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Special Education, Stages of Code of Practice


A five-staged approach is used in identifying and dealing with a child's special needs. Stages 1 and 2 are carried out by the child's school and parents should be kept informed of what is happening. At stage 3 the school may request outside help, e.g. from an educational psychologist. Statutory assessment is the focus of stage 4. This is where the involvement of the Special Education Section begins. The different stages are outlined below.




School Based Stages


Stage 1


In school, the class teacher(s) notes any concerns about a child's learning and takes appropriate action in consultation with the child's parents. Throughout the assessment process parents have an important part to play. The special needs co-ordinator and principal should be informed or a teachers' concerns.


Stage 2


If action taken at stage I does not remedy the situation, the teacher in the school with responsibility for (SENCO) special needs becomes involved. A programme should be drawn up for the child and the child's progress monitored regularly. The school moves on to stage 3 if the problem persists.


Stage 3


Specialist help or advice from outside the school is requested e.g. educational psychologist and the programme amended. Following further consultations, parents and the professionals involved may ask the Board to make a statutory assessment.

Board Based Stages


Stage 4


Statutory assessment is the focus of stage 4. The Board, in co-operation with the child's school, parents and any other appropriate agencies will decide if this is necessary, and if so will conduct the assessment. Statutory assessment will not always lead to a statement.

The Board will request written advice on the child from the:


  • school
  • medical officer
  • educational psychologist
  • and any other relevant agency


Parents are also invited to make a submission. Following the receipt of all the information the Board must decide whether to draw up a statement.


Stage 5


The issuing of a statement involves the Board either in making additional resources available to a mainstream school or indicating that a change of placement may be necessary for the child


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