The Reading Classes in Holy Family S.N.S. were established in September 2000 in response to a need to support children with S.L.D. (Specific Learning Difference) Dyslexia within our own school community. Prior to this, children who qualified for intervention were placed in Reading Classes outside of our school or were allocated resource hours. Children with milder forms of dyslexia were/are supported by the Learning Support Team. (per Guidelines for enrolment of Children with Specific Learning Disability – issued June 1998 by Department of Education and Science)
Initially, one S.L.D. class was established with children ranging from 3rd to 6th Class. The following year, a second class was established. There are currently two classroom teachers, with a pupil to teacher ratio of 8/9/10:1. It is our policy that children are integrated with the wider school community as much as possible, particularly in activities such as playtime, swimming, educational tours, sports coaching and other organised whole-school activities. Where possible children are also integrated into mainstream classes for other curricular subjects to facilitate re-entry into mainstream on completion of the two years in the S.L.D. Class.
It was considered necessary to devise a policy in order to formalise existing practice and procedures which have evolved since the establishment of the unit.
To optimise the teaching and learning process in order to enable pupils with specific learning difficulties to achieve adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy skills before re-entering mainstream classes by:
- developing self-esteem in children
- providing a one/two-year intensive programme designed to support children
- enabling children to understand their learning strengths and difficulties and to develop strategies to deal with these
- providing a grounding in language/assistive technology/computer/word processing/numeracy skills which will support them in the future
All of the above aims to be achieved in consultation with:
- Parents/ Guardians
- Department of Education and Science
- School Psychological Services
- Health Board
The Application Process
- To start the application process, a copy of the Educational Psychologist’s report which diagnoses severe Dyslexia should be forwarded to the Principal/ Vice Principal of Holy Family Senior National School. It should be stated in this report that it is recommended that the pupil attend an S.L.D. Unit/ Class in order to give them the required support.
- Our classes cater for children with dyslexia who have average or higher intelligence and are identified as being close to the 2nd Percentile in terms of key aspects of literacy (Word/Letter/Sound Recognition, Reading, Writing, Spelling). This should be stated in the report. Students who meet these criteria may apply for a place on our two-year intensive support programme.
- Please note that it is very common for some children diagnosed with dyslexia to have additional needs otherwise known as co-occurring difficulties. In order for your child’s learning to really flourish in the Reading Class, dyslexia should be their primary need.
- Applications will be examined by the School Principal, The Board of Management and the applications committee. It is possible to discuss an application over the phone but without a copy of the educational psychologists report a full response may not be able to be given.
- If a place is granted or deemed unsuccessful you will be notified by the School Principal. If the pupil meets the criteria they will be invited to view the school along with their parent(s)/ guardian(s) to discuss enrollment and view the two Reading Classes to gain an understanding of the programme.
- If a place has been granted please ensure all relevant assessment reports have been forwarded to the school. This includes a copy of your child’s most recent school report. Please make sure their end of year assessment results (Sigma/ Micra or Drumcondra Tests) are included. This is normally shown as a STEN score for English and Maths.
- If it applies, please also include a copy of your child’s recent Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.) or any information regarding support programmes put in place by their previous school. These types of supports may have been provided through Learning Support, Resource teaching or through classroom accommodations organised by the class teacher. The sharing of this information is essential to ease the transition to the Reading Class and to ensure your child is given the best possible start.
- A high level of cooperation and positive work ethic is required by both pupil and parents/ guardians. Holy Family also has a duty of care and responsibility for the safety and learning of all children in The Reading Classes. Therefore please be aware that once a place has been given it will be done so initially on a trial basis of one to two months to ensure that The Reading Class is indeed the right environment for your child to reach their full potential.
- A strong and positive link between home and school is essential in order for you and your child to make the most of this exciting and unique opportunity.
Children with S.L.D. may receive an exemption from the study of Irish, as laid out in the Department of Education Circular 12/96. This should be stated clearly in the educational psychologists report. It can be applied for in school once a place has officially been granted.
However, please be aware it is an informed choice. Students with dyslexia are still required to have Leaving Certificate Irish for some areas of employment. For example, the primary teaching profession.
Applications can be considered any time during the school year. Should there be a surplus you will be placed on a waiting list.
We welcome any questions and encourage you to get in touch with us. Our door is always open. Visiting appointments can be made here.