Additional Educational Needs
Loreto College is a school that takes pride in the successes of its students, be they academic, in extracurricular endeavours, socially, and so on. Our school is truly inclusive and works hard to both challenge and meet the needs of all of its students, regardless of their level of ability.
In order to best facilitate meeting everyone's needs, our school has a dedicated Additional Educational Needs (AEN) team. Each year group has a liaison person or anchor that takes responsibility for students with AEN in that group. This anchor is who parents will meet with should the need arise, and they will adminsiter the testing required on students to assess whether they meet the criteria for state examinations or not, etc. They actively engage in individual, small group, and whole class interventions, such as the strongly recommended NCSE's Vocabulary Enrichment Programme (VEP). Members of the AEN team are either qualified in Special Educational Needs study programmes or are currently completing their training programmes.
To find out more about AEN, please click here and you will be redirected to a Padlet full of relevant information.
How we support our students:
- Students' 6th Class reports and Passports are analysed and areas of need are noted
- Irish Exemption certificates are logged and students are offered literacy and numeracy supports in lieu of Irish class each day (Irish exemption certificates must be forwarded to the AEN Department of Loreto College prior to placement in this support class).
- All First Year students sit two assessments in our IT room - the Cognitive Abilities Test 4 (CAT4) and the New Group Reading Test (NGRT). These assessments will show areas of strength and need verbally, numerically and spatially (CAT4) and will calculate a reading age (NGRT). Both assessments offer recommendations for the student in terms of teaching and learning.
- All First Year students will sit a Maths Competency Test (by the PDST) which will score their performance in the various areas of the senior primary Maths curriculum. This will show the teacher where the student has particular strengths or needs
- All First Year students will engage in two literacy-based programmes - a spelling programme, "Spell, Write, Right!" and a vocabulary programme, the NCSE's Vocabulary Enrichment Programme. Both of these programmes involve pre and post assessements, showing the students' progress from programme's beginning to programme's end.
- All students in receipt of Educational Psychological Reports/Clinical Reports/OT Reports will have the relevant recommendations shared with their teachers in a discreet manner. Parents are asked to ensure a copy of these reports are forwarded to the school as soon as possible prior to their daughter starting with us in First Year.
- All students in Maths and English are supported by the assistance of a co-teacher at least three times a week in each subject.
- All students in First Year have an extra English class a week that is designated to reading for pleasure, called the Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) class.
All students in First Year are set up with their own personal G-Suite - a school email address, Google Drive (document storage facility) and Google Classroom. Google Classroom has been a wonderful addition to students with Additional Educational Needs as teachers can now easily communicate homework tasks, supporting presentations and visuals to help students consolidate each lesson's content and material.
Students at the top tier of the Continuum of Support (NEPS) have a Student Support Plan (SSP) drawn up with targeted goals in their areas of need.
Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are available to assist students with priority care needs such as orientation and organisation. We have three SNAs available in our school who provide assistance to students who merit access.
In school-testing is administered on students who may struggle with some of their curricular material at parents' request.
All First Years engage with the Get Up, Stand Up programme, Guidance Modules Pack 1, and Decider Skills.
- Student learning is supported in Maths and English with the assistance of a co-teacher at least three times a week.
- More individualised interventions are conducted with students on a needs basis to assist with their literacy and numeracy needs upon request by parents. These interventions happen during non-curricular subject areas.
- In-school testing, SSPs, supporting learning via resources and visuals on Google Classroom as per first year continue into Second Year as necessary.
- The 'Book in the Bag' iniative encourages reading for pleasure amongst our Second Year students.
- All Second Year students engage with the My Friends Youth programme and Guidance Modules Pack 2.
- In school-testing, SSPs, supporting learning via Google Classroom and co-teaching in English and Maths as per first and second year continue into Third Year as necessary.
- In-school testing for Reasonable Accomodations for State Examinations (RACE) takes place between October and November. Applications are drawn up in December prior to the January deadline. Parents are required to give consent to testing and are informed of the SEC's (State Examinations Commission) decisions on the student's application.
- A Subjects Fair and information seminars delivered by our Guidance Department help students to make informed decisions on their subject choices for Senior Cycle should students not opt to do Transition Year.
- Details on our Transition Year programme are delivered to all Third Year students.
- All Third Year students engage with the Lockers programme, and the Guidance Modules Pack 3.
- SSPs for students on the top tier of the Continuum of Support
- Students can choose LCVP as one of their Leaving Certificate subjects.
- Students are advised of subjects with pre-exam components and the implications of these in terms of their study.
- Students receive extra supports as required in terms of the aquisition of skills in study and in approaching examination questions.
- Students are given regular contact time with Guidance Counsellors.
- Liaison with organisations such as the National Learning Network (N.L.N.) to provide opportunites for further learning for some students.
- Regular career talks are arranged whereby staff of Third Level institutions, colleges and universities speak to students on PLC, certificate, diploma and degree pathways.
- Supports as per Fifth Year.
- Reactivations and in-school testing for Reasonable Accomodations for State Examinations (R.A.C.E.) are conducted from mid-September through October.
- Disability Access Route to Education (D.A.R.E.) applications are made in Spring.
Other Information Relating to Additional Educational Needs in Our School
- We operate a referral system in our school whereby teachers can easily refer issues of concern in terms of students' academic or social needs to the AEN Department
- Our Anchor system allows a professional relationship to build up between the Special Education Teacher (SET) and the student and the SET and the parent. Click here to find out more information.
- Social Skills programmes are delivered to students where the need arises in small group settings where possible.