Language Support Teaching

 Language Support Policy

UPDATE:  We have incorporated our language support policy into the new Special Education Policy 2018 which is available on our website.

In doing so, we recognise that children who require English language support are provided with the language tools they require to achieve their potential, and are not necessarily in need of what was traditionally called learning support. The main tenets of the policy below still remain at the core of our approach to language support teaching.


Mission Statement:

English Language Support in primary education strives to empower pupils from many different communities to access the same educational opportunities as their English-speaking peers and to become fully-integrated members of the community of the school and the wider social community, while respecting and valuing the richness of cultural and linguistic diversity.

(Integrate Ireland Language Programme)

St.Brigid’s Primary School is committed to making appropriate provision of teaching and resources for pupils for whom English is an Additional Language and for raising the achievement of those pupils who are at risk from under-achievement.

The school will identify individual pupils’ needs, recognise the skills they bring to school and ensure a quality of access to the curriculum.

Staff Role and Responsibilities

The role of the Language Support teacher is a collaborative responsibility shared by all – The Board of Management, Principal, Class teachers, Learning Support teachers, parents and children.

We currently have three Language Support Teachers. The number of teachers is determined on an annual basis by the DES, based on the enrolment of non-English speaking pupils.

Role of Board of Management

• To oversee the development, implementation and review of the provision of Language support in the school.
• Ensure adequate classroom accommodation and teaching resources are provided for the language – support teachers.

Role of Principal

• Assume overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the school’s language support policy.
• Monitor the implementation of the school plan on an ongoing basis.
• Assume direct responsibility for coordinating language support and special needs services where appropriate to a particular child.

Role of the Class Teacher

The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in her class including those in receipt of Language support. In supporting the development and implementation of the school plan on language support the class teacher should:
• Share their planning with the language support teacher to identify the language needs of the individual pupils.
• Adjust the classroom programmes in line with the agreed targets and activities.
• Modify presentation and questioning techniques to maximise the involvement of pupils with English as a second language.
• Place emphasis on oral language development across the curriculum.
• Set learning targets at an appropriate level.
• Ensure a high level of consultation and co-operation with the language support teacher.

Role of the Language Support Teacher

The main role of the language support teacher is to support the pupil’s development of English language proficiency so that he or she can gradually gain access to the curriculum, ultimately achieving the same education opportunities as English speaking peers by:
• Working in collaboration with the mainstream teacher to set achievable targets for each pupil.
• Preparing the pupil, on an ongoing basis, to access mainstream learning.
• Helping the pupil to develop appropriate strategies and skills to support their learning.

The responsibility of the language support teacher is to provide a programme of work based on the primary curriculum.

Each pupil is entitled to two full years of language support from the time they join our school.

When a pupil has additional difficulties, it may be appropriate for him or her to receive learning support.

For children entering our school at the Infant level, it is expected that they will develop literacy, classroom language, vocabulary and so on at a similar rate to their peers.

Children entering our school at Senior Primary level can experience a greater challenge. Therefore, there is a need for a systematic and on-going needs analysis to support the acquisition of language.

Assessment, Monitoring and Review

• Ongoing observation of the language and literacy to identify the needs of each pupil.
• Implement the school policies on screening and selecting pupils for supplementary teaching when appropriate.
• Record Keeping- to keep appropriate records on each pupil to ensure continuity from year to year.
• The Renfrew Language Scales (Word Finding vocabulary Test).
• Bus Story Test (Test of narrative speech).
• Primary Schools Assessment Kit


Liasing with Parents

Effective communication with parents is essential to the success of a language support programme. Activities, e.g. Intercultural Evening, may be organised to increase involvement of parents in supporting their child’s language.
• Provide Information Leaflets to parents in their own language.
• To be accessible to parents in a supportive role.
• Meet parents at organised parent teacher meetings either with the class teacher or individually to discuss their child’s progress.









Policy developed: September 2005
Reviewed: June 2006
Reviewed and updated: January 2009