Models for supporting students with Special Educational Needs

Published Date: 05 November 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Jurong GRC


To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether there have been efforts to study the Special Education Policy Framework in British Columbia or other similar policy framework elsewhere; (b) if so, what are the key findings for such studies; (c) whether the Ministry is reviewing career paths of allied educators and educators in the special needs sector; and (d) what are the efforts to recruit more educators in the sector.


1. MOE has studied a number of international models for supporting students with Special Educational Needs (SEN). The models differ, reflecting the specific context of each jurisdiction. British Columbia, for example, places great emphasis on the mainstreaming of students with SEN. However, other education authorities such as that in the UK recognise that the educational needs of children with higher needs are better met in more specialised settings, and are setting up more specialised schools and units for children with SEN.

2. In Singapore, we have adopted a multi-pronged approach, so as to cater to the diverse range of educational needs of students with SEN. Hence, around 80% of students with SEN, including many with dyslexia, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as the majority of students with sensory and physical impairment, are in mainstream schools. The rest who have moderate-to-severe SEN, are in Special Education (SPED) schools. That way, students with moderate-to-severe SEN can benefit from a highly customised curriculum and pedagogy, delivered by specially-trained SPED teachers, and supported by a range of allied professionals such as psychologists and therapists.

3. Having well-trained staff is key to the quality of support for students with SEN. In mainstream schools, all Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support) [AED(LBS)] undergo the Diploma in Special Education (DISE) programme at the National Institute of Education (NIE). In 2016, MOE enhanced the career structure, progression and development of AED(LBS), including creating higher appointments, such as Lead AED(LBS), Master AED(LBS) and Chief AED(LBS) to lead the fraternity at the school cluster, zonal and national levels. MOE enhanced professional development opportunities for AED(LBS) through modular training, conferences and milestone programmes, and offer scholarships and awards to AED(LBS) for further studies.

4. The number of SPED teachers has increased by about 40% since 2014, to meet the needs of the growing enrolment of students with SEN. MOE and NCSS will continue to support mainstream and SPED schools in the recruitment of educators with appropriate skill-sets and aptitude to teach students with moderate-to-severe SEN.

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