New Template for Student Support and Additional Care Needs Planning

In 2022 the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) published a Toolkit on the Deployment of SNA Resources (pictured).

The toolkit is a resource to support the implementation of the frontloading allocation model for SNA supports which was due to be introduced in the 2020/2021 school year but which has been repeatedly deferred, with schools retaining their allocations under the previous model (see here for the 2023/2024 school year circular). As things currently stand, in practical terms some aspects of the model are in place (schools no long apply for SNA access for individual children, it is up to the school to decide which children get SNA support and how much), while others that are desperately needed (promised support from therapists such as SLTs and OTs) are not. So it seems that while officially the new frontloading model has been deferred, schools are having to implement some aspects of it. 

The toolkit contains various resources for schools, including a new version of the Student Support File which incorporates planning for meeting a child’s learning and additional care needs into the one document.

Prior to this, the Student Support Plan was used for planning for the child’s learning needs only, and a separate Personal Pupil Plan was created to plan for the student’s care needs. The new approach includes the alignment of additional care needs with the Continuum of Support framework.

The new suggested template can be used to plan for students who require both learning (from the class or SET teacher) and care needs support (from the SNA). For children who require support for their learning needs only, the normal Student Support Plan template can be used.

A blank PDF version of the new Student Support File – Incorporating Additional Care Support Targets, is available in the SNA Toolkit.

If you would find it helpful to see a completed example, I have an Integrated Student Support and Care Needs Plan for a fictional student available here.

For those who would like more information on the roll out of the SNA Frontloading model, the NCSE have a seminar for SETs and school leaders called “Supporting the Deployment of SNAs (Primary)” which you can sign up for on the Teacher Professional Learning section of their website.

The NCSE also gave a presentation to the Irish Learning Support Association’s 2023 Spring Conference, and the slides from the presentation, as well as the Toolkit can be downloaded from their website.

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