Schools should establish a core team of teachers with responsibility for special educational needs. Members of this team should have the necessary experience and ongoing access to professional development to support the diverse needs of students. A special education needs team helps ensure that those students with the greatest level of need have access to support from teachers with the necessary experience and expertise. The guidance counsellor should be a member of this team to help in promoting the inclusion of students with special educational needs.
The role of the special education needs team could include developing, implementing and monitoring a whole-school approach to the education of students with special educational needs. This would involve developing whole-school procedures for the selection of students for supplementary teaching, assisting in the implementation of whole-school strategies to enhance teaching and learning, and providing guidance to colleagues on the implementation of students’ support plans.
A member of the special education needs team might be assigned the responsibility for co-ordinating overall provision for special educational needs within the school and might assume responsibility for:
- Co-ordinating data gathering, screening and testing
- Transition planning for students with special educational needs
- Taking a lead role in making arrangements for planning, implementation and review of student support plans
- Supporting the communication of information regarding students’ needs to subject teachers, form tutors and year-heads
- Liaising with other agencies, NEPS and allied health professionals
- Liaising with parents and students
The core team will work closely with subject teachers, parents and with other support structures within the school, such as the student support team and guidance counsellor. In addition, the core team can provide invaluable support to subject teachers to meet student needs within their classroom and subject areas.
More information is included in Inclusion for students with Special Educational Needs Post Primary Guidelines p 67 – p 84