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Learning Support

Special Educational Needs

The Special Educational Needs Department aims to provide an effective and comprehensive support service that will enable students with difficulties to achieve their full potential in The King’s Hospital School.

The Special Education team provides assistance to pupils, through early identification, specialist tuition and in-class support, while liaising closely with parents, subject teachers, house staff and external professionals.

The Special Education Team

  • Yvonne Mahady -Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (S.E.N.C.O.) MSc Strategic Business Management ,H.Dip.SEN, H.dip.Ed, Bachelor of Business  
  • Yvonne Duggan B.Comm., B.Sc., H.Dip.Ed., P.G.Dip.SEN; Dip.Ed.Lead., Accredited Counsellor and Supervisor with I.A.C.P.
  • Emma Regan  B.A. (Mod).,  P.G.D.E; H.Dip.Sc.
  • Andrew Pomeroy B.A., B.A.I (Hons)., H.Dip.Ed; MSc (Hons)  
  • Lizzie Peoples B.A., M.A., H.Dip.Ed.
  • Grace Bill B.A. (Hons)., P.G.C.E.
  • Rebecca Campion M.A., P.G.C.E., PhD.
  • Rebecca Gunn B.Sc (Hons)., P.G.D.E.
  • Pamela Smithwick BA., MA., H.Dip.Ed.
  • Elisabeth Peoples BA, MA (UCD), HDipEd (TCD)

Special Needs Assistants

  • Marion Duffy
  • Mick McKinnon

Who is eligible for supports?

Students supported by the Special Education Team include individuals who have been identified by the school as requiring extra support or who have been diagnosed by a  psychologist or healthcare professional as having a specific learning difficulty. This may include, for example, dyslexia, developmental co-ordination disorder (dyspraxia), attention deficit disorder (ADD /ADHD), speech and language difficulty, mild general learning difficulty or those whose learning has been affected by a physical difficulty. Students who are struggling with the demands of the curriculum may also be eligible for support.

All applications for a place at The King's Hospital School are treated according to our Admissions Policy but we must be made aware in advance if your child has a Special Education Need, so that our SEN Department can ensure that we can meet your child's needs. This is especially important for the assessment of compatibility for boarding. 

How are support classes organised?

In The King’s Hospital School, pupils with a range of learning difficulties are integrated in regular mixed-ability classes and are either withdrawn for extra tuition or provided with in-class support by our Special Education Team. If the student has an Irish or foreign language exemption, extra support classes are usually offered during these class times. Pupils who take a full range of subjects are generally seen on a rotational basis.

Special education teachers take students individually or in small groups to develop skills in literacy, numeracy and to offer subject-specific support; to develop social skills, organisational skills and/or study skills and in some cases to help with assistive technology or provide emotional support.  

A small number of students may also be eligible for support from a special needs assistant. The level of support that is required from the Special Education Team is decided on an individual basis.

How do I apply for support?

If a student in primary school has been receiving assistance from a special education teacher or a special needs assistant, it is important that you notify our Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) so that we can ensure continuity of support when the student moves to secondary school.

To make proper provision for pupils with special educational needs, it is essential that relevant reports and documentation are forwarded to the SENCO with the application form. The deadline for applying for SNA support is usually early March in the year of entry.

The SENCO is happy to discuss the needs of individual students and is available for consultation by appointment.

Identifying difficulties

All students complete Standardised Assessment Tests prior to entry, which assess literacy and numeracy competency. These results, together with information obtained from parents, feeder primary schools and/or mainstream teachers, assist us in identifying students with special educational needs. Other screening or diagnostic tests may be carried out if it is considered appropriate. An educational psychological assessment or referral to an external professional may be recommended.

Once the relevant information has been collated, parents consulted and the pupil’s strengths and needs identified, a student support plan is put in place.

Regular reviews of each student’s progress are undertaken and parents are kept informed. The extent and duration of support is determined by each individual’s needs.

State exams

The Department of Education and Skills may grant ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ or special arrangements in State examinations to students with special educational needs.

Each application is assessed on an individual basis. The SENCO is responsible for the submission of these applications to the State Exam Commission on behalf of parents/guardians.

A recent educational psychological assessment is no longer necessary for these applications, however, some supporting documentation from relevant professionals may be required.

Special arrangements can include:

  • Use of a separate centre
  • Use of computer
  • Use of tape recorder or scribe
  • A spelling/grammar/ punctuation waiver in language subjects
  • Provision of a reader

Note: If a student avails of some of these accommodations, this will be indicated on the examination certificate. An asterisk will appear next to the subject and a supplementary report will accompany it.

To prepare students for reasonable accommodation in State examinations, the Special Education Team offers eligible students the opportunity to practise this accommodation in school examinations.

What is DARE?

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college/university admission scheme, which offers places at reduced points to students with disabilities. The scheme recognises that these students have had to overcome more obstacles than most in order to get to thrid level.

Sixth-form students with difficulties may apply for DARE once they have their CAO number (usually in January in the year of entry to third level). The Special Education Team assists these students in the application process.

Updated assessments may be necessary in order to be eligible. Further information and guidelines regarding the application process is available on the DARE website (

In conclusion

The Special Educational Needs Department is committed to providing effective learning support provision which will promote, enhance and further develop the acquired skills and confidence of students with Special Educational Needs. We strive towards the full inclusion of pupils with difficulties in every aspect of school life.

Useful websites


Useful websites

Special Education Support Service (

Dyspraxia Association of Ireland (

Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (

Dyslexia Association of Ireland (

The Asperger's Syndrome Association:  'Aspire'  (

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Support Association: HADD (

Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (Tel: 01-8780215)

Irish Association for Gifted Children (

Irish Centre for Talented Youth (CTYI) (

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