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Planning for children's needs | Print |

Planning Based on Pupil Learning Needs

In order to focus on pupil needs a school might wish to address the following areas:

Identification of pupil needs

Are we aware of how well pupils are achieving in relation to their ability and how do we know? Use of formal and informal assessment (examples in curriculum documents and in Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum, NCCA, 2007); Use of data from standardised tests to identify patterns and to highlight areas for improvement in English reading or Mathematics.

Present provision for pupil achievement

What is already happening in our school to enable each pupil work towards the achievement of his or her potential?


Is there a need to adapt the curriculum to meet the different learning needs of pupils? Pupil learning styles Are we aware of individual pupils learning styles and how to adapt our teaching methods to maximise the learning of the individual pupil, Multiple Intelligences etc.? Refer to Primary School Curriculum, Introduction, p. 14-17.

Teaching methodologies

Are we utilising a variety of teaching strategies to meet the needs of our pupils? Use of the environment/ Projects/ Circle time/ Group teaching/ ICT/ Mixed ability teaching/ Integration/ Thematic/Whole class? Refer to Primary School Curriculum Teacher Guidelines for all subjects e.g. Maths p. 30-46.

Teacher preparation

Does teacher preparation (scéim bliana, scéimeanna coicíse/seachtaine) show evidence of addressing the different learning needs of pupils and comply with whole school programmes of work and whole school plans?

Learning outcomes for students (individual/group)

Do we know what we want pupils to achieve and why? Are aims and objectives clearly stated?

Staff development

Are sufficient opportunities/funding provided for staff to upskill, to share expertise, to acquire new strategies, skills and knowledge? Is team building and collective responsibility encouraged and promoted? Do we engage in action research?

Deployment and inclusion of available personnel

Are we maximising the potential of staff and community resources? Is there provision for consultation, collaboration and shared planning?


Do the current timetable arrangements allow for maximum access to all areas of curriculum for all pupils? Do the current timetable arrangements unduly disadvantage any pupils e.g. those requiring learning support?


Are parents aware of how best they can support their children's learning?

Communication with second level

Are opportunities for interaction with second level schools pursued in order to ensure continuous pupil learning?

The following questions may prove useful to a school or teacher:

  • What are the learning goals for pupils in your class in the area of _____?
  • Are these the same for all pupils/groups of pupils?
  • Who has an input into establishing these goals?
  • Who is aware of these goals? (e.g. support teachers, principal, parents)
  • Who is working to achieve these goals?
  • Are the pupils achieving these goals? If not, are there discernible groups/individuals who are failing to reach the goals set for them? Why?
  • How and how often are these goals re-evaluated?
  • What teaching methodologies are currently used on a regular basis in your school/classroom? Why these?
  • Are others available but not used? (staff skills)
  • What strategies are in place to enable teachers expand their range of methodologies?
  • Are all pupils being offered opportunities to learn in a manner most appropriate for them? (learning styles)
  • Are students given the opportunities to enhance their repertoire of learning styles/strategies/ talents?
  • What procedures/strategies are in place to encourage/monitor/interlink teachers' individual planning/preparation?