Teachers of Students with AEN

Slides from Inspectorate Presentation 10.04.2024

Inspectorate Leading inclusive provision for students in Post-Primary Schools April 2024 1




  1. Continuum of Support
  2. Catalogue of Resources
  3. Supporting Students with AEN in Mainstream Schools
  4. Circular 008/2019 – Allocation of Teachers
  5. Circular 0021/2022 – Allocation of Teachers
  6. Circular 001/2023 – Advice on the use of Assessment Instruments
  7. Sample Calendar

Report from Meeting of Teachers of Students with AEN on 13th September 2023


  • Suggestions for items to include on the agenda of future meetings


  1. What are the inspectorate looking for in an inspection?
  2. What is the roll of a SENCO
  3. AEN Policy Development
  4. Practical strategies for working with students with AEN
  5. I’m brand new to the role, so I would appreciate any help and advice that anyone would have to offer.
  6. Sharing of what works well in schools. Difficulties arising and solutions. Work load of SENCO in schools
  7. Share expertise in what’s working well
  8. AEN/Inclusion Policy
  9. Suggestions re facilitator, if it was rotated with teachers expertise, eg I’m at L2LPs and L1LP and special classes a while but would have less experience on EAL/dyslexia
  10. Sharing of relevant information and support for one another with the increasing workload and complexities of the situation
  11. Managing large school AEN
  12. Appropriate deployment of SNAs to match needs of students.
  13. Getting the paperwork right
  14. Nurture Rooms in Secondary Schools
  15. Assistive Technology Applications



  • Areas causing frustration
  1. Excessive paperwork – what is inspector looking for? SMART targets when trying to get pupils through exams.
  2. Assistive tech applications – refusals due to ‘wrong words’ used in application.
  3. Frustration with getting the right formula of words to maximise granting of resources. Language in applications.
  4. RACE, DARE excessive time spent on the applications. Needs streamlining.
  5. The demands on AEN for Irish exemptions


  • Suggestions


  1. Look at what each participant brings by way of experience and share this with the group. For example,


  • Use of Nurture Room in Drogheda
  • EBD Facility in Westland Row
  • Recent AEN inspection in the school – key learning
  • L2LPs in the mainstream classroom


  • Suggested Speakers
  1. Member of the inspectorate
  2. Deirdre Madden in UCC-brilliant in assistive technology
  3. Sinead Greene – she recommended a floating timetable for SET. Where the timetable changes every few weeks. The idea is you visit a class that has AEN students but you are also helping students who do not fall into AEN and bringing them on and. Then after a few weeks you review evaluate and move on. She did not want to see any 1-1 on the timetable


  • Other

AEN Inspections – areas addressed


  • Timetable to show appropriate allocation of time,
  • Profile of students, list of students on register and the tiers
  • Student support files,
  • Consent from parents, meeting with parents, make sure conversations are signed Consent for reduced timetable. Consent for students receiving extra help in class. Consent for involvement in programmes
  • Consent from students. Examples of student voice – do students know why they’re doing PLUs and are the children comfortable with what they’re doing?
  • Hours each child is getting
  • Team teaching as opposed to small groups, be able to provide a rationale for what you’re doing, recorded in minutes. Have written evidence to justify your decision.
  • Data-gathering exercise
  • Team teaching, Irish-exempt students, support files on shared drive and inspector looked at specific files – children that inspector met in classes.
  • What do you do with students that have Irish exemption but do not need resource? Specific programme for them – not just with the same resource teacher all the time.
  • EAL was part of AEN inspections.


Password for your network group is   AENnet23




Meeting 27th September 2022

  1. PowerPoint used at meeting
  2. Sample Calendar

Notes from Meeting


  1. Granting exemptions from Irish has increased the workload of AEN teachers
  2. Level 1 and Level 2 Learning Programmes are causing difficulties – difficult to establish criteria for student access to these programmes
  3. It’s very difficult to set meaningful targets for students and determine success criteria for them. Whose job is it to set these targets – the subject teacher or members of the AEN department?
  4. Would like to know more about AEN inspections and how to organise the department to meet inspection expectations
  5. Different schools have different experiences of Team Teaching, some very good while others feel it’s not as effective as it could be
  6. Lack of time is a problem – testing and monitoring are very time-consuming
  7. School refusal and mental health issues are increasing. NEPS psychologist, Mary Everard, gave a very interesting presentation on this at ILSA conference.
  8. If a parent asks the HSE for a report on his/her child, the matter is referred to the NCSE and this results in the school having to compile the report, within 10 days. This is a lot of work
  9. How do coordinators balance their admin/teaching time?
  10. Important not to lose hope and to maintain your own wellbeing

Areas that members would like to address at future meetings

  1. Size of the core team in schools and how the team operates
  2. Team teaching – key elements of effective practice
  3. Annual calendar (see sample above)
  4. How time is organised – time to meet SNAs, parents, team members
  5. GDPR compliance and confidentiality
  6. Lack of resources and supports for Gaelscoileanna/Gaelcholáistí
  7. Target setting, monitoring and measuring progress effectively – how it’s done and who does it
  8. The role of the AEN Coordinator