ENROLMENT POLICY FOR CLASS FOR CHILDREN WITH Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – September 2020

Introduction

This policy is set out in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act, 1998. The Board of Management trusts that by so doing, parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters. Furthermore, the Board of Management and the Principal will be happy to clarify any further matters arising from the policy.

Lucan East ETNS is a national school which operates under the patronage of Educate Together. We are a mainstream co-educational national school with 2 classes for children with ASD. Educate Together schools are national schools that teach the national Primary Curriculum and are open to all, irrespective of social, cultural or religious background. Teachers are fully qualified, as in all National Schools.

Educate Together schools have four underlying principles: 

  • Equality based – children of all denominations and none are equally welcome into our schools.
  • Co-educational – Educate Together schools are open to girls and boys and gender stereotyping is addressed and challenged.
  • Child-centred – this applies not only to teaching and learning within the classroom but to all decisions at staff and management level, which must have the well-being of the children at their heart.
  • Democratically-run – parents are viewed as a positive resource for the school. Parental involvement is welcomed and encouraged, where appropriate. The professional role of the teacher is validated at all times.

Context of Lucan East ETNS and our class for children with ASD

The decision to provide a special class for children with a definite diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Lucan East Educate Together National School was taken by the Board of Management of the school in conjunction with the Principal and Staff in October 2012.

The decision was taken with a view to provide an education in a mainstream setting for children who have ASD, who fulfil the enrolment criteria and for whom a place may be made available.

The decision to provide a class for children with ASD in our school was taken primarily to cater for children resident in Lucan Co. Dublin (“the Catchment Area”). Students in the class for children with ASD will be integrated with mainstream school activities in our school where appropriate.

The Board of Management notes that it is open to any primary school to set up such a class and therefore does not see itself as providing a service for the entire Area.

Our Mission

We aim to offer a positive meaningful educational experience, which allows the child to develop to his/her full learning potential in an environment that offers clarity, predictability and calm.
After a period of time observing, assessing and interacting with the child, an Individual Education Plan (IEP)/Student Support File (SSP) will be developed in consultation with parents and relevant professionals. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will highlight priority-learning needs. These needs will be targeted through the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Our Aim

Our class for children with ASD aims to offer an autism specific learning environment within a mainstream co-educational national school. This setting facilitates optimum inclusion as part of the school community with access to mainstream activities as appropriate.

Criteria for Enrolment in the class for children with ASD

Subject to sufficient places being made available in the class for children with ASD, the criteria for enrolment to the class for children with ASD, incorporating the Dept. of Education and H.S.E. policies are as follows:

1. An Enrolment Application Form provided by the school should be fully completed by the parents/guardians on behalf of the child;

2. This Enrolment Application Form should be accompanied by an original birth certificate and all other Supporting Documentation as referred to in the section “Procedure for Enrolment”;


3.  A diagnosis from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a member of a Multi-Disciplinary team that has assessed and classified the child as having autism or autistic spectrum disorder according to DSM-V or ICD 10 criteria or equivalent and a recommendation for a placement in a special class within a mainstream school. Please note all reports in operation on a child should be provided to the school for assessment by the Admissions Team. The withholding of reports from the school Admissions Team may invalidate an Enrolment Application at any time.


4. The child must have a primary diagnosis of Autism / Autistic Spectrum Disorder without significant intellectual impairment made using the DSM-V or ICD 10 by the psychologist or a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team.  If the child also presents with a general learning disability, it must fall within the mild range (this diagnosis must also be made using a professionally recognised clinical and psychological assessment procedure.)


5. There must be a recommendation by a psychologist/psychiatrist in the report that a special class placement in a mainstream school is both necessary and suitable for the child;

6. The child must be aged between 4-12 years of age. All children must be 4yrs of age on or before the 1st September 2020;

7. The parents of the child must accept and agree to the school’s Code of Behaviour and the terms of this policy;

8. An Acceptance Form as issued by the school must be returned to the school within the required time period;

Please note that fulfilling the enrolment criteria does not necessarily ensure enrolment if sufficient places are not available and/or sufficient classroom space is not available.

Support by Outside Agencies

Parents please note that a guarantee of support by outside agencies such as the H.S.E. cannot be provided.  Children who require speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, etc., will be dependent on the local H.S.E. services or Mater Child Guidance Clinic. The school does not have the resources to follow up on these services and it is up to the parents/guardians to ensure that all possible services are being availed of.

Admissions Team

Each application will be considered by the Admissions Team. The team will include the School Principal, the Senior Management Team and/or the Special Education coordinator. The Admissions Team will be advised by the NEPS psychologist. A recommendation will be made by the Admissions Team in relation to each application to the Board of Management of the school. Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management.


Application Procedure for Enrolment

Enrolment Applications for the 2020/2021 school year will be accepted from the 11th February 2020. The closing date for the submission of enrolment applications is the 3rd March 2020. All applications received on or before this date will be acknowledged within 21 days of the closing date for the submission of applications. 

Requests for application forms and queries regarding supporting documentation should be made to:

School Secretary,

Lucan East ETNS,

Kishogue Cross,

Off Griffeen Avenue,

Lucan,Co. Dublin.

Telephone: (01) 6212690

Receipt of acknowledgement of an enrolment application by the school does not constitute an offer of a place nor does it guarantee a place in the school. It is simply the recording of an application for admission to our school. Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management in accordance with our enrolment policy.

The Enrolment Application must be accompanied by all of the following supporting documentation (“Supporting Documentation”) supplied by parents:

  1. An original Birth Certificate (together with a photocopy)
  • Two of the following original documents, as proof of address within the catchment area (these must be dated within three months of application):
  1. ESB Bill
  2. Gas Bill
  3. Landline Telephone Bill
  4. NTL Bill
  • A diagnosis from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a member of a Multi-Disciplinary team that has assessed and classified the child as having autism or autistic spectrum disorder according to DSM-V or ICD 10 criteria or equivalent and a recommendation for a placement in a special class within a mainstream school.

NB If the school does not receive this documentation with the Enrolment Application form, the application will not be processed or considered by the school. It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) to ensure that all supporting documentation is correct and is received by the school.

Where the number of children who apply is greater than the number of places available in the ASD classes:

In the event that the number of children that apply for a place is greater than the number of places such places will be filled on review of Enrolment Applications received in the following order of priority:

A: Siblings of students currently attending Lucan East Educate Together National School

then

B: Children attending member schools of the Lucan Common Enrolment System (LCES)

then

C: Children living within the area bounded by the following four roads; N4, R113 R120,  R134

then

D: Children who reside in the Lucan Area

then

E: All other children 

The school has limited number of places and must prioritise its available places for those students who would most benefit from them. In the event of the number of children in each category exceeding the number of places available, the admissions committee will rate each application and make recommendations to the board in respect of each such application.

Assessment Criteria

  • The extent to which a child would benefit from a place in the unit. This will depend on the child’s primary needs, age, educational history and will take into account any other needs that the child will have, for example ADHD, emotional and behavioural difficulties, physical and sensory difficulties and medical conditions (rated out of 20).
  • The availability of expertise in the school to deal with any other needs the child may have (rated out of 20).
  • Suitability of the destination class – the destination class must be suitable for the child in light of the child’s age, cognitive and adaptive abilities and any other special educational needs of relevance (rated out of 20).
  • Chronological Age with the youngest applicant receiving the highest rating (rated out of 20)  

The Board of Management will rank each application in accordance with their marks from the Assessment Criteria above and applicants will be offered any available places based on their rankings on these criteria.

In the event that two or more children who are candidates for the same place have the same mark, the board will first review the markings again for each such child. If the respective markings remain the same after this review, then the children’s names will be picked at random by an independent person (who is not on the board of connected with any person applying for a place in the school) and the first such name picked will be offered a place. 

All unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a waiting list until the 30th September 2020, in accordance with the above criteria for places that may become available.

Unsuccessful applicants will be informed in writing by post of their place on the waiting list.  All unsuccessful applicants have a right of appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 within 42 days from the date of the decision by the Board of Management.

Return of Forms of Acceptance

Letters of offer for places in the class for children with ASD will be sent within 2 calendar months of the final closing date for applications. The letters of offer include Acceptance Forms which must be returned within two weeks of the letter of offer being issued by the school.  All acceptance forms must be accompanied by a signed acceptance of the School Code of Behaviour in accordance with Section 24(4) of the Education Welfare Act 2000. If the school does not receive the acceptance form within the two week period, the place will be offered to the next child on the waiting list for that school year.

Late Applications

Applications for places in the ASD class made after 3rd March 2020 will not be considered.

Post Acceptance

Once a parent/guardian has made an application to the school for a place in the class for children with ASD on behalf of a child, the Principal will undertake to communicate to the parent/guardian the decision of the Board of Management within two calendar months of the application.  The decision should be communicated to the parents in writing.

1. The parents of a child being offered a place in the class for children with ASD will be invited to visit the school to meet with a member of the Special Ed. Team and the Principal of the School. Any information requested by the parents will be provided at this meeting

2. The parents may be requested by the school to consent to a visit by the staff to a child’s pre-school/ school/home setting to observe the child.

3. The parents / guardians will be invited on another occasion to come with their child to the class to meet with staff and see the classroom.

4. After placement in the class a relevant Individual Education Plan will be provided for the child. This plan will have an input from all parties involved with the education of the child and will be supported by a psychologist from the N.E.P.S. (National Education Psychology Service) team.

5. The S.E.N.O. (Special Education Needs Officer) will also be made aware of the plan.

6. The plan will be updated on a regular basis by staff.


7. A child may be phased in gradually to the special class through a mutually agreed process between the school and the parents of the child. It is important that every child gets the best possible start in the class. In order to achieve this, the duration of the child’s day may vary depending on their needs.

8. Each child in the class for children with ASD will be assigned to an age appropriate mainstream class for integration purposes.

Monitoring and Review

The school reserves the right to review the child’s progress from time to time, during or after each year to determine whether this is indeed an appropriate school placement for the child.

Behaviour

It is accepted that children with special educational needs may display difficult, defiant or oppositional behaviours. All efforts will be made by the school to manage such behaviour using various strategies and through the implementation of the child’s Individual Education Plan. All pupils including special needs pupils and non special needs pupils are subject to the School Code of Behaviour and Health & Safety Statement.  Where a child’s behaviour impacts in a negative way on the other children in the ASD class or another mainstream class to the extent that their constitutional right to an education is being interfered with as judged by the Board of Management of the School, the school reserves the right to advise parents that a more suitable setting should be found for their child.

Refusal to Enrol and/or a Decision to Exclude

The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment/admission to any student where either –

  1. The student has special needs such that even with additional resources available from the Department of Education & Skills and the Department of Health, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the student with an appropriate education.
  2. The school endeavours to support each child on an individual basis and ensure that it is an appropriate school placement for the child. However, if it is the opinion of the Board of Management that the student poses an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of other students, to school staff or to school property, a decision may be made not to enrol the child and/or to exclude the child from the school.

    This policy is subject to annual review by the Board of Management