to be further integrated.
The three step model has been developed by the NEPS to help determine when a child might be considered to have special educational needs and therefore to have extra educational resources available to him. There are three stages which each child will go through.
A teacher or parent may express concern about a child. If these are shared, then an Individual Pupil Learning Plan/ Individual Education Plan (IPLP/IEP) will be drawn up showing what will be done by teacher, parents and child to try to resolve the problem.
This plan will be reviewed on a regular basis for at least two terms. If there is still a problem at this stage, then the classroom teacher will consult with the learning support teacher and/or the resource teacher and a decision will be made as to whether or not the child should be moved to Step 2.
With the help of the support teachers a new plan is drawn up for the child within the normal classroom. There may be some additional support given and informal consultation on how best to support the child within the classroom may be given by the educational psychologist. After a minimum of one term the education plan is reviewed and modified if necessary. If there is still concern then with parents’ consent, the child will be moved to step 3 which will involve the educational psychologist formally.
A formal request goes from school to the educational psychologist and there is a consultation period when information is gathered from parents, teachers, other involved individuals. Results
are collated of other standardised tests is collated. A detailed Individual Education Plan is drawn up by the school in consultation with all adults involved. The psychologists’ recommendations will be used to determine what extra support is granted and to plan the individual teaching intervention. The IEP should be reviewed regularly.
National Educational Psychology Service 0035318892700 firstname.lastname@example.org
If all efforts to control a situation through good behaviour management have failed, in extreme circumstances you can use physical means to prevent injury.
Article 4 of the Education Act 1998 enables a member of staff to use reasonable force to prevent a pupil committing an offence, to prevent him causing injury to himself, to anyone else or to property.
A member of staff can mean a teacher, classroom assistant, caretaker, supervisor or any other staff member given instructions by the principal to look after pupils.
If you are aware of a pupil who is at risk of needing restrained then the principal and Board of Governors should plan for such an event. Parents should be involved and should know what action the school might need to take. All staff should know what action to take.
Reasonable force is the minimum necessary to prevent the injury. Due regard must be paid to the dignity of the pupil. It is important to take into consideration the age, size, understanding etc. of the pupil.
Reasonable force should be a last resort when nothing else will defuse the situation. E.g.
Pupils attacking each other or a teacher.
A pupil in danger of causing injury through using dangerous materials.
The use of reasonable force in these cases might be the interjection of a teacher between the opposing pupils or teacher and pupil, holding, leading a pupil by the arm, blocking the path of the pupil or by shepherding away with a hand in the small of the back.
Restraint should only be used if the pupil is incapable of self-restraint and they should be told throughout that as soon as they calm down they will be let go.
If restraint has been used it is vital that a detailed, written record is made and a copy given and discussed with parents.