Monday 21 October 2019

Teachers praised for celebrating needs of pupils

Bunscoil Phádraig Naofa, Tuam, Co Galway

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A boys' primary school wins high praise in one of the new-style inspection reports on provision for pupils with special educational needs.

Inspectors describe the 247-pupil Bunscoil Phádraig Naofa, Tuam, Co Galway, as "an inclusive school that values and celebrates the diverse needs of it pupils".

The Department of Education is now conducting more focused checks on how well schools are catering for pupils with special needs, with a particular emphasis on their learning outcomes.

The updated inspection regime coincides with the roll-out of a new system for allocating resources to schools to cater for pupils with special needs.

Bunscoil Phádraig Naofa has pupils from second to sixth classes, and participates in the Department of Education's DEIS scheme for schools in disadvantaged communities.

As well as 10 mainstream classes, it has one special class for pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and two special classes for pupils with a mild general learning disability.

Inspectors say the school competently manages the resources to support pupils with special needs well, although they add that the support teachers' caseloads and timetables need to be reviewed. They describe the overall quality of teaching of pupils with special educational needs as good, with some very high standard teaching in some classrooms.

Inspectors had a group discussion with a sample of pupils with special educational needs and, according to the report, they all expressed high levels of satisfaction with life in the school and the progress they are making.

Inspectors were impressed with the way the school integrates children with special educational needs into mainstream classes, and the overall quality of learning was judged to be good.

Teachers were commended for their willingness to work collaboratively, and the report also praises the whole school's approach to planning.

Irish Independent

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