Special Educational Needs

How the Educational Needs of Students in CCS are Managed

Continuum Of Support CCSParents and teachers often ask how the educational needs of students are managed within schools. The system of allocating resources based on learning difficulties has been replaced by a more inclusive and perhaps fairer way through the Continuum of Support. There are three levels or stages within the continuum. All students are supported within whole school approaches. The subject teacher has overall responsibility for differentiating their subject to meets the needs of all students in their classes. However, some students require further support. 

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Reasonable Accommodations at Junior and Leaving Certificate Exams


State ExamsThe state examinations, sometimes called the “certificate examinations”, are the Leaving Certificate examinations, the Junior Certificate examinations, and the final examinations in the new Junior Cycle. These examinations are run by the State Examinations Commission on behalf of the Minister for Education and Skills.

The Examinations Commission makes arrangements that allow students with special educational needs, such as those caused by visual impairments or dyslexia, to access the state examinations on an equal basis with other students.

Deciding what is needed
Not all students with a learning or physical difficulty will need to have special access arrangements made for them. The examinations are designed to be as accessible as possible for all students. It is normal that anxiety caused by examinations can interfere with your ability to read and concentrate. Every attempt is made to overcome this by making the language used in the examinations as clear and straightforward as it can be, and by using a well-designed layout. Sometimes it is necessary to use difficult words or phrases because they are important words used in the subject and your ability to understand and use these words is part of what we are testing. But apart from this, the papers as made as easy to read as possible. In particular, the language in the examinations is easier to read than what you will find in a typical textbook for the subject.

Because of this, even if you have some difficulty with reading, you still may not need any special arrangement for your examinations. Only if your reading ability falls below a certain level will you need reading assistance in the examination. Your school will be able to carry out the necessary tests to check this.

Likewise, if you have very poor handwriting or spelling, you may be worried that this will prevent the examiners from reading and understanding your work. The State Examinations Commission examiners are very well practised at reading all manner of poor handwriting. Also, in subjects where spelling is not an important part of what is being tested, the examiners will ignore spelling mistakes and instead focus on the meaning of what you are trying to say. Because of this, your writing or spelling would have to fall far below average before it would interfere with your ability to communicate well enough with the examiner. As with reading, your school will be able to carry out the necessary tests to check this.

Read more: Reasonable Accommodations at Junior and Leaving Certificate Exams

Special Educational Needs News

Word of the Week
This was a great success during the year and there are plans to continue this Literacy Initiative next year. All suggestions gratefully accepted.

Drop Everything and Read
All classes, teachers and parents were invited to participate in this exercise this year and, overall, it was a great success. Every week we were reminded by the Prefects, over the speakers in the school, to DEAR. We plan to continue this worthwhile activity next year.

Literacy and Numeracy
Support programs were run again this year under the DEIS scheme. More than fifty students benefited from the extra tuition, especially in the skills areas. Thanks to the tutors for their
excellent work!

Dyslexia Initiative
Thursday 8th October was Dyslexia Awareness Day, a pivotal day in the school for students with dyslexia. The school community has been kept updated with new ideas and initiatives. Students have new apps, new study techniques and renewed confidence in themselves as a result of the work done with them this year. 3rd and 5th Year students received a lot of extra guidance and they will feel the benefit in the Junior and Leaving Cert exams.

As part of the school’s Literacy & Numeracy, all students in next year’s 1st Year will be participating in testing in October to measure their skills in both learning areas. More information will be provided closer to the time.

We are delighted with the transfer program for 6th Class pupils this year. The SEN Dept. worked very closely with HSCL and NISCP to make sure that students with SEN enjoyed a supplementary transfer. A special word of thanks to the 4th Year Prefects who were excellent ‘buddies’ and they have committed to continuing this in Term One, next year.

Congratulations to the 3rd Year students who have completed the JCSP program. They are very well-placed now to achieve very good Junior Certificates and we wish them well in their revision and exams.

Leaving Cert. Applied
The senior students in the school that have participated in this program have produced some fine work this year and are to be commended for their efforts. We also wish them well in their exams and in the world of work!

TYG Group
These students have reached several milestones in their education this year and we congratulate them all. Horse-riding and swimming continue to be popular activities and no-one ever refuses breakfast on a Friday morning! We farewell Sarah and wish her success as she progresses to 3rd level education and the world of work. Reasonable Accommodations in Certificate Exams

The closing date for 2017 Leaving Certificate applications was 24th MAY 2016, so all students should have applied by now. There has been a delay in the arrival of the application forms until September. The purpose of RACE is to support those students who have a Special Educational Need to be able to have equal access to the State Exams. For more information: www.education.ie Circular S40/94. Students who have been granted RACE in the Junior Cert and
Leaving Cert. examinations are expected to stay in their separate centres for the entire duration of the exam and use the time to answer questions and check all work thoroughly. Parents, please encourage your child to make the best of this opportunity and to stay in the exam room for the entire exam time… not leave early! 

Finally, a big ‘Thank You’ to the students and staff of the SEN Dept on another fine year’s work and progress. Best Wishes to all students doing exams. Have a restful holiday and see you all again in late August!