St Anthony’s Special School in Castlebar is continually striving to improve the options available for learners with special needs and last year, 2011, all teachers received training in the implementation of the ASDAN Awards Programmes in the school.
ASDAN is based in the UK but is recognised as a worldwide organisation providing accredited certification programmes to thousands of learners. The Special Needs Programmes are specifically designed to accredit learners skills acquired through education and relevant experience and practice.
Seventeen students in St Anthony’s piloted the New Horizons Programme over 2011-2012. This programme challenged them to acquire and develop skills in modules comprising personal, social, health, citizenship and relationships skills as well as developing their literacy and numeracy skills.
The programme was externally moderated at a regional meeting in Galway in May 2012 and students’ work was assessed by independent assessors. All were assessed as having met the requirements for certification and were awarded their certificates at a ceremony in the school in June 2012. St Anthony’s School will be further developing on the ASDAN programmes and will be starting the Towards Independence Programmes in September 2012.