Admissions Policy for Preschool Muinebheag for ASD

About Preschool Muinebheag

We at Preschool Muinebheag want to give the highest quality of preschool education to our children. We want the individual to grow to his/her full potential. Our aim is that this education will prepare each child for continued and appropriate schooling to the best of his/her ability. We recognise and value the role of parents as the primary educator of their children; together we can provide the skills for a loving approach to learning. We take an eclectic approach to teaching our pupils. We don’t subscribe exclusively to any one approach to the education of children with Autism. However, we employ an ethos that is based upon the TEACCH method. Preschool Muinebheag is managed by the board of management of St. Brigid’s N.S. however Preschool Muinebheag and St. Brigid’s N.S. are considered separate entities for the purpose of enrolment/admission.

Aim of Preschool Muinebheag

The aim of the preschool is to provide a caring learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full educational potential. The achievement of this aim informs all of the planning processes and activities which occur in our school. The Principal, Teachers, Support staff and Parents are partners in their children’s education with co-operation and communication between home and school being vital ingredients in the educational process. We share the same purpose – the care and well being of the children in our care. Each child’s placement in the unit will be reviewed after one year following input from the multi-disciplinary team. Preschool Muinebheag endorses the principle that a child be in a setting appropriate to their needs.

Mission Statement

Established in 2012 under the auspices of the NCSE and following consultation with our Special Educational Needs Organiser Preschool Muinebheag offers specialist educational service to children who have been fully diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. We aim to create a supportive and caring environment for each pupil. With a team of dedicated teachers and special needs assistants, the school provides individual attention in small classes catering for the uniqueness of each pupil’s personality. Families of students are encouraged to participate in the development of their child’s learning. The aim is to provide quality preschool education to the children so they are enabled to attain their educational potential when they leave Preschool Muinebheag.

Admission to Preschool Muinebheag

The Board of Management of Preschool Muinebheag and St. Brigid’s N.S. have set out this policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998, the Education Welfare Act 2000, The Equal Status Act 2000, and the Education for Persons with Special Needs Act 2004.

The Preschool Muinebheag was established in December 2012, funded and resourced by the Department of Education and Science. This school policy has regard to the funding, resources, services and space available.
The Board of management reserves the right of admission within the terms of this policy. The Board of management will not, however, refuse a child on the basis of:
⦁ Ethnicity
⦁ Disability (Severity of Diagnosis)
⦁ Traveller Status
⦁ Political beliefs
⦁ Family or social circumstances

All the children must fulfil the enrolment criteria.

Enrolment procedure

The process of enrolment begins with:
⦁ A referral from the Autism team or a telephone call or visit in person from the parents.
⦁ A Preschool Muinebheag application form and relevant NCSE forms are then completed.
This application must be accompanied by an up to date educational psychological assessment and diagnostic report which confirms diagnosis of ASD in line with current Department of Education criteria.
⦁ Fully completed applications are then recorded in the application file.
⦁ Entry into this file secures a place on the list of pre admissions applicants.
⦁ Each fully completed application will be dated, placed in an A4 envelope and placed in the Preschool Muinebheag admissions file.
⦁ In the event of a child meeting the required criteria places will be offered on a first in basis.
Please note all the above information will be forwarded to the Special Educational Needs Organiser as part of the admissions process.

Criteria for enrolment/admission

Each child attending Preschool Muinebheag must have a definite diagnosis of Autism; the diagnosis must be made using a professionally recognised clinical and psychological procedure. The child must be between the age of three and five years upon enrolment/admission. A child who turns six during the academic school year should not be in a preschool setting and therefore will not be considered for enrolment/admission in Preschool Muinebheag.
We consider Preschool Muinebheag to be a feeder school for autism units attached to mainstream schools or children’s local mainstream school where appropriate.

Multi-disciplinary Panel

All applications to Preschool Muinebheag will be assessed before admission by a Multi-disciplinary team which may consist of the following members:
⦁ School Principal of St. Brigid’s N.S. and Preschool Muinebheag
⦁ NEPS representative
⦁ Resource Teacher/Learning Support Teacher/Preschool Muinebheag Teachers
⦁ HSE Representative-Early Intervention Team
The remit of the Multi-disciplinary panel will be:
⦁ To ascertain the number of places available in Preschool Muinebheag based on discharge of pupils.
⦁ To review all applications for a place in Preschool Muinebheag based on relevant reports received and seeking further information if required.
⦁ To verify Preschool Muinebheag’s suitability in meeting the student’s needs.
⦁ To make recommendations on these findings to the board of management of St. Brigid’s N.S.

Role of the SENO

The Special Educational Needs Organiser has a very important role within the operation of Preschool Muinebheag. She can act as liaison person between HSE and Preschool Muinebheag. Whilst not directly being a member of the Multi-disciplinary team she/he may attend to provide advice, clarity in relation to NCSE guidelines or background information pertinent to each case.
All applications for supports for children attending Preschool Muinebheag will be processed by the SENO in line with Department of Education and NCSE guidelines.

Please note that the fulfilling of the enrolment criteria does not necessarily ensure enrolment if:
⦁ Necessary resources pertaining to the enrolment are not available.
⦁ Sufficient preschool places are not available.

The Board of management of Preschool Muinebheag and St. Brigid’s N.S. respects the rights of the existing school community and the children already enrolled. This consideration is paramount when assessing entry to Preschool Muinebheag.
All admissions/enrolments for September of any academic school year should be completed by the end of the month of February of that same calendar year. Parents of successful applicants will be contacted by phone and post and must return a form accepting a place in Preschool Muinebheag. This must take place within 2 weeks of the receipt of the form otherwise the place will be offered to another child. Deferral of enrolment is not currently facilitated. Should parents decide not to accept a place in Preschool Muinebheag that place will be offered to another child.
A pupil teacher ratio of no greater than 6 to one will be strictly adhered to in Preschool Muinebheag. There are 2 classes in Preschool Muinebheag with a maximum of 6 pupils in each class. Therefore the maximum number of places available is 12.

Discharge of Pupils from Preschool Muinebheag

The number of places available in Preschool Muinebheag will be ascertained following the annual Multi-disciplinary team meeting. At this meeting a review of all children attending the preschool will take place and will result in one of the following:

⦁ Onward progression to an autistic unit attached to a mainstream primary school.

Onward progression to the child’s local mainstream primary school.

⦁ Retention in Preschool Muinebheag for a further academic school year. This will not be possible if the child was turning 6 years old in the academic year following the Multi-disciplinary team meeting i.e a child should not turn six in Preschool.

This policy is subject to ongoing review.
Policy ratified by the Board of Management of Preschool Muinebheag and St. Brigid’s N.S. on ___________________ (Date).
Fr. Declan Foley, Chairperson Board of Management of Preschool Muinebheag and St. Brigid’s N.S.