Inclusive Education Needs Policy

Increasing demand for inclusive practices and a growing awareness of the rights of parents and students have changed perceptions of inclusive (special) educational needs (hereinafter, inclusive education needs). Teachers are strongly encouraged to be engaged in the process of educating students with special education needs, who historically were separated and often consulted only after a difficulty or issue became identified as a problem. The focus from a medical model of a student with a special need to a focus on the whole child has shifted to practicing differentiation through identifying a student’s learning way and adjustments in the curriculum in order to develop and apply the student’s full potential.


Inclusive Education Needs (IEN) Policy (hereinafter, the Policy) is aligned with the dedication Han Academy (hereinafter, the School) has to providing education according to its students’ needs. The School accepts that its students can represent a variety of cultural backgrounds, even though Chinese culture plays a titular role in the School. Cultural diversity makes it essential to establish a framework for providing criteria that meet the students needs, based on the School’s commitment to support a diversity of learning. The core of such commitment and understanding lies in the strong acceptance of the education philosophy aimed to encourage students “to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right,’ as the International Baccalaureate mission statement states. (IB, 2004)

 

1. POLICY PHILOSOPHY

1.1 The School respects difference and diversity and ensures that its students are provided with equitable access to the curriculum.


1.2 The School recognizes that students may benefit from adaptations to general teaching approaches and ensures that supporting students’ special educational needs and including them in the whole education system of the School should align with the School’s mission statement.


1.3 The School is determined to develop an understanding of the range and potential of its students’ special needs and the provision of such at the School.


1.4 The School recognises that individual differences among students are viewed as opportunities for enriched learning and views that diversity as a positive resource.


1.5 All students are viewed as equal participants and included in the School’s community.


1.6 Being committed to providing the necessary academic and pastoral support to its students, the School, at the same time, acts within the limitations of its human and technical resources.


1.7 The School accepts that its all students are unique and capable individuals, who have different educational and behavioural needs and aspirations, acquire and communication information at different rates, and they require different strategies and approaches for learning.


1.8 The School strives to see its students being active, compassionate lifelong learners, who understand that other people with their differences can also be right.


1.9 The School believes that enhancing the motivation to learn from multiple perspectives can lead to positive outcomes for all its students. These outcomes include improved academic and social skills, increased self-confidence and positive relationships with others in the community.


1.10 The School understands that progress for students with special needs is more likely if barriers to academic and social progress are identified as early as possible and addressed accordingly. Barriers could include particular teaching methods, classroom layout, sensory sensitives, etc., all of which can be addressed to enable the student to better engage with both academic learning and to develop socially appropriate behaviours.

 

1.11 The School is committed to the idea, which is supported by the IB, that student diversity is a positive resource with regard to what it means to be internationally minded and interculturally aware and it can be included as a resource, seeing individual differences not as problems to be fixed, but as opportunities for enriched learning.

 

2. IDENTIFICATION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS
2.1 It is the responsibility of the family to inform the School of any inclusive education needs of a student, which is to be done at the time of admission to the School. The family is responsible for proving any relevant documentation, failure to do which can lead to inadequate support to the student by the School.


2.2 The School conducts student admission according to the acting admission policy and procedures. A decision to enrol a student is made based on the data available at the School.


2.3 The Coordinator of Inclusive Education (SENCO) will work with teachers and parents to support the academic and social/emotional learning needs of the students. When processing applications for new students, the School’s potential to meet their learning needs will be considered.


2.4 It is considered possible that an inclusive educational need will only be identified after a child is admitted to the school. Therefore, teachers are advised to expect that some of their students can have inclusive education needs.


2.5 When it is identified that a student has inclusive education needs, it is essential and required for a teacher to raise the issue as soon as possible for the School to be able to address it in a timely manner. This is especially crucial in case of younger students.

 

3. MEETING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION NEEDS
3.1 All the students enrolled at the School are to be provided with an equal opportunity in terms of the learning environment and study choices.


3.2 Support to students with inclusive education needs is normally provided in the classroom environment.


3.3 In the process of meeting a student’s inclusive education needs it is seen essential to identify and remove possible barriers. Support by the student’s parents and other family members is highly expected in the process.


3.4 The School applies a whole school approach in creating an inclusionary environment for its students, where the latter are supported in a manner that acknowledges the students’ opportunity to share the same learning experiences that their classmates receive.


3.5 At the same time, the School recognizes that there are times when students with inclusive education needs need to work on an individual basis or in small groups in order to reduce or close the academic achievement gap or develop appropriate behaviours through social and emotional skills intervention programmes.


3.6 Differentiated learning is put at the heart of provision of an inclusive environment, with differentiated teaching being the practice of modifications made in the teaching process, materials, with assessment conducted in a way to meet learning needs of students to ensure they develop academically and personally.


3.7 The School considers extra-curricular activities (ECA) as an integral component of inclusive education. Differentiation is applied both inside and outside of the classroom, including in ECAs.


3.8 The School is committed to ensuring its teachers develop professionally, in particular, by advancing their teaching differentiation skills.


3.9 The School’s staff dealing with inclusive education needs of its students includes the Principal and Vice Principals, SENCO, homeroom and subject teachers, as well as the School’s Administration when it comes to student admission and support throughout their study at the School. Meetings can be conducted on regular and special relevant cases as instructed by the School’s senior management.


3.10 The School deals with each student with inclusive education needs on an individual basis. Specific conditions of the student, including the medical history, if any, is to be considered, with appropriate actions designed and implemented. Such conditions can be (but not limited to) epilepsy, dyslexia, ADHD, social and emotional challenges etc., as well as physical disability, be it of temporary or permanent nature.

 

4. ACTIONS FOR MEETING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION NEEDS
4.1 The School is committed to deal with any case of inclusive education needs of its students.


4.2 As a result of teacher observations, the School’s team is to meet and discuss the case, as formed by the Principal or Vice Principals of the School.


4.3 Based on teacher’s or other staff members’ reports and evidence provided to the team, strategies will be discussed to implement in the School in regard to the student involved.


4.4 The parents of a student are to be informed at this time by the homeroom teacher and/or SENCO, and they are to be asked for their input and given guidance on home support and to get independent diagnostic testing, if necessary.


4.5 In case of a medical intervention and/or tests taken, the parents are strongly encouraged to share the results of the given diagnosis with the School in order to help the latter conduct appropriate adjustments to the the learning environment of the student.


4.6 Based on all the collected information, School’s actions conducted may include (not limited to) extending assignment deadlines, changing the seating arrangement, provision of extra tutoring, assistance with class organization, access to relevant technology, engagement of a counselor, etc.


4.7 The measures implemented by the School will be reviewed at the beginning of each term, with the student’s teachers and the staff members involved in the decision- making process related to the student’s case. A decision will be made whether the applied (or other possible) measures are to be continued in case of the student.


4.8 The whole process described in this section of the Policy is to be recorded and kept in the School, as instructed by the Principal or Vice Principal of the School.


4.9 Aiming to engage the student’s parents in the above-mentioned process, the School ensures they are made aware of the respective School’s arrangements, by involving them in the process as soon as possible, by providing them access to the team of School’s staff members involved in the student’s case, by sharing the measures to be applied in case of the students, by supporting the parents in regard to their application for an external advice and support.

 

5. ASSESSMENT OF STUDENTS
5.1 Students identified to have an inclusive education need will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) developed by the SENCO in collaboration with the School’s team, parents and, where appropriate, the student. The IEP will contain long term goals for the academic year, short term goals for that term and strategies as to how these goals can be worked on. The effectiveness of a student’s individualized program and the School’s ability to meet the needs of that student will be assessed termly by way of an IEP evaluation by the SENCO in collaboration with the School’s team, parents and, where appropriate, the student.


5.2 The evaluation will involve assessments of class work, the student’s involvement in the academic program, behavior observations, input provided by the student’s teachers, including the homeroom teacher, and by parents.


5.3 It will be expected that a student, who has been in an individualised programme, is able to progress to the next level of the school. However, students can only progress through the school if in the judgment of the staff involved in the inclusive (special) education programme set for the respective student, the student gain value from being in the School and the the latter can appropriately meet the student’s needs.


5.4 The final decision concerning progression to the next level of school is made by the Principal of School.

 

6. EVALUATION SUCCESS OF POLICY
6.1 The Policy, as a document in progress, will be reviewed on a regular basis, at least once every academic year.


6.2 Review of the effectiveness of the intervention programmes is based on the input from the teachers involved and the School’s administration, and every group of new students and teachers will be involved in the process. The Policy will be discussed by the teachers, SENCO, and the senior leadership of the School (Principal, Vice Principals, IBDP Coordinator and other involved staff members). Necessary changes will be incorporated into collaborative discussions and will be shared with the students’ parents each term/year.


6.3 In the process, analysis of student academic performance results and development (non-academic) progress is to be considered, in particular, the student’s inclusion in the School’s community.


6.4. Regular meeings of the faculty and School’s administration can be called, at least once in an academic year, to conduct the overall review of the Policy.

 


REFERENCES
1. Hillside World Academy Special Education Needs Policy, Singapore
2. International Baccalaureate Organization, Learning Diversity in the International Baccalaureate Programmes: Special Educational Needs Within the International Baccalaureate Programmes, August 2010.
3. International Baccalaureate Organization, Meeting student learning diversity in the classroom, May 2013.
4. International Baccalaureate Organization, Programme Standards and Practices, October 2010.
5. Island School Special Education Needs Policy, Hong Kong.