At present, the learning support/resource staff for the school year 2016/2017 consists of Ms. Hynes, Mrs. O’ Rourke, Ms. Long and Mrs. Mc Nulty/Ms. Wynne.
Ms. Hynes and Ms. Long work with those pupils in our school who are entitled to resource hours as per Department of Education and Skills (DES) guidelines. These allocated hours are taught through a combination of in-class support and withdrawal of pupils depending on each child’s specific needs.
We are constantly looking at different ways of expanding our in-class support programme. Our aim is to work in all classes for a concentrated period over a number of weeks during the year developing our in-class support programmes. These programmes include:
Pupils from Junior Infants to First Class participate in the Literacy Lift-Off programme, which is an intensive programme of reading, writing and phonics. It takes place for an hour every day over the course of a six week period. During each session, pupils are taught in groups. Each group/station is led by an adult and focuses on one particular aspect of the intervention.
This involves children reading aloud in pairs daily for a six week period. It is a very structured programme and has proven very successful. Results have shown great improvements in children’s reading.
“Building Bridges of Understanding” is a new comprehension programme which focuses on teaching children nine strategies used in comprehension. It involves working in small groups to practise these strategies. Learning Support staff will help teachers facilitate this group work in their classes.
This involves whole class teaching on various topics and the use of mind maps in small groups and pairs to help children expand their vocabulary and develop their expressive writing skills.
Children move around five different ‘stations’ in their classroom every 8-10 minutes where they are taught in small groups to their level of need. Each station focuses on a particular skill or strategy. It also includes independent stations where the children work independently on activities previously taught.
Pupils in Sixth Class participate in a transition programme in their final term of 6th Class. The programme focuses on the practicalities and skills that will ease the pupils’ transition into secondary school, including timetabling, study planning, who to go to for help etc.
Each programme aims to teach children of all levels of ability in small groups. Pupils may be withdrawn for a number of weeks or a term and then receive their support through one of the above in class programmes for a specific period of time.
If a pupil is in need of learning support in literacy or numeracy, parents will be contacted by their class teacher to refer your child for testing to help us devise a suitable plan of work for him/her. There may also be occasions where children are taken in groups for social activities which may include language activities or games to help a number of children in a small group setting. There is no cause for alarm if your child is withdrawn for this reason as you will be contacted by a member of staff if there is any concern regarding your child.
Please do not hesitate to contact the class teacher or one of the Learning Support staff if you have any concerns or queries regarding your child.
Early identification of learning difficulties is very important so that, if necessary, a pupil can receive additional extra help as soon as possible. Informal assessments are continually made by class teachers. Teachers also test pupils in curricular areas on an ongoing basis throughout the school year. Senior infant pupils are assessed using the MIST (Middle Infant Screening Test) in the second term of senior infants.
Pupils are also assessed from 1st to 6th class on an annual basis in English and Mathematics using standarised Drumcondra Assessment Tests. This usually happens in the third term. The purpose of these tests is to identify pupils who are having difficulties with particular areas of the curriculum.
The NRIT assessment is done in First and Fourth Classes in the third term.