Language Class

Language Class Information

  1. What is the Language Class?

The Language Class is a class for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD); previously known as Specific Language Impairment (SLI). 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 National Educational Psychologist Service (NEPS) Psychologist where available. The profile of the Language Class this year consists of pupils at Junior Infant and Senior Infant Level.


  1. What happens in the Language Class?

The children follow the mainstream curriculum of their equivalent class as appropriate. Under the terms of DES Circular 0054/2022, the children enrolled in the DLD Class qualify for an exemption from the study of Irish. However, in the DLD Class, students are exposed to and encouraged to be involved in a limited amount of spoken, conversational based Irish.

Each child in the DLD class is also assigned a specific class of their level and a teacher for integration throughout the year. Each of the 7 students are part of the larger school community and integrate to their larger class setting/group for some subjects such as PE, LLO, Aistear, etc. They are involved in all school activities along with their peers including school tours, Christmas plays, etc.

All school policies regarding healthy eating, uniforms, attendance, behaviour, etc. apply in the Language Class also.

The SLT works closely with the Language Class Teacher to provide therapy that can be integrated into the child’s school day and everyday life.

The teacher will also modify 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., five days a week.


  1. 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 time 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.


  1. 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 development.
  • 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 https://www.iaslt.ie/media/kp4nzbcw/dld-position-paper-final-23may2017-2.pdf


  1. Eligibility Criteria for enrolment in a Language Class

The Department of Education and 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 above).

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., two 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 speech relation frequencies should be 40 Db.

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


  1. Is a Language Class suitable for my child?

Not all children with a clinical diagnosis of DLD will meet the DES 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 and Language Therapist.


  1. What is the Application Process?

The class serves the geographical area currently defined by the HSE as Community Health Care Network 4 (Charleville, Buttevant, Kanturk, Mallow, Millstreet, Newmarket) and Network 5 (Castlelyons, Fermoy, Mitchelstown).

Refer to https://finder.healthatlasireland.ie/

The first step is to contact Scoil Ghobantan for an application form. To do this, phone the school on 022-22192 and request and 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 report that are required.

The application form and reports need to be submitted to the school by the closing date or applications.

The closing date for applications for 2024-2025 year is Thursday 22nd February 2024.


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 you SLT.


  1. 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.


  1. Competed school or preschool reports

Blank report forms enclosed when applying.


  1. Two completed Social, Emotional and Behavioural Rating Forms

Blank forms enclosed.

Once 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 SLT your child attends.


The application will be checked when you bring it to the school, in case anything has been omitted in error.  




  1. 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 received.

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 June.

  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. Transport

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.


  1. Further Information

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


Mr. Donal O’ Shea, Principal


Emma Vaughan, Language Class Teacher,

Scoil Ghobnatan,



Co. Cork.

Phone: 022-22192


Anne Browne, Senior Speech and Language Therapist,

HSE South,

Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre,

Mallow Business Park,

Old Cork Road,


Co. Cork.

Phone 022-58615