In view of the substantial international evidence that early-intervention and prevention programmes can lead to improved outcomes for students, school leaders should ensure that some teaching resources are used for this purpose. As schools engage in a process of self reflection and review, they will become aware of whole-school issues that may be addressed through early-intervention programmes, which are evidence-based and which are responsive to the local context. Focused interventions to develop literacy, social, emotional, life-skills and well-being are particularly important for junior cycle students with special educational needs. Schools have the flexibility to innovate by developing and trialling new approaches and by using assessment data to evaluate the efficacy of these interventions. Developing and sharing successful practice has the potential to contribute to improvements in the overall provision for students with special educational needs. Schools could seek advice and training in well-validated approaches to address literacy, behavioural and emotional needs as a means of preventing anxiety and building resilience, or similar evidence-based programmes.
The NCSE Support Service offers a wide range of programmes and resource materials related to addressing the social, emotional and behavioural needs of all students, including those with special educational needs. These programmes cover such issues as bullying, transition and behaviour management. A sample of programmes/resources currently available includes:
Student Support Teams serve an important preventative and early-intervention function, particularly in relation to addressing the needs of students with social, emotional, behavioural and well-being needs. The teams provide a forum to share concerns and to work towards solutions. They play an important co-ordinating role and facilitate monitoring and review of students’ progress.