Special Needs Policy

The Enrolment Policy of Swords Educate Together National School is First-Come, First Served (See Enrolment/Admissions Policy). For full implementation of this policy, the Board of Management must, at all times, be satisfied that the school has the necessary personnel and resources to provide an appropriate education for all children enrolled in the school (Education Act 1998). The Board of Management, having studied all the necessary enrolment/admissions information, provided to the school by the child’s Parent(s)/Guardian(s) for Enrolment, must be satisfied that the necessary personnel and resources are in place prior to the enrolment of any child with special educational needs.

As provided for in Department Circulars (07/02 and 24/03), A Special Needs Assistant should be considered appropriate where a pupil has significant medical need, a significant impairment of physical or sensory function or where their behaviour is a danger to themselves or to other pupils. In many cases the SNA will be providing care to help with toileting and feeding. It would be expected that very often this level of care should diminish as the child matures. SETNS will review its SNA allocations in advance of making additional applications for SNAs to see whether the special need identified can be met by redeployment of existing SNA support in the school. In this context, although SNA allocations are sanctioned on the basis of individual applications, the overriding principle is that resources will be deployed in a manner that best meets the needs of pupils with special needs in the school.

Once a child with special educational needs has been enrolled in the school, Parent/Guardian communication with the school viz a viz special educational needs provision should be confined to the class teacher, in the first instance, the Principal/Deputy Principal and not directly with the SNA. SNA duties are of a non-teaching nature.

The deployment/redeployment of SNAs is a decision for the Principal, Deputy Principal, in consultation with the class teacher.

It is school policy that a teamwork approach will be employed to provide the best possible support to children requiring SNA support. Consultation with and the participation of Parents/Guardians in the education of children with special educational needs is essential, as deemed appropriate by the Principal, Deputy Principal and Class Teacher in consultation with the Special Needs Assistant.

The role of SNA is a supporting role to improve the whole educational experience of children with Special Needs and that of other children in the class/school. SNAs are also a major support to teachers in carrying out their work in a more effective way. Therefore, there are three aspects to the role of SNA:

  • supporting the child
  • Supporting the teacher/whole class/other children
  • Supporting the school and its ethos

Important: If and when, for whatever reason, the SNA is absent and the school is unable to secure appropriate substitute cover, the Parents/Guardians will be expected to provide the necessary special needs assistance, i.e. feeding and toileting.

Notes:

  • Prior to appointment to the position of SNA, the Board of Management will obtain a certificate of medical fitness that the person is fit to undertake the duties of the post. The BoM will nominate the medical practitioner (Circular SNA 03/03).
  • Prior to appointment to the position of SNA, the Board of Management will check the person’s references and ensure that the person has not been investigated in relation to substantial complaints made concerning his/her treatment of children. The Board of Management will make efforts with the local Gardai to provide clearance for employees employed as Special Needs Assistants. This process may take some time. Applicants will only be employed on a provisional basis pending the outcome of the clearing process. Special Needs Assistants appointed on a provisional basis pending Garda clearance will be made aware that in the event that they do have convictions making them unsuitable to work with children that this will be a substantial ground for dismissal without notice (Circular SNA 03/03).
  • Special Needs Assistants will familiarize themselves with the school’s Positive Behaviour Policy and the Health and Safety Policy. They will at all times contribute to the full implementation of these policies and to all other relevant school policies.

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