Mrs Shirley McVeigh
Psychology for Learning Centre (PLC), Quiet room, SEN office
Here at Assumption, we are committed to ensuring that all pupils have full access to the Curriculum, including pupils with special educational needs.
Support is provided both within the classroom setting and, if needed, in conjunction with external agencies.
Where pupils have special educational needs, the school liaises closely with the Education Authority and ensures that the needs of the particular pupils are identified and that provision is made for on-going support in their studies. Our SENCo works with other teaching staff, as well as classroom and general assistants, to create and maintain an environment that promotes and secures pupils’ wellbeing, effective learning and high standards of achievement.
Supportive working relationships with parents, and close involvement with pupils in all aspects of their learning, help us to deliver the best opportunities and prepare pupils for life after school.All departments provide additional support material for pupils with particular difficulties. This work is tailored for the individual pupils who attend our Psychology for Learning Centre (PLC). The school has staff members who are qualified in diagnostic testing, helping the SENCo evaluate how pupils are progressing during their academic career.
We also recognise the importance of protecting our good mental health. Pupils can participate in activities such as the Daily Mile, lunchtime tennis, Games Club, Just Dance, bingo and the increasingly popular sign language classes. These fun activities enable the girls to relax, enhance skills and develop strengths not always associated with academic subjects. Moreover, it fosters friendships with peers and pupils from other year groups.
We are also appreciative of the numerous outside agencies who share their expertise, whether helping our pupils directly through workshops and activities, or by equipping staff with additional expertise to support our girls. The Blues Programme, High Performance (HiP) resilience training and Mental Health day activities all help pupils condition their psychological wellbeing. In addition, Guide Dogs for the Blind provide training to augment our ability to support pupils with visual impairment, while we are proud to offer one-to-one and group dyslexia support to pupils following on from our training with the Belfast Dyslexia Centre.
Pupils with Special Educational Needs are supported pastorally as well as academically. Following education and training with the Autism Advisory and Intervention Service, we now run a weekly Hot Chocolate Club where girls can relax without unnecessary expectations, develop social confidence and advance their communication skills.
Our Year 8 pupils are supported in their transition through close relationships with the feeder primary schools. This is important for all pupils but especially so for our girls with Special Educational Needs.
Identification of need is of prime importance in our Junior School. Our SENCo and other trained staff can assess pupils in relation to a number of Special Educational Needs so extra support can be put in place to help our girls thrive. Any pupil who needs extra specific assistants can avail of support in Maths and English, and our Junior School pupils with dyslexia are offered one-to-one support. This recently introduced programme is proving invaluable in boosting girls’ confidence, self-esteem and self-management, as well as their reading ability. On occasions, younger pupils benefit from a mentoring programme with older pupils – partnerships that are beneficial for all involved.
Middle & Senior School
Middle and Senior school pupils can benefit from extra academic support in our Pupil Learning Centre (PLC) with teachers or classroom assistants, helping them address any individual issues they might have encountered in a particular subject. Often, just knowing that they can be supported emotionally and academically will assist our pupils cope with the demands and challenges of school life.