Parliamentary Replies

October 14, 2020

Inclusion of Students with SEN

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Christopher de Souza, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry will consider introducing ways whereby students can learn alongside students who are differently abled or who have special needs, and vice versa.

Response

1. Today, about 80% of students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia and Physical or Sensory Impairments are in mainstream schools. In every school, students have opportunities to learn alongside and make friends with peers who are differently abled.

2. Students learn about inclusivity through the formal curriculum and beyond. For those who need some help, Allied Educators for Learning and Behaviour Support implement strategies to enable students to turn to their peers for friendship and emotional support.

3. Around 20% of students with SEN, who have higher support needs, or 1.5% of all students, attend our 19 Special Education (SPED) schools. These schools are not necessarily separated from mainstream schools as they can enjoy, through the Satellite Partnership, a long-term sustained relationship with a mainstream school where there are opportunities for purposeful social interaction between the students through platforms such as joint CCA activities, recess, workshops and camps. For example, through their Satellite Partnership, students from Dunman High School and MINDS Towner Gardens School have opportunities to relate with each other through activities such as joint community service projects, arts and craft and science activities. Students attending Canossian School or Pathlight School also join their mainstream peers for academic learning, where appropriate.

4. Over the years, MOE and schools, with help from partner organisations, have sought to build inclusivity into the arts and sports calendar. At the National School Games, the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation and the National Day Parade, students with and without a SEN rehearse, practice and perform together. The Play Inclusive campaign, organised by SportCares and Special Olympics Singapore in partnership with MOE since 2018, also brings together student-athletes from several SPED and mainstream schools to share sporting experiences as members of the same team. In 2019, MOE partnered Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) to pilot a 5D4N Inclusive Sailing programme around the waters of OBS Pulau Ubin campus.

5. MOE is committed to nurturing the existing Satellite Partnerships and growing new ones, so that the students can continue to learn and grow together in a more inclusive environment.