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St John the Baptist’s College, Portadown

Learning Support Centre


Departmental Staff:

Mr M. Mc Conville - Class Teacher


To cater for pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs within the Portadown and Craigavon catchment areas.

To enable pupils to follow the Ireland Curriculum at a level appropriate to their individual needs and abilities.

To provide as much individualised teaching as possible through the support of the classroom assistant assigned to each class.

To encourage a positive working environment and develop strong teacher/pupil relationships.

To help prepare pupils for adult and working life.


The Learning Support Centre delivers the National Curriculum to students with moderate learning difficulties and who hold a statement of Special Educational Needs. Students share the resources, physical and human, that the school has to offer and can integrate with their peers in mainstream, both socially and academically. There is a holistic approach to the education of each child which offers opportunities to achieve full potential in a caring, secure happy and nurturing environment

The two classes in the LSC are centrally located on the bottom corridor of the school.  Each class has one classroom assistant assigned to it and wheelchair access is available to all parts of the school. Pupils are taught English, Maths, RE, LW and Art by the LSC teachers.  Science, IT, HE, PE, TD, Music, Horticulture, Geography and History are taught by main school teachers and the classroom assistant supports all subjects.

Individual pupils may be integrated for main school subjects, depending on their ability. The LSC has strong links with parents and external agencies concerning pupil welfare and academic progress. LSC pupils are fully involved in all aspects of school life e.g. assemblies, religious services, merit trips, educational visits, poster competition, fundraising, Talent Shows.  Pupils enter the annual Credit Union Poster Competition and are always very successful. Last year a third year pupil won the top prize and we were invited to Croke Park , Dublin, where she was presented with 700 euros for her winning poster! Pupils enjoy their weekly swimming lessons at Cascades, Portadown.


Aims of Department

As Learning Support Centre teachers, our aims are:

  • To ensure there is a positive, supportive atmosphere within the classroom.
  • To use ICT when appropriate.
  • Work should be differentiated to motivate all pupils.
  • To support the pupils learning at all times.
  • To be aware of identification, monitoring, review and evaluations to be carried out in relation to pupils with special needs at all stages described in the code of practice.
  • To complete Individual Education Plans for pupils and work towards meeting these specified targets.

Recognizing that there is a continuum of needs and a continuum of provision, which may be made in a variety of forms, the LSC aims to provide:

  1. Access to a broad and balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum.
  2. Use of all appropriate resources offered by the school (Inclusion).
  3. Treat pupils with the same respect and dignity as their peer group.
  4. To support mainstream teachers when the need arises.
  5. To foster a Christian attitude to life.
  6. To give each pupil a sense of belonging that will encourage positive attitudes in their environment.
  7. To ensure that pupils have as full an access to the National Curriculum as is possible.
  8. To take cognizance of advice given by the Educational Psychologist and external agencies when devising the differentiated content of the curriculum for each pupil.
  9. To encourage each pupil to recognize their own self-worth and so enhance and develop self-confidence and self-esteem.
  10. To develop social interaction and communication skills.
  11. To develop emotional maturity and respect for others.
  12. To develop independence in preparation for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult and working life.
  13. To recognize and accept individual limitations and have realistic goals when making choices.
  14. To have an efficient system of record keeping and assessment.

Methods used in order to achieve the aims outlined/strategies implemented

  • Individual literacy/numeracy programmes.
  • Use of homework diary to encourage communication and support from parents.
  • Assist students to organise materials and equipment for lessons.
  • Use of ICT
  • Present work and targets in small chunks to achieve success.
  • Merit/reward system – respond to pupils with praise and encouragement.
  • Using suitable methods/materials to help pupils with literacy/numeracy difficulties e.g.: multi-sensory approach.
  • Small group work with direct teaching in basic skills.
  • Provide special help with spelling eg personal dictionaries, word banks, spelling programmes.
  • Use text and worksheets of appropriate readability levels.
  • Extension material to be available.
  • Use classroom assistants in an effective and efficient manner.
  • Consider seating arrangements for those with hearing/visual difficulties.

Methods used by Department to Evaluate Process

  • Review of targets set in IEP.
  • Regular Departmental discussion on effective strategies used to deliver the curriculum to all Special Needs pupils.
  • Dissemination of Good Practice by Head of Department.

Policy for Teaching Pupils with Special Educational Needs

General Statement:

As stated in the ‘Educational Reform Act’ and the 1998 SEN Code of Practice all children regardless of circumstances should receive an inclusive education.

“At the heart of the process is the individual/child who is entitled to the same opportunity to receive a broad, balanced, differentiated curriculum regardless of race, gender, disability or geographical location.”

It is recognized that most children will have at some point in their lives, some form of special educational need. As teachers it is our responsibility to recognize that need and address it. In the LSC pupils have access to a differentiated, broad and balanced curriculum designed to meet individual needs.


11th Oct 2018
Pupils from 10M have started their Life Skills Programme with Joanne and Lauren from...
4th Oct 2018
10M have been learning how to use a defibrillator with Mr. McAleenan from the Bushcraft...
24th May 2018
Pupils attended an interactive Art Exhibition and completed a workshop in the Millennium...
20th Apr 2018
Pupils in the Senior LSC enjoying themselves and completing work on percentages of...
29th Mar 2018
Pupils in the Junior LSC enjoying their last day before Easter! They created Easter...
9th Mar 2018
The Junior LSC spent the afternoon working on their team building skills! They had...
1st Mar 2018
Many thanks to Debbie Long for visiting our Learning Support Centre this week to...
5th Jan 2018
The Junior LSC learned how to solve puzzles through the use of programming in their...