Language Class Information

What is the Language Class?
The Language Class is a class for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) previously
known as SLI (Specific Language Impairment). There is a maximum of 7 children in the class, with a
full time teacher and input from a HSE Speech and Language Therapist (SLT). There is also input from
a NEPS (National Educational Psychologist Service) Psychologist where available. The profile of the
Language Class this year consists of pupils at Junior Infant, Senior Infant and 1st Class level.

What Happens in a Language Class?
The children follow the mainstream curriculum of their equivalent class as appropriate. The pupils in
the DLD Class are exposed to a limited amount of spoken, conversational based Irish. Under the
terms of DES Circular 0054/2022 , the children enrolled in the DLD Class qualify for an exemption
from the study of Irish. The 7 children in the Language Class are part of the school and can be
integrated for some subjects eg PE, Drama, LLO, Aistear etc. They are involved in school activities
along with the other pupils of the school eg school tours, Christmas plays etc. All school policies
regarding healthy eating, uniforms, attendance, behaviour etc. apply in the Language Class also.
Each child is also assigned to a specific class of their level, and Teacher for integration for the year.
The Speech & Language Therapist works closely with the Language Class Teacher to provide therapy
that can be integrated into the child’s school day. The teacher can modify his/her teaching to suit
each child’s unique speech, language and learning needs. The children stay in the class for one year
or for a maximum of two years. The placement is full time in duration i.e. 5 days per week.

What is Developmental Language Disorder?
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) describes ‘children likely to have language problems
enduring into middle childhood and beyond, with a significant impact on everyday social interactions
or educational progress’ (Bishop et al., 2016b). The language disorder is not associated with a known
differentiating condition e.g. Autism, Down Syndrome, Hearing or Physical Impairment or
Intellectual Disability. Up to recent times SLI (Specific Language Impairment) or SSLD (Specific Speech
and Language Disorder) were the terms used. The new name, Developmental Language Disorder
DLD, is now being used in Ireland and worldwide since May 2017.

What do we know about DLD?
• It is very common, more common than Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism
Spectrum Disorder (Bishop, 2010).
• It may be life-long for many individuals with effects on their academic, social and emotional
• Children with DLD can have co-occurring challenges with motor, sensory and cognitive skills.

More information about DLD can be found in IASLT’s Position Paper and Guidance Document called
‘Supporting Children with Developmental Language Disorder in Ireland’ which is available at Y:\DLD
Developmental Language Disorder\DLD Position Paper FINAL 23MAY2017.pdf

Eligibility Criteria for enrolment in a Language Class
The Department of Education & Skills (DES) has established the criteria for enrolment eligibility for
Language Classes as per DES Circular 0038/2007

A pupil enrolled in a special class for pupils with SSLD must meet each of the following criteria:

a) The pupil has been assessed by a psychologist on a standardised test of intellectual ability that
places non-verbal ability within the average range or above (i.e. non-verbal IQ of 90, or

b) The pupil has been assessed by a speech and language therapist on a standardised test of
language development that places performance in one or more of the main areas of speech
and language development at two standard deviations or more below the mean, or at a
generally equivalent level. (i.e. 2 standard deviations or below, at or below a standard score
of 70).

c) The pupil’s difficulties are not attributable to hearing impairment; where the pupil is
affected to some degree by hearing impairment, the hearing threshold for the speechrelated frequencies should be 40Db.

d) Emotional and behavioural disorders or a physical disability are not considered to be primary

Is a Language Class suitable for my child?
Not all children with a clinical diagnosis of DLD will meet the Department of Education and Skill’s
eligibility criteria for a DLD Class placement. Not all children with a clinical diagnosis of DLD will
require placement in a DLD class. Other models of educational and SLT provision may be more
appropriate. It is recommended that you discuss this with your child’s Speech & Language Therapist.

What is the Application Process?
The class serves the geographical area currently defined by the HSE as Community Health Care
networks 4 ( Charleville | Buttevant | Kanturk | Mallow | Millstreet | Newmarket) and Network 5 (
Castlelyons | Fermoy | Mitchelstown) refer to .
The first step is to contact Scoil Ghobnatan for an application form. To do this, phone the school on
022-22192 and request an application form and information pack for the Language Class. It is
important that you specify the Language Class; otherwise you may be sent a general school
enrolment form.

You should keep this until you have all the reports that are required (see below). The application
form and reports need to be submitted to the school by the closing date for applications. The closing
date for applications for 2024 – 2025 year is Thursday the 22nd of February 2023.

The reports required are:
1. Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) Report, which includes results of standardised assessment/s of
speech and language as required by the Department of Education & Skills. An up-to-date speech and
language therapy assessment must be within 6 months of the closing date of application. Your
child’s Speech & Language Therapist will provide you with the SLT report and will assist you in
getting the other reports and rating forms completed. You should discuss this with the therapist
once you receive the application form. We will enclose the template for the SLT report which you
should give to your SLT.

2. Psychological Assessment Report: For the purposes of referral of children to Language Class a
cognitive assessment report must be submitted. This report must be less than two years old at the
date of the closing date for receipt of Language Class referrals. If the Weschler Preschool and
Primary Scale of Intelligence IV (WPPSI IV) is used, the psychologist must report the Non-Verbal
Index score, which is derived from five subtests: Visual Spatial, Fluid Reasoning, Working Memory,
and Processing Speed scales.

3. Completed school or preschool reports (blank report forms enclosed) when applying.

4. 2 completed Social, Emotional and Behavioural Rating Forms (blank forms enclosed) one of these
is to be completed by the child’s school or preschool, and one is to be completed jointly by the
parent and the speech & language therapist your child attends.
The application will be checked when you bring it to the school, in case anything has been omitted in
error. If calling to the school poses any difficulties for you, please contact the principal and
alternative arrangements will be made.

What Happens Next?
A group called the Advisory Admissions Board meets to discuss all referrals and advise the Board of
Management of Scoil Ghobnatan as to the children who should be offered the available places in the
Language Class.

The Advisory Admissions Board comprises of:
• Principal and / or Deputy Principal of Scoil Ghobnatan
• Language Class teacher
• HSE Speech & Language Therapist for the Language Class
• Speech & Language Therapy Manager, HSE
• N.E.P.S. Educational Psychologist

A preliminary meeting of the Advisory Admissions Board is held usually in March, to screen the
applications that have been received and identify applications that are eligible/ineligible. Ineligible
applicants will be notified following this meeting. The Admissions meeting is held usually in March.
This is chaired by the Principal of Scoil Ghobnatan.
At this meeting, the Advisory Admissions Board reviews and discusses the eligible applications

The Advisory Admissions Board prioritises the eligible applicants. To do this, the Board uses a
prioritisation rating scale which takes into account factors such as the severity of the speech and/or
language disorder and the impact of the disorder on the child’s social and emotional well-being. The
board will refer to the speech and language therapy report, psychological assessment report, the
school/preschool reports and the social, emotional & behavioural checklists and any other relevant
material to inform this process.

In the event that there are more eligible applicants than available places, additional factors are
considered. These include the amount of speech and language therapy intervention a child has had,
the age and class level of the child and the number of speech and language areas affected.
Based on the outcome of the above, a recommendation for the allocation of the available places is
made to the school’s Board of Management.

Following the Admissions Meeting and Board of Management approval, the parents of successful
applicants are notified by the school Principal with an offer of a Language Class placement for their
child for the following September. Eligible candidates who cannot be offered a place are also
notified of this.

Children who are offered and accept places in the Language Class will be invited to attend an open
morning in the class with their parents. They will meet the teacher and the speech & language
therapist and have the opportunity to explore the classroom and surrounding area. This is usually in

How long does a Child stay in the Language Class?
Children may spend one, or a maximum of two years in the class (See DES Circular 0038/2007).
During the school year each child’s progress is reviewed and decisions are made by the Advisory
Discharge Committee attached to the school as to whether a child should be discharged from the
class or should be offered a 2nd year in the class.

What happens when a child leaves the Language Class?
Most children go to their local primary school. Following discharge from the Language Class, the
child’s future Speech & Language Therapy management will be determined when the child is
reviewed in his / her local HSE Speech & Language Therapy Clinic.

Transport for pupils attending Language Classes may be provided through the Dept of Education
Transport Section. Applications for transport to and from the class are submitted by the school to
the DES in March. Bus Eireann implements the decisions of the Dept of Education at local level. Dept
of Education approved escorts accompany children travelling to and from the class on this transport
when recommended.

If you require any further information or have any queries please contact:

Mr Donal O’Shea, Principal
Emma Vaughan, Language Class Teacher
Scoil Ghobnatan,
Phone 022/22192

Anne Browne Senior Speech & Language Therapist
HSE South,
Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre
Mallow Business Park
Old Cork Road,
Phone: 022 58615


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  • Cúla4 on TG4 provides plenty of Gaeilge programmes which children can watch to keep up their Gaeilge learning.

  • Water Safety Now every child can learn basic water safety skills at home

  • have excellent school closures packs which can be used as extra work from home should your child like to do some extra activities – use code CVDTWINKLEHELPS for a free month when signing up

  • Let’s Play Ireland is a government-led initiative aimed at promoting play for all children living in Ireland during the COVID-19 emergency.

Special Education Needs

  • NCSE  – The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is currently preparing online resources for children with Special Educational Needs who are at home as a result of the schools’ closure.