Information concerning the Additional Educational Needs Model of Support within Belvedere College S.J.

Information concerning the Additional Educational Needs Model of Support within Belvedere College S.J.- 2022-2023

Circular 0014/2017, “Special Education Teaching Allocation”, introduced a revised model for allocating Special Educational Needs (SEN) resources to schools. This document and the, Guidelines for Post Primary Schools Supporting Students with SEN in Mainstream schools, produced in May 2017, by the Department of Education and Skills (DES), are now the guiding principles that form the basis for support for students with Additional Educational Needs (AEN), within the College. We have now revised the name of our department to follow best practice guidelines, to be more inclusive and to take away from possible stigma, relating to the terminology of being ‘special’.

Belvedere College S.J. has been allocated a specific number of additional teaching support hours per week by the DES, to cater for all students with an identified AEN. These hours are to be used to provide support, based on the principles laid down in the above documentation so that the students with the greatest need, have access to the greatest level of support. This continues to be our normal practice.
Within the AEN Department, students are provided with support based upon their individualised needs. This support involves liaison with the student themselves, their form tutor, and other members of staff. Parents and Guardians play an integral part in this support system. This support is based on the Continuum of Support framework set out by the Department which, “recognises that special educational needs occur along a continuum, ranging from mild to severe, and from transient to long term” so that students will, “require different levels of support, depending upon their identified need”. (DES, May 2017, p.6)
The subject teacher has been explicitly recognised as having the primary responsibility for the progress & care of all students in their classroom in the DES Circular and the Post Primary Guidelines. As this now specifically includes students with additional educational needs, collaboration between the AEN department staff and subject teachers is invaluable in supporting these students. Support for staff, working with students with AEN in their classroom will be provided though the information above and through continued collaboration throughout the academic year.

The Continuum of Support framework is used to enable us to identify and respond to our students’ needs in a flexible way, which has also been our normal practice to date. It enables us to continue to gather and analyse information and to put supports in place, where necessary. This support will then be reviewed for individual students by their AEN contact person and other interested parties.
Support is based on the identification of an additional educational need, which can include academic, social, and emotional needs, physical, sensory or language and communications difficulties, or for students whose education has been significantly interrupted.

There are three levels of support:

  • Level One: Support For All: Whole school and Classroom support – this will focus on preventative and proactive approaches though testing, providing information for students, staff and parents, alongside whole class support.
  • Level Two: Support For Some: This will focus on providing school support for small groups and some individuals on a weekly timetabled basis, or short-term intervention.
  • Level Three: Support For a Few: This will provide individualised and specialist support for a number of students on a regular timetabled basis. This will include regular meetings with the individual student’s AEN contact teacher.

From September each year, the AEN team meet our students, who have already been identified as having an additional educational need. We review their support from the previous year and begin planning for the current year, as necessary. Individual AEN support timetables are issued to those students who fall under the Level Two and Level Three of the Continuum of Support framework as indicated above.

Literacy testing will be carried out for all Elements students during this academic year. This is for the College to have a baseline assessment for all incoming students. This testing will be used in conjunction with individual scores from the assessment for incoming students, Cognitive Ability Testing (CAT4), which is completed after students receive a place in Belvedere. The scores from the CAT4 are primarily used to make sure classes are of mixed ability within the College. The baseline testing, information from the student’s primary school, parents and the CAT4 results, is then used to identify if a student has any particular difficulties in literacy or numeracy. This information will be available for staff as requested.
The AEN Model of Support document forms the basis of the Whole School Plan for Students with Additional Educational Needs. It is based on Circular 0014/2017 and the Post Primary Guidelines as indicated above. The Circular and the Post Primary guidelines indicate that there is no longer a requirement to have an educational assessment from a psychologist to identify if a student a has a specific, academic based, educational need, to receive school support.

The AEN team use the NCSE tool kit, devised to support students with additional educational needs to plan, implement and review support that will be put in place each academic year for those students who fall within the Support for a Few (Level Three), Continuum of Support framework, working towards providing this for students who fall under Support for Some (Level Two) as staffing resources allow. These documents form the basis of support provided for specific students, along with additional information available to teachers through VS ware and the Private & Confidential Register of Students with Additional Educational Needs for Staff, which is made available at the beginning of the academic year and reviewed in the following January term.
The Core AEN team take on specific responsibility for a year group, each year. This will mean that this AEN teacher will be the first point of contact, providing support for parents, form tutors, year heads and subject teachers, concerning a student with AEN, in a particular year. The AEN Coordinator is also available, along with the Leadership team, as necessary. Members of the Core AEN team have the opportunity of working with a specific year group in order to build up a rapport and understanding of specific student’s needs and the year groups’ educational needs. This leads to greater consistency and support for the students, their parents and guardians, mainstream staff, and management.

Core Team

AEN Core team from September 2023:

First Year: Ms. Nuala Sheridan at nsheridan@belvederecollege.ie

Second Year: Mr. Anthony Coleman at acoleman@belvederecollege.ie

Third Year: Ms. Katie Treacy at ktreacy@belvederecollege.ie

Fourth year: Mr. Noel McKenna at noelmckenna@belvederecollege.ie

Fifth Year: Ms. Sarah Dunne at sdunne@belvederecollege.ie

Sixth year: Ms. Divinia Lyons at dlyons@belvederecollege.ie


Our Whole School Policy for Students with Additional Educational Needs for Belvedere College S.J., is now available, as it was ratified by the Board of Management, in March 2022, following consultation with senior management team, staff representatives and parents and guardians. Click here

If you have any further concerns, please contact Nuala Sheridan, AEN Coordinator

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