Joint campus for 2 special ed schools

New site in Ang Mo Kio to have more facilities, take in more students in 2025

Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling (in white) at Chaoyang School yesterday with principal Angela Lee. The new joint campus housing Chaoyang School and Tanglin School will have more facilities to cater to students with mild intellectual disab
Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling (in white) at Chaoyang School yesterday with principal Angela Lee. The new joint campus housing Chaoyang School and Tanglin School will have more facilities to cater to students with mild intellectual disability as well as across the autism spectrum, including amenities for physical education, sports and games, and play courts. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Two special education (Sped) schools will be moving in five years to a new site, where they will accommodate more students.

Chaoyang School and Tanglin School, which are both run by the Association for Persons with Special Needs, will also undergo redevelopment to build more facilities to cater to students with mild intellectual disability as well as across the autism spectrum.

The schools will be located at a joint campus at the former Da Qiao Primary School in Ang Mo Kio in 2025. Chaoyang School is now in Ang Mo Kio and Tanglin School is in Bukit Merah.

At the new site, Chaoyang School will provide 400 primary-level places and Tanglin School will have 350 secondary-level places. They currently have 320 and 260 students enrolled respectively.

Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling, speaking during a visit to Chaoyang School yesterday, said the schools hope to provide more places for children with mild intellectual disability who live in the north-eastern and central regions.

Ms Sun, who is also Minister of State for Social and Family Development, said it will be more convenient for families to have both schools at the same site.

It will also give the students a sense of familiarity.

About 95 per cent of pupils from Chaoyang School typically move to Tanglin School.

The new joint campus will be purpose-built, with larger classrooms and spaces to cater to students, including those who also have autism spectrum disorder.

For instance, there will be more facilities for physical education, sports and games, as well as sheltered and outdoor play courts.

Tanglin School will also have more space set aside for vocational training facilities.

It currently has four vocational tracks - food and beverage, retail operations, horticulture and hospitality services.


The special education schools will be located at the former Da Qiao Primary School in Ang Mo Kio in 2025. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

Its principal Liza Ow said the new campus could in time house a supermarket or retail store for students to train in - an improvement over the minimart the school currently operates.

"One of the challenges right now is about space. Our rooms are all over the school - whichever the space that is best able to accommodate that particular vocational education subject, we will use that space," she said.

With the redevelopment, she said the school will have designated spaces for such subjects so that students' movement will be minimised and learning will be more conducive.

Parents whose children are now in Chaoyang School said the new joint campus would help ease the children's transition into secondary school.

Ms Chua Shan Shan, 38, whose Primary 5 son was diagnosed with autism, said: "For children with autism, a change in environment can cause a lot of anxiety.

"Both schools being side by side will help reduce that anxiety and I'm sure there will be a lot of opportunities for staff and students to have more interaction.

"Parents from both schools can also work together to organise learning journeys and activities."

The private tutor, who lives in Hougang, said the campus relocation is also a bonus. She was worried about her son having a longer commute to Bukit Merah.

Said Ms Sun: "We're constantly looking for more new ways to promote inclusive education, be it greater interaction between Sped schools and mainstream schools, or more opportunities between primary schools and secondary schools."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2020, with the headline 'Joint campus for 2 special ed schools'. Subscribe