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General Policy MLD

General Policy

  1. Castlewellan P.S. has one special unit for children with moderate learning difficulties (M.L.D.) The makeup of the unit can vary depending on the spread of children requiring placement.
  1. The Unit has a maximum number of 12 children. At present the spread of children in the unit is Yr 3 to Yr 7. Number currently on roll – 9
  1. The staffing in the unit is a follow:-

Teacher – Mrs Samantha Gordon

S.U. General classroom assistant – Mrs Judith Spence

One-to-one classroom assistant – Mrs Andrea Wright (Temporary)

Range of difficulties

The children attending the Unit display a varied range of difficulties. The children display both learning and specific learning difficulties in numeracy, literacy and basic understanding. They display learning deficits of 2.5 plus years. The children also possess associated social-emotional and behaviour difficulties.



Children are referred to the Unit by Educational Psychologists and all have an Educational Statement of Special Needs. The children are referred from both mainstream primary school or primary special schools. Referral can occur throughout the year.


The Principal is usually notified by Area Board of any children for a Unit placement. The child and parents are invited to visit the Unit and if the parents accept the place is available and a date for admission is agreed upon. The Unit teacher will usually contact the Principal and class teacher to obtain any information which will be beneficial to the child’s smooth transfer to the Unit.


Children are integrated into their peer mainstream classes for non-academic classes and academic classes such as The Arts, and The World Around Us. At Key Stage 1 play/activity based learning is also included as an integration period in the morning sessions.

However situations may arise where it is not possible to integrate into peer groups for these subjects. When and where this happens, the Unit teacher will work closely with the mainstream teacher to ensure that there is differentiation of work and that individual needs are met.


The children have the option of making their own way to the Unit or being transported to the Unit by either taxi or bus (provided by the Board). Parents have the responsibility of informing the taxi firms of any changes in pick-up arrangements.


Due to the nature and range of the children’s difficulties, there may be a diversity of other professionals involved in their general welfare and development, e.g.

  1. Social Workers
  2. Doctors
  3. Speech Therapists
  4. Occupational Therapists
  5. Clinical Psychologists
  6. Educational third Parties – ASCET

Where these professionals are involved, close links are maintained and records and reports are exchanged to ensure up-to-date information on the children’s progress is received and acted upon if necessary.


Up-to-date and ongoing assessment on the child’s ability, strengths and weaknesses will be kept. The following forms of assessment will occur:-

  1. Statement of Needs
  2. Diagnostic/standardised/Classroom Assessment –
  3. Other assessments may occur around these.

Other assessments may occur around these set dates when and where deemed necessary.

The Unit will use the assessment and the pupil’s statement as the basis of its pupils’ educational programmes.

Where children are receiving other forms of therapy and support, assessment from these areas will be included in the development of the child’s overall programme.

Mathematics Type of Test Publisher
Foundation Stage



Maths Recovery

Diagnostics Test

Standardised Test

Diagnostics Test

GL Assessment

GL Assessment

Maths Recovery

Maths (7 – 11 yrs)
PTM Standardised GL Assessment
NINA (Yrs 4 – 7) Diagnostics Test Rising Stars
CAT4 Diagnostics Test GL Assessment
Foundation Stage



British Picture Vocabulary Test (new)

GL Assessment

GL Assessment

GL Assessment

English (7 – 11 yrs)
NILA (Yrs 4 – 7) Tribal
PTE 7 – 11 yrs Diagnostics Test GL Assessment
British Picture Vocabulary Test (new) Diagnostics Test GL Assessment
Dyslexia Screener Diagnostics Test GL Assessment
Dyslexia Portfolio (new) Diagnostics Test GL Assessment
New Group Reading Test GL Assessment
Single Word Spelling Test GL Assessment
York Assessment for Reading Comprehension (new) Diagnostics Test GL Assessment


Files are kept on each child and are confidential and only the Principal, Class Teacher, parents and any other professionals involved in the child’s programme will have access to it.

Teachers’ own working files

  1. Pupils information
  2. Diagnostic/standardised sheet
  3. Programmes of work / progress
  4. IEPs
  5. Evidence of work
  6. Parental Consultation sheet

Confidential file kept in locked cabinet

  1. Statement
  2. Medical / Speech Therapy – after being read by teacher

Any relevant advice is written on Pupils Information Sheet.


Each child will be provided with an individualized programme of work. This work programme will cover all major aspects of the curriculum, concentrating on Maths and English. Science, History and Geography will be taught through a Topic approach aimed at surrounding the child with a whole language approach to learning

The IE.P.s will be planned and checked every 6-8 weeks and any necessary alterations made. The content of the I.E.P.S will have a direct link with the ongoing diagnostic assessment of the child s progress and existing difficulties. Each Unit will have a three year programme of work developed, covering the applied areas of the curriculum.

This aim is to ensure that there is a rolling programme of learning across the curriculum for pupils who remain in the Unit for periods of 2+ years.


Parents play a very active and vital role in the operation of the Units. Parental consultations are held at least 2 times during the year to discuss progress and any problem which may rise. However, the M.L.D. Units adhere to an “Open Door” approach. Daily contact is maintained between teacher and parent through the children’s work diary where parents have the opportunity to contact the teacher or vice versa.