Providing a suitable and inclusive environment for special needs students

Published Date: 11 October 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) beyond having the assistance of allied educators, how does the Ministry ensure that all mainstream schools provide a suitable and inclusive environment for their special needs students where all students can learn to respect differences and develop empathy; and (b) what is the number of special needs students who have switched from mainstream schools to special education schools in each of the past five years and what are the top three reasons given by the students or their parents for the switch.

Response

All teachers have the basic professional awareness of special needs. Some teachers undergo more training to enable them to plan and differentiate the instructional strategies to support the learning of these students. With greater awareness and knowledge in special needs, teachers are also able to inculcate empathy and respect of differences in their students, and to foster an inclusive class culture.

Students learn specific ways to demonstrate care for people with special needs, such as reaching out to make friends, including them in activities and volunteering to help them. Beyond the classroom lessons, Co-Curricular Activities and Values in Action programmes also create opportunities for students to interact and put their values into practice.

Over the past 5 years, about 180 students each year, mostly at the primary level, have moved on to SPED schools. These are students with severe special educational needs and behavioural issues.

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