DEN (Diverse Educational Needs) Provision
Prior to entry to St. Paul’s:
The early identification of students with Diverse Educational Needs begins with the application for enrolment. Parents are requested to alert the school by indicating on the form of any such needs. The DEN co-ordinator will write to all who have been accepted for enrolment and indicated a DEN (SEN) on their application form to provide more details. In conjunction with the Year Head for First Years, the Diverse Educational Needs Co-ordinator will visit or contact the feeder Primary School. St Paul’s sees this intervention as an important step in ensuring proper identification of students with diverse educational needs and the continuity of provision for them. Where possible, visits are arranged for students and their parents with diverse educational needs prior to their transfer to St. Paul’s.
Students with an exemption from the study of Irish:
In First and Second Year students who are exempt from studying Irish receive resource help in Maths and English. In Second Year the school offers those who are exempt from Irish the opportunity to cease studying French/Spanish. Any decision will be a collaborative one between the student, parents, MFL teacher and DEN Co-ordinator. Depending on the number of students who choose this option and resources available, the school may offer additional resource classes. In exam years, the focus will shift to additional subject specific support (this will depend on the availability of subject teachers at the time of those timetabled classes).
Reasonable Accommodations (RACE)
The Diverse Educational Needs Co-ordinator, in consultation with other members of the DEN Department, classroom teachers and school management, identify students in need of reasonable accommodations in school and State examinations. School based testing will identify students who may qualify for reasonable accommodations and applications will be forwarded to the ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ section of the State Examinations Commission. Parents of students identified will be contacted after October mid-term in 3rd year.
Provision for students with DEN in mainstream classes:
Class teachers are expected to make themselves aware of the diverse educational needs of students in their classes. Reading Ages, Maths Ages and Individual Student Plans (ISP’s) of all pupils with psychological or other professional assessments are made available to all teachers digitally. Teachers are expected to inform themselves of the diverse needs of any student in their classes and to bring any concerns regarding such a student to the Diverse Educational Needs Co-ordinator. Teachers are responsible for differentiating their lessons to cater for the various diverse educational needs and to have a subject related Individual Student Plan (ISP) for each DEN student.
Role of the Diverse Educational Needs Co-ordinator (DENCO):
The DEN Coordinator is responsible for the overall coordination of Resource/Learning Support within the school. The DEN Coordinator duties are as follows:
- Assists with arrangements for the successful transfer of students from their primary school to St. Paul’s Secondary School and in gathering information about students, including those with diverse educational needs, prior to the transfer happening.
- Coordinates DEN provision in the school
- Liaises with parents/guardians of DEN students and prospective students.
- Liaises with NEPS psychologists regarding assessment of priority students.
- Communicates with relevant staff regarding essential information regarding DEN students
- Facilitates and chairs DEN department meetings
- Provides updates and details of all matters DEN to the School Authorities
- Liaises with the SENO in relation to all matters DEN including; assessment reports, learning support/resource provision, SNA access and applications to the NCSE.
- Maintains and updates DEN files as well as the yearly DEN register.
- Administers and maintains records of assessment tests carried out throughout the school year.
- Makes application for Reasonable Accommodation to the SEC.
- Liaises with the Carer Guidance Counsellor about those DEN students who want to continue to third level and assists in the DARE application.
- Processes Exemptions from Irish.
- Liaises with the School Authorities regarding timetabling.
- Strives to develop a climate of confidentiality regarding the sensitive information of all the partners involved in DEN.
- Liaises with school management regarding specific and whole school professional development.
Role of the Special Needs Assistant (SNA)
The duties of the Special Needs Assistants involve tasks of a non teaching nature such as:
- Attending both Staff and Departmental meetings when appropriate.
- Assisting / escorting students on school trips.
- Giving special assistance as necessary for students with particular difficulties e.g. helping diverse needs students with typing, writing or other use of equipment.
- Assisting with clothing, feeding, toileting and general hygiene and being mindful of health and safety needs of the student.
- Assisting with reading/scribing examinations (if appropriate).
- Assisting the teacher in the supervision of pupils during assembly and in movement from one classroom to another.
- Accompanying individual or small groups who may be withdrawn temporarily from the classroom.
- General assistance of the subject teacher of a non-teaching nature. Special Needs Assistants may not act as either substitute or temporary teachers. In no circumstances may they be left in sole charge of a class.
- Participation with school development planning, where appropriate, and cooperation with any such changes with policies and practices arising from the school development process.
- Engagement with parents of diverse needs pupils in both formal and informal structures as required.
- Other appropriate duties as may be determined by the needs of the pupils and the school. Special Needs Assistants may be reassigned to other appropriate work when diverse needs students are absent or when particularly urgent work demands arise.
- Special Needs Assistants are expected to treat all matters relating to school business and their work as strictly confidential.