MOE To Open 3 New Special Needs School To Meet Growing Demand Of Students
MOE recently announced new initiatives to better support special needs students in Singapore. Read more to find out the new enhancements.
In order to support and meet the growing demand for students with special needs, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has unveiled new initiatives including the opening of 3 new special needs schools, lowering school fees and enhancing inclusivity in mainstream schools.
New Special Education (SPED) schools to open from 2021
Announced by Second Minister for Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, the new schools will be targeted to children who have moderate to severe special needs.
Out of the three schools, one will be operated by welfare centre Metta Welfare Association which will open up 25 spots for special needs students per cohort.
The school, which will be located in the East, is open to students between the ages of 7 to 18 who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability.
While the campus will only be ready in 2024, classes will still start from 2021 at the current Metta School campus in Simei.
The other two schools unveiled by MOE will additionally deliver primary and secondary national curriculum and a suitable post-primary programme for students who are unable to access the national secondary curriculum.
MOE is working with Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) – who run Pathlight School – to set up one of these two schools.
6 SPED schools to lower fees
In addition to the three new schools, MOE also announced that six SPED schools will be lowering their fees by at least 25%.
This reduction was particularly aimed at schools that currently charge fees on the higher end of the spectrum so that Singaporeans with special needs could receive the best education regardless of their financial circumstances.
The six schools are Eden School, Grace Orchard School, Pathlight School, Rainbow Centre – Margaret Drive School, Rainbow Centre – Yishun Park School, and St. Andrew’s Autism School.
The new fee structure is expected to start in January 2020.
Over the past five years, government funding for SPED schools has increased by about 40%, so that these schools are adequately resourced to provide quality SPED.
Inclusivity in mainstream schools
Currently, about 80% of special needs students are enrolled in mainstream schools.
In order to ensure these schools remain inclusive, safe and accommodating for these students, MOE has decided to extend its existing intervention programmes to all mainstream schools over the next few years.
The intervention programmes known as Circle of Friends (CoF) for primary and secondary students, and Facing Your Fears (FYF) for secondary students requires students to help their schoolmates with special needs by working with them to overcome their specific areas of difficulties.
Training will be provided to relevant school personnel, to enable them to implement these intervention programmes in their schools.