Greystones Community College

Additional Educational Needs (AEN)

Student Support Coordinator

My name is Ruth O'Sullivan and I am the Student Support Coordinator here at Greystones Community College. I coordinate the Additional Educational Needs Department and work closely with outside agencies, staff, parents and the student themselves to ensure that the student is receiving a level of support that will help them succeed at school. This support is well planned, individually targeted and of high quality as we leave no stone unturned in supporting our students to reach their full potential. I have provided below a synopsis of the different support areas where we provide interventions for our students.

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Definition of Additional Educational Need

Special Educational Need (SEN) is now often referred to as Additional Educational Need (AEN). This term refers to any student that requires more support because of a disability or diagnosis. It also refers to the needs of exceptionally able students so they are challenged and supported in an educational setting. At Greystones Community College, we have measures, strategies and practices to support students with additional educational needs.

The measures of support we use at Greystones Community College include:

1. In Class Support

In Class Support (ICS) is the lowest level of support offered and is very subtly carried out within mainstream classes. It is provided by another teacher or a qualified Special Education Teacher (SET). ICS allows for specific, targeted interventions relating to academic, social or emotional issues a student may be having. Students are identified for in class support if they received any level of support in primary school. ICS is tracked daily and if the student does not need this intervention it is withdrawn and the parents are informed.

2. Co Teaching

This is when two teachers, qualified in the same subject area collaborate to deliver the curriculum to a class. It can be for a full year or an intervention of a block of weeks. It allows two teachers to monitor, assess and support all students in the classroom and is seen as much more favourable than withdrawing a student. It can be particularly beneficial for high achieving students or students that may be struggling with the course content as the teachers work to differentiate work according to ability. It is a very inclusive approach to education.

3. Identifying needs

If your child has been identified in primary school as having an additional need, and is in receipt of support, the Student Support Coordinator will be in contact with you before March to discuss your child’s individual needs and to seek permission to discuss your child with their primary school.

We work closely with all of our feeder schools to gather information on any additional needs before your child start in September. We liaise with Student Support Coordinators in these schools and plan a smooth transition between primary and post primary setting.

Our goal is to build a close working relationship between parents, SNAs and the Support Department so that your child reaches their own individual potential and strives to be the best student they can be in Greystones Community College.

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4. Student Assessment

Students all learn at a different rate and sometimes additional needs are not identified until post primary school. In Greystones Community College we allocate time for co teaching and in class support, especially in first year, so children’s progress can be monitored and any concerns raised. If we are worried about a social, emotional or academic issue your child is having we will ring and organise a meeting. A Psychological assessment or link to an outside agency may be recommended and supports for your child will be put in place. It is important that a plan is in place for your child as soon as they begin experiencing difficulties. There may only be a need for a short term intervention until they settle into post primary setting.

5. Special Needs Assistants

Many children had a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) in their class in primary school and they may be in many of their classes in Post Primary too. They are there to support the care needs of a group of children or one specific child. They work closely with Support teachers, parents and students on a daily basis.

6. Transition from Primary to Post Primary

Moving from primary school is one of the most significant changes your child will have gone through and many students take time to settle in. As mentioned before Greystones Community College are eager to continue building relationships with the Primary schools in our area to help make the transition between primary and post primary be as smooth as possible. It is the hope that GCC will offer the July Provision to eligible students during the summer of 6th class and 1st year to help with this transition. Unfortunately due to government restrictions at the moment it is unclear if this service will take place this summer. The school will also be running friendship interventions to give students the opportunity to get to know all the students in their year.

7. Student Support Files (SSF)

Students that have and assessment carried out by an Educational Psychologist or are working with outside agencies for example Lucena Clinic, Enable Ireland or TUSLA will have a SSF. This is a document that the Student Support Department create listing strengths, needs, recommendations and targets. Parents and students voices are integral in the creation of the SSF. This document is reviewed after Christmas with parents, the student (and an SNA if relevant) and at the end of the year. Strengths, needs and targets are changed accordingly. Parents and students are consulted throughout this process and are aware of any interventions the school put in place to support the student.

The aim of the Student Support department is to monitor students and slowly wean some of the different supports away as they progress and move up through school. We create opportunities for independence and growth so by the time the student graduates 6th year they do not require the same level of support as they had in 1st year.

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8. Organisational Support

In our school, we prioritise support for first year students in getting into good routines and practices from early in their secondary school journey. The student support coordinator meets with each class and delivers a comprehensive programme of organisational support including organising books and materials, following timetables, setting up a homework schedule and prioritising work and goals for different subjects.

Additional Information:

For further information on any of the supports provided for students with additional educational needs, please contact the school and I would be delighted to discuss our strategies with you.

Apr 13
2021
Parent Leadership Team Meeting
Apr 14
2021
BOM Meeting
May 03
2021
School Closure
May 04
2021
Parent Leadership Team Meeting
26-Mar-2021
Week 10 Award Winners
25-Mar-2021
An update from PLT member Ms. Jeanne McGann (March 2021)
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