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Special Education Needs Policy



SEN: Special Education Needs

SENO: Special Education Needs Organiser (external to school)

SENC: Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (internal)

IEP: Individual Education Plan

SNA: Special Needs Assistant

RACE: Reasonable Accommodations in Certificate Examinations

NEPS: National Educational Psychological Service

CAT: Cognitive Ability Test

SEC: State Examinations Commission


The Special Education Needs (SEN) Policy of Rockwell College (“the school”) has been formulated in consultation with all relevant partners with a view to formalising the SEN provision and supports available to all pupils in the College as determined by their need. It is the ambition of the College that all pupils can achieve their learning potential through the provision of these supports. This ambition supports the Mission Statement of the school, which promotes the development of the full potential of each pupil.


The rationale for this policy is to state explicitly the supports available to pupils and the means and entitlement to accessing those supports. The policy also aims to clarify the roles of the persons responsible for pupil support in the area of SEN.

Aims of SEN provision in Rockwell College:


This policy is formulated in the context of:

The policy is informed by best practice as outlined in all current and relevant DES circulars and guidelines, including the Guidelines for Inclusion of Students with Special Educational Needs (Post Primary) and the guidelines on the IEP process.


Parents are requested on application to provide relevant reports from the child’s previous school or reports by professionals who have assessed or who have provided support services for the child, for example psychologists, speech and language therapists, or occupational therapists.

Screening and diagnostic testing (e.g CAT test) of First Year pupils is carried out at the start of the school year to assist in the selection of pupils for additional support. This information is shared with all relevant departments and with parents as deemed necessary.

Pupils may, at any stage in their school lives, be recommended by individual teachers for testing by the SEN coordinator. Following this, further testing through the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) may follow or a recommendation for assessment privately.

Roles & Responsibilities


Pupils availing of additional support are required to have respect for the provision, insofar as they will endeavour to apply themselves to the process in their own interests. Pupils are expected to cooperate with the SEN coordinator, teachers and SNAs in the instruction given. Pupils must be mindful that applications for Reasonable Accommodation must be made to deadlines and that their failure to comply with reasonable requests may affect their application.


The school fosters an environment where parents feel welcome in the school and are informed at regular intervals via meetings and reports, of their child’s progress. School management and staff advocate a partnership of collaboration and cooperation with parents of pupils with SEN. Parental involvement in the IEP process is welcomed and encouraged. Parents are expected to facilitate and support the school’s efforts in the best interests of their child.


The delivery of Learning Support on an a individual or small-group basis is the responsibility of the assigned teacher, who is required to work in cooperation with the pupil’s class teacher of that subject and with the SEN coordinator.


All members of the teaching staff of the school are required to recognise the whole-school approach that is necessary for effective SEN provision. Staff members are encouraged to liaise with the SENC in the identification of pupils and to cooperate with the SEN structures put in place for an individual pupil.


The duties of Special Needs Assistants are set out in Circular SNA 12/05 and Circular 71/2011. These duties allow for the support of individual pupils, the SEN coordinator, individual teachers and pupils under the direction of the SEN coordinator, the Deputy Principal & Principal.

SEN coordinator

The SEN coordinator is required to work in conjunction with the Principal & Deputy Principal to ensure the provision of support within the resources of the school to pupils with special educational needs. The coordinator will work in conjunction with the Guidance Counsellor in relation to diagnostic testing and with staff from outside bodies assigned to the school including, but not limited to, NEPS. Applications for Reasonable Accommodations will be made by the SEN coordinator in line with best practise.

It is also the responsibility of the SEN coordinator to ensure that safe practise is applied to the securing of documentation relevant to individual pupils and that privacy is respected, notwithstanding the need to share information with relevant staff.


It is the responsibility of the Principal to ensure that provision is made within the resources available to the school to support pupils and staff involved in SEN. This includes, but is not limited to, managing provision within the timetable, allocation of financial resources, allowing reasonable requests for professional development and facilitating communication with parents. The Principal is also responsible for ensuring that all required paperwork is complete to the satisfaction of the DES.

Board of Management

The Board of Management is responsible for overseeing the provision of support for pupils with special education needs. This includes consideration of the planning needs of the school. It is also the responsibility of the Board to review and ratify this policy on its submission to the Board.

Models of Support

Individual withdrawal
Additional teaching support on an individual basis is intended to be short-term, intensive and focused on needs that cannot be normally addressed in a mainstream class setting. Where possible it will correlate closely with subject teaching while at the same time benefiting the particular student.

Group withdrawal
Operating in consultation with the relevant subject teachers, withdrawal may operate as an extra to the subject or, where the withdrawal is from a non-exam subject, as an additional support in the required subject area.

SNA support
The support of a designated SNA allows the resource student and teacher to concentrate on curricular support programmes while the SNA offers correlating social and organisational support.

Provision for English as a Second Language

Recognising the multilingual nature of the pupil body of Rockwell College, English classes are provided to pupils in addition to the conventional syllabus depending on the needs of the pupil and the resources of the school.

It is the responsibility of the Principal to ensure this provision and to ensure that relevant paperwork in relation to exemption form Irish is completed.

Curricular Reduction

Following consultation between parents, the pupil and relevant staff, it may be agreed to reduce the number of subjects being taken by a pupil in an effort to ensure a manageable workload and to allow appropriate focus on key subject areas.

Reasonable Accommodations in Exams

SEC criteria determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations in State examinations. Where testing does not produce sufficient evidence of a disability an application cannot be made.

For the Leaving Certificate the school applies to the State Examinations Commission for "Reasonable Accommodations" for the pupil. Requests refused by the SEC are open to appeal. Parents and relevant staff are informed of the outcome of the applications and appeal process.

For the Junior Certificate, the school applies to the State Examinations Commission for "Reasonable Accommodations" under Circular S71/01. There is authority for the school to appoint superintendent/scribe/reader as appropriate under the terms of the scheme where appropriate evidence exists justifying the need for such an accommodation.

Where pupils are confirmed as being in receipt of reasonable accommodations in State examinations, the school will attempt to provide such accommodations in ‘house exams’ where practical.

The appointment of all relevant exam personnel is based on the needs of the child and will be determined by the Examinations Coordinator of the school in consultation with the SENC.

Ratification & Review

This policy was ratified following a period of consultation with the relevant parties. It will be reviewed annually by the SENC and, in the event of amendments, will be brought to consultation prior to ratification by the Board in line with the school plan.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management of Rockwell College.

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Chairperson, Board of Management Date