Educational Needs and Learning Support Department
Special Educational Needs
The Special Educational Needs Department, which is led and co-ordinated by the Principal, Tim O'Connor and the Deputy Principal, Pádraig O'Sullivan, consists of a core team of four dedicated Special Educational Needs Teachers and four Special Needs Assistants. This team works closely with mainstream subject teachers, class teachers, the Pastoral Care Team, parents and outside professionals in supporting students with Special Educational Needs.
Two policy documents provide the framework for the tuition and support given by the SEN Department: the Educational Needs Policyand a for Exceptionally Able Students. These policies, which are part of the Whole School Plan, are intended to ensure that each student in the college is provided with the teaching and supports that will enable him/her to achieve to his/her potential.
with SEN have always been welcomed by Schull Community College. Support is provided for each of our students according to their individual needs. Extra teaching is given in several ways, including individual tuition, group tuition and support within the mainstream class.
Support in English Literacy and Mathematics is offered to students who would benefit from extra support in these two areas. This support is usually provided by mainstream subject teachers.
Equality of Challenge Initiative: piloting Educational Provision for Exceptionally Able Students
Equality of Challenge is a pilot initiative, led and coordinated by Dr Tom Daly of the Special Education Support Service. This initiative aims to pilot both provision and resources for exceptionally able students. Schull Community College is one of the three schools nationwide selected to take part in this initiative, which is now in its second year. In conjunction with Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School, Tralee and St. Coleman's College, Fermoy, our team is exploring how a framework and examples of practice may be developed which may be generalised and used by teachers in developing learning and teaching for students with exceptional ability/dual exceptionality.
initiative is now being extended to a further twelve schools nationwide. Schull Community College and Mercy Mounthawk will be the two lead schools in this expanded initiative.
Pathways to Education
Assistive technology is used extensively by some of our students and we are very fortunate during this school year in having the benefit of workshops in assistive technology, provided by the to Educationprogramme. to Educationis a joint access initiative of Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork, which has been designed to increase access to higher education for students with a range of difficulties/differences in learning. The assistive technology workshops, which are facilitated by Carmel Hennessy (Assistive Technology Outreach Coordinator CIT), take place once a month here in the college. Many of our students have also had the opportunity, as part of this initiative, to visit and take part in workshops in both UCC and CIT.
The type of supports provided for the inclusion of students with SEN.
Students with SEN have always been welcomed and provided for at the college while parents of such pupils make inordinate sacrifice to ensure attendance at the college through travel from outside catchment area, assessment support and involvement via school activities and bodies.
All students with SEN are made known to a full staff through meetings in August/September and the specific needs are outlined and explained. This is regularly done by an external (or internal) specialist in the specific area of need and guidelines are provided and strategies developed to best cater for these pupils. An SEN co-ordinator and SEN team monitor integration and inclusion on a daily basis while again whole staff is informed and report on progress regularly.
The inclusion of SEN students to maintain classes is considered a vital element of our educational experience and this is done, where possible, through a number of initiatives:
Whole staff in-service on inclusion in general classroom (SESS Team)
Special Need Assistants in classroom and daily activities
Resource teacher team teaching in general classroom
Regular meetings of SEN/Management Team
Regular meetings and input from parents
Regular visitation from NEPS psychologist and resultant advice implemented