Learning Support in St Gabriel’s

In St Gabriel’s we have a team of Special Education Teachers(SETs) who offer in-class and out of class support to children in Maths, English and Social Skills. In Learning Support we offer Maths Recovery, Reading Recovery, Social Skills Programs, Language Programs and Curriculum Shadowing. If you are concerned about your child’s learning talk to their class teacher as soon as possible.

  What is the aim of Learning Support?

The aim of all Learning Support in St Gabriel’s is to optimise the teaching and learning process in order to enable all pupils with special educational needs to experience success at school and to achieve adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy before leaving primary school. It may also help children improve their social skills.

The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in his/her classroom, including those selected for supplementary/resource teaching. The class teacher will endeavour to create an environment in which learning difficulties can be alleviated by grouping pupils for instruction, providing strategies for reading and problem-solving, adapting learning materials for pupils and liaising closely with their parents. If a pupil is still experiencing difficulty, depending on resources,  the pupil may be selected for supplementary teaching/learning support. The class teacher will help to develop the learning targets in the pupil’s Individual Educational Programme (IEP) and to help the planning and implementation of activities to attain those targets. Where supplementary teaching cannot be provided for a pupil, or is being discontinued, the class teacher will continue to develop and implement a support programme that meets the pupils changing needs within the classroom, in consultation with the SEN teacher.

What does Learning Support offer?

In Learning Support an Individual or Group Educational programme called an IEP is then designed around the needs of the child or group. These needs are decided with discussions with the class teacher /parents/previous Learning Support teachers/ Principal and Learning Support Coordinator.

The Role of Parents

Parents have a very important role in Learning Support. It is with their guidance that we can develop the best possible Individual Educational Profile for each child. For this reason Learning Support Teachers often request meetings with the parents and always welcome their input into the I.E.P.

 Strategies that form an I.E.P.

  • Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery (RR) is an early intervention, designed to provide children who have particular difficulties in reading and writing after their first year in primary school, a period of intensive, individual teaching. The intervention is not solely concerned with improving the reading and writing skills of the lowest achieving children in the age band in the mainstream class (around age six) but also helps them to develop more effective literacy strategies so that they will be able to continue to work at age appropriate levels and to progress satisfactorily in their own school.

  • Maths Recovery

Maths Recovery is a programme of intensive, individualised, group or class-based teaching which focuses on developing a facility with number words and number word sequences, the ability to recognise, identify and write numerals, emerging strategies for adding and subtracting, emerging knowledge of the tens and ones aspect of the numeration system, and emerging methods of notation in arithmetic.

  • Curriculum Shadowing

This can consist of preparing for or revising what the children are learning in class in a small group or individualised basis in an environment where there are less distractions. The curriculum may also be amended in line with the ability of the child or the group. This will be discussed and planned with the class teacher and/ or parents

  • Social skills Programmes

We also offer programmes around assisting children with developing social skills and helping them develop the skills they need to interact with their peers in the greater community. Such skills may be friendship programmes, developing rules and routines programmes, building teamwork skills, developing self confidence.


Within Learning Support continuous assessment will occur and I.E.Ps will be amended with the developing needs of the pupil. If children are still experiencing a lot of difficulty within Learning Support, the possibility of assessment by an Educational Psychologist, a Speech and Language Therapist or a Child Psychiatrist may be discussed with parents.

The National Educational Psychological services (NEPs) provides limited support. A psychologist assigned in part to our school works with teachers, parents and children in identifying educational needs. Where an individual assessment is required, it will only be carried out with the written consent of the parents or guardians. Psychologists provide oral and written feedback to both parents/guardians and teachers. This feedback helps form the I.E.P.

A Child Psychiatrist can be accessed within the local community services to assess a child’s social skills, and how they interact with others. They meet with parents and also give both oral and written feedback to parents/ guardians/teachers. Recommendations will form part of the I.E.P

A Speech and Language Therapist assess a child’s speech and language needs before developing individual treatment programs to enable each child to improve as much as possible in the areas of speech/ language. Treatment plans often involve other people with whom the child has a close relationship, e.g. family, carers or teachers to assist in implementing the program. Currently we are part of a local Family-Base project which provides speech & language therapy in our school.


If you wish to read more about Learning Support, see our school policy on SEN for further information


If you as a parent are concerned about your child’s learning or social skills, please contact the school to arrange a meeting.

Learning Support Coordinator

Suzanne Smyth

01 6265958