Parliament: Four specialised schools receive more resources to support special needs students

About 15 per cent of teachers in Singapore's four specialised schools, including Spectra Secondary School, have a higher level of training in special needs.
About 15 per cent of teachers in Singapore's four specialised schools, including Spectra Secondary School, have a higher level of training in special needs.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The four specialised schools here each has about 10 staff who have gone through extra training to support students' special needs.

This is well above what is provided for in a typical secondary school, said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, in Parliament on Tuesday (July 10).

About 15 per cent of the teachers in these schools - Crest and Spectra Secondary Schools, Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School - have a higher level of training in special needs. All teachers in the schools, which cater to academically weaker students, have gone through training for special education needs awareness and go through regular professional development.

Prof Faishal was replying to Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC), who had asked how many teachers are trained to teach special needs students in the four specialised schools. She had also asked how many allied educators there are in each of these schools.

Prof Faishal said the four schools, which tend to have more students with special needs, have smaller enrolments than other schools and receive a higher level of resourcing to support students.

"As a result, they have a better teacher-to-student ratio, and they use the additional funds to hire specialised manpower to support special education needs students," he said.

Dr Intan, who rose to speak after hearing Prof Faishal's reply, said that at least half of the student intake for the four specialised schools have special needs.

"That means that there is a greater demand for teachers who are trained in special needs education, on top of the other challenges that the students already face," she said.

Dr Intan, who is deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said: "I want to urge the Ministry of Education to look at giving more funding for the schools, in terms of employment of teachers who are trained in special needs as well as funding for these schools to employ directly additional teachers or counsellors they may need to help such students."