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Diversity and Inclusion Policy


St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit



Inclusion and Diversity Policy

January 2019


The Mission Statement of St Patrick’s Primary School is:

In St Patrick’s Primary School, we challenge, motivate, and inspire in a happy, safe and stimulating learning environment where all members of the school community are valued, grow in the Catholic faith, develop their self-esteem and achieve their full potential as a unique individual so that they can play a valuable role in society.

The Mission Statement of Magheradroll Nursery Unit is:

In Magheradroll Nursery, we develop every child personally, socially, physically, intellectually and spiritually in a happy, secure, caring and stimulating environment. We work in partnership with parents to promote self -confidence, self-esteem, independence and a love of learning in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment.




In Catholic Education the imperative to be inclusive has its origins in the Christian vision of human dignity. There is also a legal imperative to treat all people equally and this entitlement to equality in society, of which our schools are part, is enshrined within international and Northern Ireland law.

In St. Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit, we are obligated under Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to:

“respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within

their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.”

and to;

“take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of

discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.”

And under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 which also protects the human and equality rights of individuals.

“A public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity;

(a) between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;

(b)between men and women generally;

(c)between persons with a disability and persons without;

(d)between persons with dependents and persons without.

St. Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit, Ballynahinch aims to be inclusive educational settings. Inclusion is the process of increasing the participation of children and young people into their communities. We actively seek to remove the barriers to learning and participation that can hinder or exclude individual pupils, or groups of pupils. This means that equality of opportunity must be a reality for our children. We make this a reality through the attention we pay to the different groups of children within our school at any time:

• Girls and boys

• Minority ethnic and faith groups

• Children learning English as an additional language (EAL)

• Children with special educational needs (SEN)

  • Able, gifted and talented children;
  • Children with physical disabilities or long term medical conditions

• Children presenting with challenging behaviour

• Looked After Children or children adopted from care

• Travellers and asylum seekers

• Children who have recently changed schools

  • Children who are experiencing family break-up
  • Children who are at risk
  • Children in need of additional challenge

We aim to ensure that the individual needs of children are quickly identified and met in order that all children can access appropriate educational provision. The culture, practice, management and deployment of resources in our school should be designed to ensure all children’s needs are met.

This policy has been written with reference to the following guidance and documents:

  • Code of Practice 1998 (DENI)
  • Supplement to the Code of Practice 2005 (DENI)
  • Every School A Good School 2009 (DENI)
  • Resource File for Children with Special Educational Needs 2011 (DENI)
  • Good Practice Guidelines 2009 (Inter-Board)
  • Special Needs and Disability Act N.I. ( SEND NI 2016)


Children with Special Educational Needs


Special Educational Needs

Learning difficulty’ means that the child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children his or her age, and/or has a disability which hinders his or her use of educational facilities. ‘Special education provision’ means educational provision which is different from, or additional to, the provision made generally for children of comparable age.”  

                                                                 (Code of Practice 1998 paragraph: 1.4)


If a child needs different or additional educational provision to that generally provided for his/her peers then that educational provision is deemed ‘special educational provision’.


Children for whom English is an Additional Language

The term EAL is used when referring to pupils whose main language at home is a language other than English.

We Aim:

• To value the cultural, linguistic and educational experiences that pupils with EAL bring to school

• To implement school-wide strategies to ensure that EAL pupils are supported in accessing the curriculum

• To help EAL pupils to become confident and fluent in English in order to access the curriculum


Children with Disabilities

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) defines disability as when a person has a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’

St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit are bound by a general duty to have due regard to the following in relation to disability and other protected characteristics:

• eliminating discrimination

• advancing equality of opportunity

• fostering good relations across the community

We are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for disabled pupils, staff and all those receiving services from the school. We aim to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which people feel free to disclose their disability and to participate fully in school life. The achievement of disabled pupils and students will be monitored and we will use this data to raise standards and ensure inclusive teaching. We will make reasonable adjustments to make sure that the school environment is as accessible as possible.

All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that any children with disabilities are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to fully able bodied children. 



This policy reflects the values and philosophy of St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit in relation to Inclusion. It gives a framework to which all staff, teaching and non-teaching, and Governors, work.

It records the consensus of views at which the school has arrived in relation to children with Special Educational Needs, children for whom English is an Additional Language and other vulnerable individuals/groups. It should be considered in conjunction with:

SEN & Inclusion Policy

Discipline & Positive Behaviour Policy


We Aim:


• To offer children with special educational needs access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum

• To work together with SENCO in line with the SEN Code of Practice to ensure that children’s needs are met

• To work together with the outside agencies to ensure best practice when assessing needs and devising interventions

• To liaise with parents to ensure children’s needs are identified and met as early as possible

• To ensure interventions for each child are reviewed regularly to assess their impact, the child’s progress and the views of the child, the parents and teachers

• To regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for pupils at risk of underachievement


The management of SEN

St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit is committed to early identification of SEN and adopts a graduated response to meeting SEN in line with the Code of Practice 2011.

Please See Our SEN Policy

Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs

The role of the class teacher is crucial to the early identification of children with SEN. If it becomes apparent through classroom work and activities that a child is performing at a level below that of his/her peers, sufficient to cause concern, the class teacher will begin to gather information to help establish whether the child has a learning difficulty. The teacher will work closely with the SENCO and inform parents of any concerns. Teachers will make class observations, obtain results from standardised tests, and gain information from other teachers, classroom assistants etc. Once a learning difficulty is confirmed the child will be placed on the SEN register, as appropriate.

Teaching and learning strategies will be differentiated to meet the child’s needs. Where Education Plans are needed they should set clear, SMART, realistic targets which are time bound and indicate any provision needed. Initially children’s needs in Foundation at Stage 1 & 2 of the C.O.P. are met within the classroom supported by CA’s. However, at times children from Primary 1 to 7 may also access additional support outside the classroom for Literacy, Numeracy and Social, Emotional and Behavioural needs.

It is vitally important that children with SEN are identified as early as possible and that an awareness of their possible difficulties is clearly communicated between all the professionals involved with their development.” (Code of Practice 1998 paragraph 2.14)


Children with SEN should be identified as early as possible and assessed as quickly as is consistent with thoroughness’

(Paragraph 5.12 - page 44 - Supplementary Guide of the Code of Practice)


In St. Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit the following may be used to identify pupils’ needs:-

  • Information from Nursery Unit, other      pre-school setting or other transferring school
  • Baseline in P1
  • Parental information from Data      Collection Forms
  • Early Years Intervention Service
  • Information from parent/carer meetings
  • Teacher observation
  • Regularly monitoring children’s progress      in all areas
  • Through ‘Assessment for Learning’
  • School assessment (e.g. Class Tests)
  • Standardised tests : NRIT, PTE, PTM,      Suffolk Reading, Dyslexia Screener
  • SEBD tests: PASS
  • End of Key Stage Assessments
  • Psychological Reports
  • COP Stage 3 Reports
  • Statements of Special Educational Need
  • Medical Advice
  • Care Plans
  • IEP Reviews and Annual Reviews
  • Professional reports from external      agencies e.g. health visitors, therapists and/or other supporting      professionals.

It is our policy to strive for early identification of children with Additional Needs. Ongoing assessment of all children by all staff is an integral part of the school curriculum.

As a result of this, a teacher may express a concern about a particular child and this initiates the school’s Special Needs procedure.  In our school we value each child as a unique individual. We will strive to meet the needs of all our children, and seek to ensure that we meet all statutory requirements related to matters of inclusion.

In addition to the above, we also undertake regular whole-class screening, and regular, specific screening of children whose needs should be monitored.

Areas of concern may cover a wide variety of problems. (See Definition of SEN)

A parent, health or social service professional may also initiate the procedure.

Once a concern has been expressed, the child is placed in the school’s SEN register. This register is held centrally, recording children at each stage. Parents are informed and consulted at every stage of procedure.

Teaching and Learning

We aim to give all our children the opportunity to succeed and reach the highest level of personal achievement. We analyse the attainment of different groups of pupils to ensure that all pupils are achieving as much as they can. We also make ongoing assessments of each child’s progress.

Teachers use this information when planning our lessons. It enables us to take into account the abilities and backgrounds of all our children.  We provide individual Learning Plans for groups and some children with SEN, where required. 

Teachers are familiar with the equal opportunities legislation covering race, gender and disability.

Teachers and adults ensure that all children:

  • feel secure      and know that their contributions are valued;
  • appreciate      and value the differences they see in others;
  • take      responsibility for their own actions;
  • are taught in      groupings that allow them all to experience success;
  • use materials      that reflect a range of social and cultural backgrounds;
  • have a      curriculum experience that allows for a range of different learning      styles;
  • have      challenging targets that enable them to succeed;
  • participate      fully, regardless of disabilities or medical needs.
  • recognise that EAL pupils need more time to process answers
  • allow pupils to use their mother tongue to explore concepts
  • acknowledge that newly arrived young children may need time to absorb

English (there is a recognised ‘silent period’ when children understand more

English than they use – this will pass if their self-confidence is maintained)

  • All adults have high expectations and model expected responses where necessary

The Northern Ireland Curriculum is our starting point for planning a curriculum that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of children. We meet these needs through:

  • setting      suitable learning challenges;
  • responding to      children’s diverse learning needs;
  • overcoming      potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups      of pupils;
  • providing      other curricular opportunities outside the Northern Ireland to meet the      needs of individuals or groups of children.

Employing Teaching Assistants to support the needs of SEN children and children in larger class sizes with composite arrangements for teaching and learning.

We achieve educational inclusion by continually reviewing what we do, and by recognising our duty of care to all children and by asking ourselves these key questions:

  • do all our      children achieve their full potential?
  • are there      differences in the achievement of different groups of children?
  • what are we      doing for those children who we know are underachieving?
  • are our      actions effective?
  • are we      successful in promoting social and cultural harmony and preparing pupils      to live in a diverse society?


The Board of Governors:

• In cooperation with the Principal, determine the school’s general policy and approach to Inclusion, establish the appropriate staffing and funding arrangements and maintain a general oversight of the school’s work

• Report to parents annually on the school’s policy on SEN

The Principal:

• has responsibility for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the school’s work, including provision for children with SEN and EAL

• keeps the governing body fully informed and also works closely with the school’s SENCO

The SENCO: (working closely with the Principal and teachers):

• is involved in the strategic development of inclusive practice within the school and oversees the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN & Inclusion policy

• coordinates provision for children with SEN, working alongside class teachers to monitor tracking and assessment data to identify children who may need additional support

• advises on a graduated approach to providing SEN Support

• advises on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively

• liaises with parents of children with SEN

• liaises with early years providers, other schools, educational psychologists, behaviour support outreach workers, CAMHS and other health and social care professionals

• Acts as a key point of contact with external agencies

• liaises with potential next providers of education to ensure a young person and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned

• Works with the Principal and school governors so that the school meets its responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements

• ensures that the school keeps the records of all children with SEN up to date

• Contributes to in-service training of staff.

Class Teachers:

• are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, even where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff

• Work in cooperation with the SENCO to ensure early identification and intervention of children with SEN

• Work in cooperation with the SENCO, Classroom assistants and parents to provide, implement and review targets for pupils with SEN in their class

• plan and implement clearly differentiated work to ensure inclusion across them curriculum for all children

• ensure that all pupils have a voice and that they understand their contributions are valued

• Actively celebrate and build on pupils’ strengths and achievements

All teaching and non-teaching staff:

• are involved in the development of the school’s Inclusion and SEN policy and fully aware of the school’s procedures for identifying, assessing and making provision for all pupils


This policy will be reviewed in light of changes in legislation or practice following consultation with all staff members, parents and external agencies.   In addition, the policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.


Any amendments considered necessary will be forwarded to the Board of Governors for approval.