Additional Educational Needs

It is the policy of Blackwater Community School that all students with Additional Educational Needs will receive appropriate support to enable them to access effective learning opportunities suited to their needs and ability as set down in the Additional Educational Needs Whole-School Inclusion Policy and the Admissions Policy (in the Policies Section). Our AEN programme reflects our commitment to the ideal of an inclusive learning community.

The Additional Educational Needs umbrella comprises many areas of need, amongst them;

  • Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD)
  • General Learning Difficulties (GLD)
  • Physical Difficulties
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Speech and Language Difficulties
  • Emotional, Behavioural Difficulties (EBD)
  • Students identified as Exceptionally Able or gifted through a full educational psychological assessment
  • English as Additional Language (EAL), students whose first language is not English

Procedures for Identifying Students with AEN

Blackwater Community School use the Continuum of Support Framework set out by the Department of Education to identify and support children with additional needs. Like this framework, we recognise that additional educational needs occur along a continuum ranging from mild to severe and that students require different levels of support depending on their identified additional needs.

The Deputy Principal and the AEN Co-ordinator visit the Primary Schools in the catchment area every Spring to discuss our incoming students and to ensure a smooth transition from Primary to Secondary for the AEN students. In February each year all incoming First-Year students sit standardised testing in intelligence, literacy and numeracy and the results of these assessments together with information gathered from the Primary Schools, parents and professional reports are used to identify students who will require learning support. The relevant parents are then contacted and consulted in relation to their child’s support.

In order to provide the best Support Plan for your son/daughter it is important that we have all necessary information. Parents/guardians are obliged to transfer all necessary professional reports and certificates of Exemption from Irish to BCS, Primary schools do not transfer these confidential reports or exemptions. If your son/daughter has SNA access sanctioned to them by the NCSE and will continue to require this access in BCS, it is very important that the AEN Coordinator is informed of this when your son/daughter is in 6th class. Reports can be handed into the main office or you can contact the main office to make an appointment with the AEN Coordinator.

We strongly believe in good communication between parents or guardians and together as a whole school community we will endeavour to do what’s best for your child.

Outline of Learning Support model BCS

  • The withdrawal method of support is in place against the Irish times on the timetable.
  • Those who possess an Irish exemption, in consultation with parents, students’ and staff, may withdraw from class for L.S. or remain in class.
  • Students who are identified from the above process, who do not possess an Irish exemption, are eligible to reduce in subject areas such as; Religion, French or German.
  • There is a certain amount of flexibility involved in the withdrawal of LS students due firstly to the needs of the individual and secondly, the flexibility within the timetable and staffing considerations.
  • Team-teaching is another model of support in BCS and this provides support for all students. BCS has been a Pilot School for Team-Teaching (2018).

Exceptionally Able Students

Bright and gifted students at BCS are accommodated in a variety of different ways, by providing the necessary interventions and supports as and where appropriate, to support them and encourage the development of their special abilities. These mainly include a combination of differentiated learning and the provision of extra tuition and study outside of school hours and term time.

These may include the following:

  • Gifted students are identified in the entrance process and are entered in the DCU Programme for gifted children. “Centre for Talented Youth in Ireland” (CTYI)
  • Extra after school tuition
  • Student of the Year, End of Year Awards
  • Reinforcement of student performance with Scholarship and Gold Medal Award funding
  • Establishment of a network for our students

AEN Resource for Parents

Blackwater Community School has assembled a collection of links to AEN Resources for Parents.