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St. Brendan's National School, Cartron Point, Sligo

SEN in St. Brendan's

St. Brendan’s NS provides specialised education for pupils with special educational needs in both our mainstream school and our dedicated ASD unit ‘An Cuan’.

Our SEN team consists of an SEN coordinator, 2 ASD Class teachers (An Cuan), 4 SEN teachers (mainstream) and 9 Special Needs Assistants.

Our SEN Policy is informed by the Continuum of Support as set out by the Department of Education. In mainstream, support is provided to any pupil identified using the staged approach which recognises that SEN can occur along a continuum from mild to severe and for various periods of time ranging from a short block of support to more long term support.

The three stages of support are

Stage 1: Classroom Support: This level of support is for pupils experiencing minor difficulties within the classroom. If a class teacher or parent has concerns about the academic, physical, social or emotional development of a child, the class teacher will open a classroom support file outlining a programme of support for the child to be implemented within class by the class teacher. This support may involve differentiation of the curriculum for the individual pupil for a limited period of time. The plan will be reviewed after each instructional term. If the plan is working well for the child support may be no longer needed or it may be decided to continue with it for another instructional period. If insufficient progress is made and the child is still having difficulty then Stage 2 (School Support) is implemented.

Stage 2: School Support: This level of support is led and monitored by the SEN teacher in consultation with the class teacher and may take the form of in-class support, in class team-teaching or individual support and/or withdrawal from the class for one-to-one or small group support. The SEN teacher will draw up a school support plan for the child and undertake a continuous cycle of diagnostic testing, targeted teaching and a review of progress on a regular basis. If progress has been made it may be decided to revert to Stage 1 (where the child will continue to be monitored by the class teacher) or it may be decided to continue with this level of support for another instructional period. If significant concerns are still noted following a period of school support then the pupil may require an assessment by an external agency such as NEPS or the HSE and the child then transfers to Stage 3 (School Support Plus).

School Support Plus: This level of support is again led and monitored by the SEN teacher. The school (with parental permission) or parents may formally request a consultation from other professionals outside the school for a pupil who has not made significant progress at Stage 2.  A referral to psychologists, speech therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists etc. may be made and a report from an external agency will inform the School Support Plus Plan then drawn up by the SEN teacher. Support at this level will again involve a continuous cycle of diagnostic testing, targeted teaching and a review of progress on a regular basis.

In case of children identified at an early age as having significant special educational needs, intervention at Stage 3 will be necessary on their entry to school. Pupils attending our ASD unit ‘An Cuan’ will have already been assessed externally before being assigned a place in the class and have met the terms set out by the Department of Education for enrolment in an ASD class and in accordance with St. Brendan’s enrolment policy. Pupils in An Cuan all receive support at the level of School Support Plus, however inclusion in mainstream classes is encouraged and supported as much as possible.

For more information on SEN in the Irish Education System click on the link below:

If you are concerned about your child or wish to know more about SEN in St. Brendan’s please contact your child’s teacher or the school .


Assessments and Programmes in use in St. Brendan’s

At all stages of SEN support there are a number of assessments and programmes used to support the teacher in diagnosing and supporting a child. Below you will find some of the assessments and programmes available and used in St. Brendan’s/



·         MICRA-T (Mary Immaculate Reading Attainment Test) 

·         Sigma-T (Mary Immaculate Mathematics Attainment Test) 

·         Drumcondra Primary Reading Test

·         Middle Infant Screening Test and Forward Together Programme

·         DST-J: Dyslexia Screening Test – Junior

·         York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC)

·         QUEST II

·         Belfield Infant Assessment Profile (BIAP)

·         Single Word Spelling Test

·         NEW Non-Reading Intelligence Test (NNRIT)

·         Profile of Mathematical Skills 

·         Mathematics Assessment for Learning and Teaching (MALT)

·         Toe by Toe

·         Phonological Awareness Training (PAT)

·         SNIP Literacy Programme

·         First Steps Writing

·         Nessy Programme

·         Literacy Lift Off

·         Building Bridges of Understanding

·         Mata sa Rang/Maths Recovery

·         Ready, Set, Go Maths

·         Numicon

·         Fun Friends/Friends for Life

·         Incredible Years

·         Weaving Wellbeing

·         The Mentoring for Achievement Programme (MAP)


ASD Assessments used in An Cuan

Programmes/ Methods used in An Cuan

·         The Psychoeducational Profile-Third Edition (PEP-3)

·         Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised (ABLLS-R)

·         Verbal Behaviour Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP)


·         TEACCH Autism Programme

·         Picture Exchange Communiation System (PECS)

·         Lámh Sign Language

·         Handwriting Without Tears

·         Smart Moves Motor Skills Development Programme