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Last Updated: 19 January 2023

Curriculum in special education schools

The curriculum of special education schools is tailored to support children with moderate to severe special educational needs. Learn about the types of curriculum and which option can be more beneficial to your child.

Special Education (SPED) Curriculum Framework

Introduced in 2012, the SPED Curriculum Framework of Living, Learning and Working in the 21st century sets a common direction for excellence in teaching and learning while providing flexibility and space for SPED schools to customise their curriculum to meet the unique needs of their diverse student profiles.

The framework articulates the vision of ‘Active in the community, Valued in the society' for special education, and the education outcomes of ‘living, learning and working'. The 7 core learning domains are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Numeracy
  • Daily Living Skills
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Physical Education
  • Arts
  • Vocational Education

The framework also affirms the importance of Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) as the foundation for a values-based special education, and the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as an enabler for teaching and learning.

Download the framework (2.42MB).

Types of curriculum

There are 2 types of curriculum that children with moderate to severe special educational needs can take:

  • Customised
  • National

Customised curriculum

Special education schools generally offer customised curriculum aimed at providing a child-centred, holistic learning experience for children with special needs.

The curriculum is intended to develop students' potential and equip them with essential knowledge and life skills through key learning areas in as mentioned in the SPED Curriculum Framework.

National curriculum

Children with special needs can take the national curriculum at selected SPED schools if they have been assessed to have:

  • Adequate cognitive skills, such as reasoning, working and long-term memory, to learn the national curriculum.
  • Adaptive skills, such as communication, social skills, that require additional specialised support.

To better meet their additional needs, these children will also receive support in practical skills such as daily living skills and social-emotional skills. 

After successfully completing the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), your child can choose to study in a mainstream secondary school. The choice of secondary school will depend on your child's PSLE results.

Children with autism spectrum disorder can choose to take the national secondary curriculum at Pathlight School or St. Andrew's Mission School

Some children's needs may be best supported in designated secondary schools. Learn more about support in mainstream secondary schools.

Explore your child's educational journey

Your child’s educational journey can proceed along different pathways which provide a range of support. Learn about what these are and how you can plan your child’s educational journey.