Learning Support / Special Needs Department
Newtown School is committed to the development of each students potential through a broad and balanced educational curriculum. We recognise that each person learns differently and that in order to achieve this goal some of our students may require supplementary teaching, additional resources, classroom support or the provision of specialised equipment. In all cases it is the intention to integrate students socially and academically.
Students who fall within the Special Needs definition and may require Learning Support are:
- Students with learning difficulties
- Students with physical and sensory disabilities
- Students with emotional and behavioural issues
- Students with other special needs
Learning support provision is seen in the context of a whole school approach. The Learning Support Team arranges for learning support provision and provides information to subject teachers as necessary. The Guidance Counsellor also works in close association with the team and students.
- Where in-coming students are identified as having special needs, staff will meet parents and students to build a picture of the individual, their particular strengths and their specific learning difficulties.
- With all in-coming 1st Year Students, formal testing will be used to assess reading comprehension, verbal reasoning and numerical ability. This will normally take place in April prior to entry and also in September at the start of the school year.
- All staff will meet together to assess the needs of the individual students based upon the formal assessments, reports and the classroom observations of the first month.
- Students with special learning difficulties will be further assessed by the Learning Support Team and outside agencies, as considered appropriate, to identify on-going specific needs and to develop appropriate strategies to remediate difficulties.
- This process is continued to Junior Certificate where exam provision, e.g. reasonable accommodation is made in consultation with students / parents / teachers. This process can also be continued in some cases up to Leaving Certificate.
Where student needs have been identified, the Learning Support Department will support their learning through small group teaching and in some cases one to one tuition.
The School is allocated additional teaching hours by the Department of Education and Skills on the basis of psychologist reports submitted to the Department in the academic year preceding the year of entry of a student. The School may not be in a position to allocate additional support, to exempt students from certain subjects or to withdraw students from normal class where no such report has been completed and submitted in good time.
The level of support provided to a students with special needs will be based on the resources allocated from the Department of Education and Skills for that student and on an assessment of the needs of that student undertaken by the Learning Support Department.