Support provided in schools to children from divorced families

Published Date: 04 January 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Cheng Li Hui, Tampines GRC

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education in light of the recent study on children of divorced parents faring worse than their peers from intact families (a) what support is available to such children in the schools; (b) whether schools can offer deferments and temporary financial waivers with the goal of encouraging such children to complete their studies; and (c) whether teachers are made aware of the family situation of such children so that they can provide motivation and show more sensitivity during school lessons.

RESPONSE

1. Our schools monitor the well-being of students affected by divorce and other issues closely, and provide social, emotional and learning support for those in need. When the school is informed of a change in parents' marital status by either the parents or the students, the teachers will check in with the students and assess their needs to decide what support is appropriate and necessary.

2. For students who exhibit emotional distress or social and behavioural changes, or where there is a need for counselling support, School Counsellors and Student Welfare Officers in school will provide individual counselling or group programmes for the students. They may also make referrals to community agencies such as the Family Service Centres and Self-Help Groups to provide wraparound support to the students and their family.

3. Students who require financial support can apply for the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) to meet essential school expenditure such as school and miscellaneous fees, textbooks and school uniforms, and transport and meal subsidies. There is also school-based financial assistance to provide further support for students who need additional aid.

4. While updates on marital information is based on voluntary disclosure by parents to schools, the teachers will look out for any changes in the behaviour of their students and follow-up with these students and their parents when there is a cause for concern.

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