Glenveagh Special School

Glenveagh Special School
Harberton Park,

028 9066 9907


Junior Head of Department: Mrs Andrea Lloyd

The Junior department welcomes pupils at the beginning of their Glenveagh journey, and provides the important foundations for a happy, purposeful and fun learning experience at school.  Junior department pupils are aged 8-11 years.  Currently, there are 39 pupils in the department, 5 teachers and 18 classroom assistants. 




  • Areas of Learning


Language and Literacy

There is an emphasis on learning through play activities, including construction, small world, imaginative, sensory and outdoor/active play. Writing and mark-making activities, as well as fine motor skill activities occur throughout junior department classes.  Classes have circle time, where talking and listening skills are rehearsed, and songs, sensory stories and rhymes are explored.  Pupils’ are supported with visual structure and positive teacher modelling. Glenveagh’s Phonics Programme is being used by teachers either on a daily basis or during their literacy hour activities.


Mathematics and Numeracy

Mathematics is primarily delivered through formal numeracy hours. Emphasis is placed on teaching maths using a range of enjoyable, engaging activities. Pupils are also given opportunities for exploring and investigating mathematical concepts through play.  Structure is used to support pupils to access play,


PDMU (Personal Development and Mutual Understanding)

The Arts

The World Around Us

Physical Education

Religious Education 


Areas of learning are delivered through a topic based approach.  Connected learning occurs through effective cross-curricular links made by teachers.  Pupils’ learning is supported and enhanced through the use of ICT. 




  • Each class goes horseriding for a term in the junior department.  This is supported by the RDA and their volunteers.
  • We have Junior Department clubs on a Thursday afternoon, where all classes mix-up to do a range of activities including Art, PE, Messy and sensory play, relaxation activities and dance. 
  • We join together for ‘sing-a-long’ on a Friday.
  • We take part in inter-departmental activities with the senior department.  Pupils have ‘buddies’ from another class and we actively participate in art-based activities together.
  • Presently, we are working on a joint art project with Taughmonagh and St. Ita’s primary schools.  This 12 week art project is funded by the Integrated Education fund and involves us making scenery backdrops from batik and puppets from recycled materials.  At the end of the art project we will collaborate to produce a multi-sensory drama presentation. 
  • We went to the theatre this term in conjunction with The Belfast Children’s festival.  We saw an interpretive dance performance. 
  • Our pupils enjoy many additional curricular activities and programmes including primary movement, yoga, attention autism, programmes by Holistic music for children, music and movement and music therapy.




  • RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association)
  • St. Ita’s Primary School
  • Taughmonagh Primary School
  • Integrated Education Fund.
  • Belfast Activity Centre


Middle Head of Department: Mr Jim Salt

The pupils in the Middle department are aged between 11-14. This academic year we have 4 classes, 33 pupils and 12 classroom assistants.


In the Middle department there is an emphasis on teaching functioning communication skills that will serve the children well throughout the rest of their lives.

Whilst many of our pupils continue to learn through play, there is a greater significance placed on teaching and learning within a more formal setting. This is particularly focused on the key areas of literacy and numeracy as well as cross-curricular project work.

Within the Middle department there is an increasing emphasis on the development of practical skills with particular regard to the areas of self-help, Learning for Life and


Work and Home Economics.

Our aim is to establish the building blocks to prepare the pupils for life beyond Glenveagh School. To this end the pupils participate in a wide range of practical activities. These include cookery lessons at least once a week, where the pupils are taught independent, real-life cooking skills and to have awareness of food, kitchen and personal safety requirements in the kitchen. The children are also given the opportunity to develop an understanding of the relationship between diet and health to help them make informed healthy lifestyle choices. Each week a departmental bus trip takes the children to local supermarkets which helps them develop the knowledge and skills relevant to buying, storing and paying for the relevant ingredients for their cookery lessons.


Groups of pupils are also offered the opportunity to have an introductory programme of lessons in horticulture at a nearby nursery.


Each class will also undertake a programme of lessons in Gymnastics at Salto Gymnasium, Lisburn.


This year we have also held a pilot Maths programme alongside pupils from Malone College designed to improve performance in Numeracy.


Also this year we have re-introduced swimming lessons where pupils have visited Fleming Fulton School and undergone a programme of coaching with a qualified swimming instructor. This will be expanded to include more pupils next year.


Each class gets a day outing every 4 weeks, which enables the pupils to experience a wide range of activities. This year classes have run trips to W5, Pizza Express, Snakes’n’Ladders, Ulster Museum, Coca Cola factory and “We are Vertigo” amongst others.


 Senior Head of Department: Mr Andrew Whitson

The Senior Department consists of 38 pupils who access the full curriculum through four class teams consisting in total of four teachers and 12 Classroom Assistants.


The Senior Department Curriculum builds upon the quality teaching and learning which takes place throughout the Junior and Middle Departments respectfully. This progression expands upon the young adults learning and begins to guide it towards functional settings within which it can be applied through a coherent and balanced curriculum.

This introduction of applied learning to the local and global environments forms a bridge of continuity learning between the Middle and School leavers Departments.

The curriculum within the Senior Department is determined as follows:

  • Learning for Life and Work (LLW) Home Economics, Personal Development, Local and Global Citizenship & Employability
  • Language and literacy
  • Mathematics and Numeracy
  • Modern Languages
  • The Arts
  • Environment and Society
  • Science and Technology
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education 


This curriculum is generally applied at the beginning of the young adults Transition Year just before or when they reach fourteen years of age.

In the school year that a young adult in Glenveagh reaches fourteen, they and their parents along with external agencies are invited to attend the fourteen plus Transition Review. This review focuses upon what provision should be considered to assist the young adult’s preparation for life after school at the age of nineteen.


  • Scoil an Droichid
  • Springvale College
  • Dissolving Boundries Initiative
  • Stormont
  • BEP
  • BAC


Through these links, the Senior Department is able to access many exciting projects that broaden the Senior Curriculum.

These projects include:

  • Completing The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme in conjunction with The Belfast Activity Centre. This collaboration extends  Glenveagh’s young adults an opportunity to develop their emotional and personal skills. Exciting events such as day walks and camp craft are the order of the day, which culminate usually in an overnight stay (or two!)
  • Film Making has also become a major element of the Senior Department’s curriculum helping to access all curriculum areas in an exciting and innovative way. The young adults of the Department particularly respond to this teaching and learning vehicle in a very positive manner and are generally excited when a new project is announced!
  • Dissolving Boundries is an exciting initiative which allows young adults from the Department to link with other young adults from the South of Ireland via video conferencing. They are encouraged to pick topics of discussion finding similarities in each others lives.
  • The Springvale campus affords the young adults from the Department who are about to transition to the 16+ School Leavers Department, the opportunity to sample practical courses in Construction, Hair and Beauty, I.T, and Catering. This sampling experience should help to inform possible future career paths.
  • The Senior Department has had a long history of teaming up with St.Malachy’s which offers PE facilities to our young adults every Friday afternoon on its campus.
  • As part of the Children’s Book Festival in October every year, the young adults of the Department link with p7 children from Scoil an Droichid. This collaboration each year helps to promote friendships and the young adults of the Bunscoil always enjoy these art based activities so much so that they are always keen to come back!


Leavers Head of Department: Mr Gavin McCahey

The Leavers Department builds on and consolidates all the work the students have studied in their educational careers in Glenveagh so far.  The Department includes students aged 16 to 19.  Presently we have five teaching staff, 18 classroom assistants and around 50 pupils based in five classrooms.  We recognise the huge benefits our pupils receive from the specialised educational environment provided at Glenveagh. We aim to provide opportunities for our pupils to experience new things and to interact alongside peers in the hope of providing a wide range of curriculum areas that will stimulate and enthuse all pupils to develop and progress in a safe, enjoyable and caring environment.


Post 16 Curriculum Areas

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Learning For Life & Work - Home Economic, Work Experience, Employability, Citizenship & Relationships & Sex Education
  • The Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education 

Literacy & Numeracy

LLiLiteracy and numeracy within the department is functional and related to real life situations and experiences.  We aim to provide a supportive, stimulating and secure environment where children are encouraged to express themselves and where their contributions are valued.  We will provide for the language development of pupils and will develop their ability to use language to think, to explore and to recognise and communicate their ideas.

MaMathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing our ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables us to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in their everyday lives. Through their growing knowledge and understanding, our pupils learn to appreciate the value of numeracy and its importance in their everyday lives.

LeaLearning for Life & Work

  •   Home Economics - each class will cook their own lunches a maximum of twice a week
  •  Employability/Work Experience - We will work with outside agencies in order to source suitable work experiences.  This could done internally in school or externally at local businesses.
  •   Relationships & Sexuality Education - This is extremely important for our pupils & parents.  It's an area that both pupils and parents are very anxious and worried about.
  •  Citizenship – Helps provide pupils with an opportunity to learn ‘What are my rights, and what responsibilities go with them? What is my attitude to others who are different? What is “fair”?

The Arts     

  • Music - We offer a wide range of music options.  This can range from external music qualifications to specialised music therapy.
  • Drama - Similar to music we can offer external qualifications.  However there are also lots of opportunities for pupils to express themselves through class role plays, assemblies and school productions throughout the year.  

Physical Educatiion

  •  We are extremely active within the department and offer an extensive range of activities.
  • Disability Sport Coaches help offer a variety of sports
  •  Collaboration with other schools and the use of their facilities.
  • Using facilities within the local community, to improve and promote pupils confidence and independence in using them outside school hours.


  • Springvale Training Centre           
  • Princes Trust.
  • CCEA
  • NOCN
  • City & Guilds                           


  • Rathmore Grammar School             
  • Orchardville Society           
  • Dr Bs
  • La Salle High School  
  • Stepping Stones                  
  • Springvale Learning
  • Aquinas Grammar School               
  • ASDA                                
  • LOAF
  • Now Project    
  • Disability Sports NI          
  • Belfast Activity Centre
  • Belvoir Activity Centre

Head of Butterfly Department: Mrs Jackie Adams

Our Department is for pupils at Glenveagh with educational needs best met through a dedicated sensory curriculum. Essentially if we are learning about it we experience it. Our pupils are aged from 8 -19 years so we cover key stages 1-4, we have a focus at their transitions into and out of Glenveagh.  It is therefore important to give the pupils a definite awareness of growing up and maturing and maintaining age appropriate activities.


There are 3 classes in our Department,  Butterfly 1, 2 & 3. The pupils are supported by 3 teachers, a team of Assistants and the multi disciplinary team at Glenveagh (Nurse,OT, Physio & Speech Therapy)


Our aim is to enable our learners to be active & involved to the best of their ability in all aspects of the sensory curriculum that they have access too. This is done through hands on experience, use of ICT and a diverse curriculum and participation in all school events.



Sensory Curriculum Areas

Communication is the key to all areas that we teach within the department encouraging our non verbal children to communicate with us, be acknowledged and feel a valued part of the class in asupportive & stimulating environment where children are encouraged to express themselves and where their contributions are valued. 


Personal Development covers a wide range of challenges each individual pupil faces and focuses on to enable them to be as independent as they are able. This may include guidance from the Multi Disciplinary Team and transitions.


Physical Edcuation is our opportunity to get active and develop body awareness. There is a lively weekly PE session in the hall for the whole department and each term there is a focus placed on a different area of PE development.


Sensory enables our pupils to explore and learn through all of their senses (would you believe me if I said there were over 30!). Our whole bodies can be used to make sense, ask questions, find answers and understand the world directly around us.


Learning Areas and Skills may be taught through topics and include Literacy, Numeracy, Environment & Society, The World Around Us, ICT, Learning for Life & Work, Religious Education, Science & Technology, The Arts. We use topics to expand the experiences and opportunities of our pupils.


Getting out and about is also an important aspect of the Sensory Department, experiencing opportunities to learn in our local community. 


Learning through links

Replay Theatre Company - Bliss project

The Donkey Sanctuary

Malone College Art Project



Quest for Learning is used as guidance for assessment for the pupils in the Sensory Dept.

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