Learning Programme 1

Introduction
Paul is a first year student in a large urban community
school with a student population of 1100. He has a
sunny disposition, and is a very sociable 14 year old
with many friends. He has a wide range of interests
including rock music, swimming, drums and soccer. He
is the youngest of three children and an only boy. Paul
has Williams Syndrome (Williams Syndrome is a rare
genetic condition that causes medical and
developmental problems) and is functioning within the
moderate range of general learning disabilities. Paul is
involved with the Special Olympics and goes to music
camp with the Williams Syndrome society. Paul
attended a mainstream primary school and his parents
are very eager that he attends a mainstream postprimary
school.
The school atmosphere is pastoral and its structures
and underlying philosophy are nurturing and
supportive. It is characterised by its emphasis on
partnership, collaboration and cooperation.
Collaboration stretches beyond the school as Paul is
involved in an outreach programme with a local special
school and this is comprised of a multi-disciplinary
team of an educational psychologist, speech and
language therapist, physiotherapist and occupational
therapist.
The junior cycle curriculum is offered in a mixed-ability
setting. Students select from a range of 14 subjects -
Irish, English, Mathematics, Geography, History, a
European language, Science, Business Studies, Social
Personal Health Education (SPHE), Civic Social
Political Education (CSPE), Physical Education (PE),
Religious Education, Art, Craft, Design, Metalwork,
Materials Technology Wood, Music, Technical
Graphics and Home Economics.
In first year students have an opportunity to sample
some subjects, from which they choose their
preferences to study in 2nd and 3rd year.

Paul’s timetable has been designed to maximise his
inclusion, while being mindful that he is easily tired. In
this way Paul attends for 38 of the 45 class periods
each week. He follows a reduced curriculum, taking
Art, Craft, Design, Metalwork, Geography, Music,
SPHE, PE, CSPE, and Computers with his peers, in
mixed-ability classes. He works with a resource teacher
and a small group (3-4 students) for his Mathematics
and English classes for six periods per week each, and
has four additional one-to-one withdrawal classes with
his PE, Geography and English teachers. Each day
Paul’s learning takes place in a variety of settings, the
majority with his mainstream peers, and an average of
two class periods per day in small group or one-to-one
tuition settings.