The Special Education unit within St. Mary's Secondary School was established twenty years ago. The class was formed due to local demand for the facility and now enrols students from a very wide catchment area.
The curriculum in the special class is based around the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Irish. Other subjects are selected from a list of options. The alternatives selected are Geography, Art, Cookery and Computers. Physical Education and Religion are other features of the timetable. A section of the class only follow the classroom curriculum, whereas others are engaged in undertaking a limited Junior Certificate. These students, on returning to the special class, either receive assistance in areas of difficulty or participate in the regular class activities. All the pupils within the class are taught by a special class teacher as well as by mainstream teachers, such as the Art Teacher and the Home Economics Teacher.
The special class is managed within the normal bounds of the Secondary system. The class teacher reports to the School Principal. They are a class within the general school population rather than separate from it.