The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), with responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the SEN policy, is Mrs Jacqueline Bogues.  She is assisted in her duties by the newly-appointed Assistant SENCo, Mrs Sarah Hodge (Maths Department).

Time allocated for the SENCO’s duties is divided between responding to the academic and social/emotional needs of our SEN pupils; liaising with subject teachers of individual pupils; drawing up and reviewing Education Plans; maintaining the Special Needs Register; contacting parents; liaising with Outside Agencies; liaising with feeder Primary Schools; facilitating special exam arrangements; the management of classroom assistants; reviewing the statements of all Stage 5 pupils annually etc.
Working closely with Senior Management the SENCO has responsibility for:


1. Primary/Secondary Links


As part of her SENCO duties Mrs. Bogues acts as Primary/Secondary Links Teacher.  She visits the Primary Schools in January to invite P.7 pupils to our Open Night.  She then returns in June for an informal chat with P.7 teachers to gather information about all pupils and to early identify those pupils who may have SEN.  Because the Transfer Reports do not provide information about pupils who opt out of the Selection Procedure, our Primary links structure is very important.  Primary Seven pupils also visit the school in June, when they do a battery of Cognitive Ability Tests (CATS) which form the basis of their class placements.


2. Allocation of Year 8 pupils to appropriate classes


Year 8 classes are organised according to:

(i) Results of Transfer Test;

(ii) Results of CAT’s

(iii) Informal Report from P.7 Teachers.

3. Organisation of Screening and Diagnostic Tests


Standardised norm-referenced Screening Tests are carried out in September. These are used to identify pupils with reading and/or Mathematics problems. 

Pupils’ levels in English and Mathematics at Key Stage 2 (as well as Primary School interview) are also used to help identify pupils who may be in need of special help.

Additional Reading and Spelling diagnostic tests are carried out with pupils for whom screening test results give cause for concern and their progress is closely monitored.


4. Dissemination of Information and Guidance regarding SEN pupils


A meeting of all new staff is held in early September to:

(i)  Introduce the SENCo to new teachers;

(ii) Outline the school’s SEN Policy;

(iii)  Highlight particular pupils with specific difficulties;

(iv) Advise on appropriate teaching strategies to accommodate the different learning styles of pupils with particular aspects of SEN eg. SpLD, ASD, ADHD, EBD etc.

(v) Discuss how classroom assistants may be most effectively used.


5. Managing the SEN Resister


The SEN Register is drawn up and maintained by the SENCo. Subject teachers are furnished with a copy of the Register as soon as possible in the first term.

An electronic version is put onto, where it is available to all teaching staff.


6. Formation and Implementation of Education Plans


Education Plans are drawn up for all pupils at Stages 2 – 5 (by November). This is done in conjunction with the pupils’ English and Maths teachers (or Year Heads, in the case of a Behaviour Plan). Once drawn up, copies are circulated to the pupil’s subject teachers and their parents. All subject teachers are consulted and invited to feedback to the review procedure mid-year.


7. Co-ordination of Additional Support Arrangements


At Stages 2 – 5, many outside agencies are involved with individual pupils. These include:


Special Education Officers  - Mr. Danny Morgan (SEELB)


Board Advisers 


Mrs. Brenda Montgomery (Special Education Adviser, SEELB) and Mr.Alan Nixon (ICT Advisor, SEELB)


Educational Psychologists


Mr. Philip McKeever (SEELB) and Mrs. Kathleen Smyth (SEELB). Pupils at Stages 3 and 4 whose needs, it is felt, cannot be catered for in Mainstream without additional support, are assessed by the educational psychologists. They also become involved in the Annual Reviews and /or 14+ reviews of particular pupils (as requested by the school or parents).

Outreach Support from Ardmore Special School for pupils with EBD/SEBD – A teacher from Ardmore School visits St. Malachy’s fortnightly to co-ordinate behaviour modification programmes and provide emotional support or Anger Management programmes for pupils who have ongoing difficulty dealing with the demands of school life. This intervention is based on the targets set out on the pupil’s Education Plan.

Additional support for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is provided by Mrs. Kate Dougherty (SEELB) who attends one day per month. Support involves 1:1 and group work activities, with an emphasis on Social Skills Training.

Support for pupils with hearing and visual impairments is provided by the SEELB’s Service for the Sensory Impaired. Mrs. Bogues liaises with Mrs. Olive McManus (Head of Service) , Ms. Christine Dickson (Visual Impairment Support) and Mr. Gerry Collins (Hearing Impaired Service).


Bereavement Support


Pupils who require bereavement counselling may be referred to Mrs. Emer Smyth (Educational Psychologist, SEELB) who provides 1:1 counselling support.

Co-ordination of special arrangements for exams- In conjunction with the Examinations Officer,the SENCo applies to the various examining boards for special arrangements for pupils with SEN (from Years 10 – 14), (eg. Extra Time, a Reader, Separate Venue, Prompter, Amenuensis, Modified Papers etc.) Classroom Assistants are used to help facilitate these arrangements.

The school’s Clinical Medical Officer is Dr. Eleanor Brown and she is in regular contact with the school. Her remit includes annual assessments of pupils with Statements (for medical needs); visiting parents whose children have been referred for behavioural or emotional difficulties and making onward referrals to specialist health professionals. Referrals for Home Tuition also are made via Dr. Brown.


Education Welfare Officer


Ms. Anne-Marie Bagnell (SEELB) is based in the school. Her role is to check on attendance and, in conjunction with the school, arrange support for pupils with emotional difficulties which may be impacting on their attendance and performance at school.


Careers Guidance


We have strong links through the Careers Department to ensure an easy transition for all our pupils (especially pupils with SEN) after they leave us. All Statemented pupils have access to careers guidance from a specialist SEN Careers Officer from the Department for Education and Learning (Mrs. Rosemary Dryden).


Links with Other Schools


St. Malachy’s High School has an invaluable relationship with our feeder primary schools, which means that our interest in the pupils begins even before they come to us. Mrs. Bogues (SENCo / Primary Schools Links Teacher) visits the schools in January to invite pupils to our Open Night. This is followed up in June by a visit to each of the schools. On this visit, Mrs. Bogues speaks to each of the P7 teachers about the individual pupils who will be transferring to St. Malachy’s the following September.

An informal network system among local Principals and SENCOs ensures easy access to information about all pupils transferring to and from St. Malachy’s.