New Schools and expanded provision with Specialist SEND support

The announcement by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority of its new Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework - in late November, coincided with’s update of the Guide to SEN originally published in 2014.The greater focus by the Regulators on the provision of SEND support in schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is not new.
New Schools and expanded provision with Specialist SEND support
By Lyn Soppelsa
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In addition to the announcement of a new  Inclusive Education Framework in Dubai, ADEK announced its new Policy framework in 2014, essentially aimed at creating an environment where: 

“Special educational needs of the students shall not constitute, themselves, a hindrance to the application or enrolment in any Private School. Special Education Needs students should be treated without discrimination and similarly to their peers. Everyone shall be given equal educational opportunities. Students who require special education shall not be denied access to a full education program that meets their learning needs.”

Moreover, the focus during the School inspection process in the past two years on the provision of SEND, and separate measurements in relation to provision has started to show results in terms of identification of those schools that show a real commitment to supporting Students of Determination.

New schools opening in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are required to incorporate provision for students with SEND requirements from the outset and several have actively embraced the opportunity to offer a truly inclusive environment from the outset.

A number of existing schools have extended their provision. These schools are by no means the only ones offering support to children with SEND – schools belonging to the GEMS, Innoventures and Taaleem groups, in particular, have always offered strong support. Schools operated by the International Schools Partnership are taking concrete steps to improve provision.

Whilst this article is focused mainly on new schools, we have also included schools that have substantially grown their SEND support in the past 3 years and who have had an active role in encouraging inclusion for Students of Determination. asked each school group to provide further details about their provision.


Abu Dhabi

Aspen Heights British School

Curriculum: British
No of Students with SEND: 23 (6 Wave 3 and 17 Wave 2)
Ages: 3 to 10 years
Location: Al Bahya, Abu Dhabi

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

We are a fully inclusive school and accept all children whose needs we can meet/cater for. We currently provide additional support, differentiation and personalisation, where appropriate, to students with difficulties and/or disabilities from each of the 4 main needs categories (sensory & physical, cognition & learning, communication & interaction, and emotional & behavioural) and those who are Able, Gifted & Talented.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles?

The Head of Inclusion oversees SEND, EAL, and G&T students. She identifies students with SEND and coordinates their additional provision. She works closely with the Class Teachers to ensure best practice in the classroom; differentiated teaching, accommodations and modifications, where necessary, and the setting of appropriate targets.

The School Counsellor works closely with the Head of Inclusion and the Class Teachers to support students’ emotional needs. We have a visiting Speech & Language Therapist from the external agency in Abu Dhabi who assesses and provides speech therapy for a small cohort of our students (cost to parents).

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities?

All children are taught in the mainstream classroom with their peers, however we have two dedicated rooms for those students who need additional support. They are well stocked with appropriate resources and used for individual and/or small group interventions in literacy, numeracy, fine & gross motor skills, social interaction skills and language support. We have two rooms for the School Counsellor.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (employed and paid by the school or the parents)?

Additional support for students with identified SEND is inclusive of school fees, with the exception of students with higher/complex needs who require an Inclusion Assistant, paid for by the family. Inclusion Assistants are managed by the Head of Inclusion and guided by the Class Teacher. They are offered the same opportunities for training as other support staff, at no extra cost.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN?
All children have different difficulties and/or disabilities, therefore the additional support offered, the contact with parents, assessment and modifications made vary according to their needs.

We follow the British model whereby Wave 3 children have IEPs (individual education plans), written and reviewed twice yearly with parental involvement and, in the case of older children, with the child’s involvement. Regular contact is maintained with the parents and with any outside agencies that might be involved in the child’s educational, social and emotional provision.

Wave 2 children have a ‘Pupil Passport’ with regularly reviewed targets specific to their needs. They receive in-class support and/or small group intervention when appropriate.

Most of our SEND students have their needs fully met in the mainstream classroom through quality first teaching. The Head of Inclusion and Class Teacher work closely with the parents of all SEND children to ensure that targets are reasonable, clear and supported.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school?

Any application that has information indicating a SEND is flagged to the Head of Inclusion who arranges to meet with the parents to ascertain the level of need and to ensure that the school can fully meet the child’s needs. Medical and/or psychological reports are also requested.

If necessary, contact and/or visits will be made with the child’s previous nursery or school. At times a child’s specific needs are such that they cannot be adequately met in a mainstream school, with our current specialist provision. Each application is considered carefully and on an individual basis, and we work hard to ensure decisions regarding school entry are made in the best interests of the child, family and school.


Reach British School (an ISP school)

Curriculum: British Curriculum
No of Students with SEND: Our current SEN Register and Cause for Concern Referral list has 104 students on it.
Ages: FS1-Year 10
Location: Baniyas, Abu Dhabi

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

We currently cater for pupils with mild to moderate SEN including Intellectual Disability, Specific Learning Disability (includes Dyslexia), Emotional and Behavioral Disorder (includes ADD and ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech and Language Disorder, Physical and Health Related Disabilities and Gifted and Talented Students.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles?

Our team is lead by our SENCO. The SEN Coordinator (SENCO) works closely with all staff to ensure the effective day-to-day operation of the school’s SEND Policy, maintains a register of all students who have a diagnosed SEN, an IEP, a support plan and those who are being monitored. The SENCO monitors assessment data of all students in the school to track the progress of those students with SEN and to identify students who are not achieving academically at their level and may need intervention.

In addition, the SENCO meets with parents/guardians of SEN students to make arrangements to meet the individual child’s needs and liaises with the parents of students with SEN and includes them in the IEP process.

The SENCO provides 1:1 support and Intervention Groups for children with SEND, provides support to class teachers of children with SEN, liaises with external agencies including medical services, educational psychology services and health services. The SENCO also attends training courses to ensure skills and knowledge are kept up-to-date, ensures that the SEN Policy is monitored, reviewed and updated annually and provides support to all staff involved in provisions for children with SEND.

The SENCO is supported by our SENCO Assistant who provides in class support, 1:1 support and assists with intervention. The Assistant is also involved in the training of Teaching Assistants and Shadow Teachers.

The EAL (English Additional Language) Teacher is involved in the referral process and the identification of children with EAL needs as opposed to SEN needs and provides support for children with EAL difficulties, plans and runs intervention groups and provides staff training on the provision of EAL support.

A Social Worker is involved in the referral process and the identification of children with behavioral needs as opposed to SEN needs. The Social Worker provides support for children with behavioral difficulties, plans and runs intervention groups and provides support to class teachers and staff for the implementation of behavioral based support plans.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

We have a SEN Room which provides a sensory area for children in need of Sensory/Movement breaks. Intervention groups and 1:1 sessions are also held here. The FS building is in the process of developing a Sensory Room.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (employed and paid by the school or the parents)?

Shadow Teachers are required for children who would have difficulty accessing the curriculum due to SEN. They are employed and paid by the parents. Children with SEN needs may on occasion be accepted to the school on condition they have a Shadow Teacher to support them.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

We aim to identify students with SEN at the earliest possible time in order to support their physical, social, emotional and/or intellectual development. We ensure that there is a consistent, whole-school approach to the identification, support and teaching of students with SEN throughout the school.

It is crucial to involve parents in the process by ensuring that they are made aware of the school’s arrangements for SEN, involving them as soon as a concern has been raised, supporting them in their dealings with outside agencies, and involving them in the formulation and the review of their child’s Individual Education Plans.

Students who have a specific diagnosis are supported through the creation of an IEP in conjunction with the support of their class teacher and parents. We recognize the importance of early intervention and so have a Referral process whereby teachers refer any child they are having concerns about to the Achievement Team (SENCO, EAL Coordinator and Social Worker). These children are closely observed and monitored and depending on their needs Support Plans or Differentiation in the classroom is implemented with the support of the class teacher.

If it is appropriate to their needs these children will also receive 1:1 support in the classroom or in Intervention Groups specific to their needs. If the child does not reach expected levels after an allocated time they are referred to an external agency for assessment. If this results in a diagnosis they will then be supported by an IEP.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

Parents must inform the school of their child’s needs during the Admissions process. Any reports, diagnoses and medical information must be provided at this stage. The child is then assessed by the SENCO who also takes all reports, recommendations and previous school reports into consideration before making a decision whether the child can be accommodated and supported at Reach. There may be conditions attached to their admission such as a shadow teacher, at home tutoring and the guaranteed support of the parents in any issues that may arise.



Dubai Heights Academy

Curriculum: British National Curriculum
No of Students with SEND: 13
Ages: FS1 – Year 6 (Will grow to cover FS1 to Year 13)
Location: Al Barsha

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

At Dubai Heights Academy (DHA) we cater for a wide range of needs including Dyslexia, physical disabilities, speech and language needs, general learning difficulties and students who are identified as gifted and talented.

Can you outline the current SEND staff and their roles?

As a new school we are developing our SEND department. At present, we have a fully qualified Special Educational Needs Coordinator who is our Inclusion Champion across the school. We have strong links with outside centres such as Sensation Station who currently spend three days each week in the school delivering Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy sesions. Across the school we also have teachers who have previous experience supporting students with SEND or working within SEND departments. As our school continues to grow, the number of SEN staff can also be expected to increase to match the needs of the students.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

As the school nears its completion, we will have designated specialist facilities across the school including a multi-sensory gym and snoozle room. These facilities have been designed to support skills such as gross motor development and sensory needs. All students will have the opportunity to access these facilities.

What is your school's policy on (shadow teachers) Learning Support Assistants (sourced and paid by the school or parents)?

The school has a strong inclusive ethos. At times, a 1:1 Learning Support Assistant (LSA) is required to be part of the support process for an individual student and to help in removing barriers to learning. At present the cost of the LSA is covered by the parent. However, the school will offer support and guidance in sourcing a LSA to ensure that they have the correct experience to support a student’s individual learning needs.

The school works with the LSA and provides training to ensure that the best provision is in place for the student and most importantly, still allowing them to develop their independence when learning.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

As an inclusive school, DHA aims to accommodate all students with SEND. Our policy outlines different levels of provision that a student may require; from universal provision in the classroom, to targeted support in the form of interventions and group work, through to specialist provision in the form of 1:1 sessions.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

New students are invited to spend time within the school or if necessary, a visit to their current setting can also be arranged. The school encourages parents to share all previous reports, assessments and information to ensure a smooth transition for the student when starting at DHA. Every child is unique and this procedure applies for all students, not just those with SEND.


GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

Curriculum: British
No of students overall: 1450
No of Students with SEND: 110
Ages: 3-12
Location: Al Safa 1, Dubai

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

At Jumeriah Primary School we cater for all children with additional support needs who can flourish within the mainstream environment. We currently support the needs of children who have chromosomal disorders eg Down Syndrome, attention issues (ADHD and ADD), number and literacy difficulties (Dyscalculia and Dyslexia), speech, language and communication needs (Autism and Specific Language Impairment), sensory and movement needs (Dyspraxia and Sensory Integration Disorder), emotional and behavioural difficulties (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), sensory impairment (hearing or sight loss) and physical disabilities arising from cerebral palsy, or surgery.

Can you outline the current SEND staff and their roles?

We have a team of 9 staff which includes Sue Padmore - Head of Inclusion, Roisin Duffy – Head of Dyslexia Unit (DU), Nadine de Mascarel – Head of Well Being (Clinical Psychologist), Olivia Gavin – Well Being Teacher (Clinical Psychologist), Nichola Bell – Dyslexia Teacher, Rebecca Baxter – Dyslexia Teacher, Afshan Haidery – Dyslexia Teacher, Deborah Scott – Dyscalculia Teacher and Farah El Sayed – Dyscalculia Teacher. We also have a team of visiting therapists including Michelle Tolan – Speech and Language Therapist, Gorange Ganpule – Occupational Therapist and Flavia Leal - Visiting Occupational Therapist.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

The following support is available: Dyslexia Unit, Dyscalculia Unit, Learning Support Assistants for individual children, Enrichment Programme, Well-Being support with Well-Being staff, MA, G & T through mainstream planning, Gifted teaching with Teacher for Gifted children, Specific English Language Learner support groups, The Listening Programme and liaison with Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists through KidsFirst including focused motor skills groups.
Peripatetic Outside Agencies in JPS include Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and ABA Therapy.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (are they employed and paid by the school or by the parents)?

Our Learning Support Assistants are hired by the school and paid for by the parents.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

Jumeirah Primary School has an inclusive ethos and is committed to providing high quality education to all the children who attend the school. The school has high expectations of effort and success from all children. We believe that our children, including those identified as having "additional needs" have a common entitlement to a broad and balanced academic and social curriculum, which is accessible to them, and to be fully included in all aspects of school life.

Jumeirah Primary School is committed to inclusion. Part of the school’s strategic planning for improvement is to develop cultures, policies and practices that include all learners. We aim to engender a sense of community and belonging, and to offer new opportunities to learners who may have experienced previous difficulties.

This does not mean that we will treat all learners in the same way, but that we will respond to learners in ways which take account of their varied life experiences and needs. We believe that educational inclusion is about equal opportunities for all learners, whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, impairment, attainment and background.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

All applicants to Jumeirah Primary School are managed through the same process. Once a child reaches the top of the waiting list, if they have additional educational needs, their application will be referred to the Head Of Inclusion. The child may then be assessed or observed and there will be a meeting with parents. The purpose of this is to have in place the support required to make the placement work should the child join the school. Conditional offers can be made depending on the support required. Information of past and/or present developmental/learning and/or medical conditions must be disclosed to Jumeirah Primary School on application. This includes information about primary and secondary language/s.


GEMS Metropole School

Curriculum: British National Curriculum
No of students overall: 3017
No of Students with SEND: Students receiving intervention support through Individualised Education Plans and 1:1 support, amounts to 112
Ages: 3 years – 16 years
Location: Motor City, Dubai

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

As we are a Social model, we accept applications from all Students of Determination and assess each individual case against their individual needs. If we are able to meet the Students needs and requirements, placement is offered. Depending on the needs of the student a Learning Support Assistant may be required.

We currently have varying needs within Metropole, to name a few, we have students with: Hearing impairments, Cerebral Palsy, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia, Downs Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Global Development Delays, Epilepsy...etc.

In addition, we have an Autism Centre within our school run by Small Steps. 1 to 1 individualized ABA programmes are developed by their onsite Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. The Centre works with the Metropole Inclusive Education Action Team and teachers in developing the students to become school ready and integrate into the mainstream classroom.

We further support students where English is their Additional Language (EAL) or those new to English (ELL.)

Can you outline the current SEND staff and their roles?

The Inclusive Education Action Team consists of 6 Inclusion Specialist Teachers and a Head of Department overseeing Inclusion support from Foundation Stage – Key stage 4 and working together with the Small Steps Centre.

The Inclusion Specialists provide 1 to 1 support for Students of Determination, small group support and/or in-class support. They also lead the writing of Individualized Education Plans with class teachers, parents and where appropriate, students.

Small Steps consists of an Occupational Therapist, a Speech and Language Therapist, 1 BCBA and 11 Registered Behaviour technicians who work with the student’s Individualized Applied Behaviour program. We have Learning Support Assistants that support with some of our Students of Determination with their educational and social needs.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

We have an Inclusion Specialist based in Foundation stage offering 1:1 support, in class support and small group intervention groups. In Key stage 1, Key stage 2 and Key stage 3 we have an Inclusion Specialist per Key stage who offers in class support, 1:1 support, small group support, assessment/test support and social skill development support.

In key stage 4 we have in an Inclusion Specialist who offers support within an Adapted Curriculum as well as support to students writing GCSE’s.

Small Steps has 3 designated rooms where 11 Registered Behaviour technicians support individual students with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to work with their Individualized Applied Behaviour Analysis program. Occupational therapy and Speech and Language therapy occurs within one of the classrooms.

We have a Therapy room for any external therapists to work with students on the school premises so that students do not have to miss extended time going outside of school for essential therapy sessions.

We currently have one student counsellor supporting students across the school as well as running small Social Skills groups within Key stage 1.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers?

Currently we have 29 Learning Support Assistants within Metropole and they work with Wave 3 Students of Determination. The parents fund this support, in line with the GEMS Policy.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

As a Social model, Students of Determination within GEMS Metropole School do not require a formal diagnosis in order for Inclusion Support to be offered. At GEMS Metropole School we believe in providing the best possible provisions for students of all abilities and value the individuality, talents and gifts of all our students.

We plan our teaching and learning so that each student can aspire to the highest level of personal achievement. We believe recognition of all achievements made, no matter how insignificant they may seem to others, is a great motivator for students.

It is essential that we provide an environment in which students feel supported and cared for. We want to instil self confidence in accordance with the school’s ethos and give all students full access to all areas of learning through differentiating, adapting and modifying the curriculum. Diversity is an asset and teachers will strive to ensure all students reach their full potential, irrespective of culture, nationality, age or ability, both for their self-fulfilment and for their eventual development into active and responsible adults.

English Language Learners and Learners with Additional Needs have a voice and need to be seen as valued contributors to the school community. Each Wave 3 student receives an Individualized Education Plan that is a team collaboration of parent, teacher, LSA, Inclusion Specialist, External Therapist and/or Counsellor.

Small Steps provide all the associated staff (Applied Behaviour Analysts, Programme supervisors and therapists, as well as Speech and Language therapists and Occupational Therapists) needed for a targeted and fully supported treatment in order for the child to be taught more consistently all the essential skills, such as Communication, Play Skills, Social Interaction Skills, Self-Help Skills, Academic Skills etc.

The programme is designed especially for the child’s needs taking under consideration their strengths and areas for development as well as the family’s individual needs. Small Steps use techniques derived from Applied Behaviour Analysis research and ultimately work to integrate the student into GEMS Metropole School mainstream provision when ready.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

Parents can apply online or directly through the Admissions office at GEMS Metropole School. The application procedure is the same for all students. It is extremely important that parents share any current or past Therapy reports and information, previous IEP’s, concerns and history of learning difficulties, so that we can make an informed judgment about meeting the student’s needs.


Newlands School

Curriculum: UK
No of students overall: 281
No of Students with SEND: 16
Ages: 3-11 years
Location: Warqaa 1, Mirdiff

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

The school supports students with special needs across the KHDA categories, specifically for those with mild to moderate learning difficulties, by addressing gaps in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, mild dyslexia and dyspraxia, certain forms of autism, mobility difficulties and manageable difficulties in hearing and sight.

Learning diversity is recognised and designed to meet the need of all its students, including those with disabilities, those with special educational needs, those from all cultural backgrounds and students with English as an Additional Language.

Can you outline the current SEND staff and their roles?

The school recognises the importance of and is committed to offering a broad and balanced curriculum that is based on the principles of effective whole – school policies and whole school involvement. As such, all teachers are responsible and accountable for the learning and progress of all the children in their class and all teachers are teachers of children with special educational needs. The SENCo in collaboration with parents and teachers plan the best possible support for these students.

Members of the Senior Management Team - The Principal, The Head of Early Years and the SENCo have a background in special education and work together to co-ordinate resources and strategies for interventions. At Newlands School, the SENCo also acts as the Inclusion Champion and has the key role of promoting inclusive ideas and modelling approaches that support the development of inclusive attitudes and methods by motivating others to share in this experience

The Inclusive Education Action team conducts ongoing assessments and interventions to ensure that all students benefit from the curriculum and can perform to their potential.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

There is one SEN resource room that is well stocked with learning resources as well as sensory stimulating items. There is an activity room in the EYFS corridor and an EAL room in the room by the library. Most interventions take place in class, with specific catch- up breakfast and lunch clubs to help close the learning gap.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (are they employed and paid by the school or by the parents)?

Our SEN support after school is free of charge and Learning Support Assistants are recommended only for those SEN students who require rigorous and continuous one to one support. The cost of a Learning Support Assistant is tailored to the specific needs of the child and is charged to the parents – we do our best to employ an LSA between 2 children so that the costs to the parent are minimised and so that the LSA is actively engaged in supporting learning rather then being what was once called a ‘shadow’.

The school interviews and hires Learning Support Assistants to ensure competence in managing the student’s needs and supporting his/her learning in a way that is reflective of Newlands ethos. All LSA’s have Professional Development with the whole school weekly training but also with the Senior Management team who are all very experienced and qualified in Special Educational Needs.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

Every class has students with a variety of abilities that classroom teachers take into account when planning their lessons. This continuous cycle of planning, teaching and assessing ensures that the majority of children will learn and progress within these arrangements. This promotes and provides equality of opportunity for all students and those whose overall attainments or attainment in specific subjects fall significantly outside the expected range may have special educational needs.

A Three-Tiered System of Instruction is used for the identification and support of students with learning needs, so all students can benefit from quality instruction and can get the help they need, without unnecessary labels of SEN.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

The school adopts a non-discriminatory procedure by assessing and meeting individual student needs. The qualified special education staff conduct tests at admissions and any special needs raised by parents are discussed to clarify expectations and potential support. Special needs in itself does not prevent any student from taking up a place in the school


Nibras International School (an ISP school)

Curriculum: American Curriculum (AERO - Common Core)
No of Students with SEND: 46 (according to last KHDA report)
Ages: 4 - 17 Years (KG - Grade 12)
Location: Dubai Investment Park

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

We cater for all students with special needs. At Nibras International School (NIS) we promote an inclusive ethos and value all students with Special Education Needs . We have students with a range of Special Educational Needs and their types of need are identified according to the KHDA framework and are recorded on our iCAN Register. At NIS we currently have students with: General & Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech & Language disorders, Communication & Interaction – Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), Social -Emotional difficulties and medical conditions .

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles?

iCAN co-ordinates the SEN Provision within the school between teachers, counselor, nurses and students. iCAN co-ordinates with external agencies & parents when required. The iCAN Team consists of the SENCo and the SEN Teacher. iCAN Team members form a part of the the student support team(SST). The SST has a variety of specialist staff that work together to meet the needs of all students in NIS.

In addition to the iCAN Team members, our student support team includes: School Counsellor & Head of Learning Support; Social Care Teacher, EAL Support Coordinator, & Middle/High School Supervisor.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

The SEN facility at NIS is called iCAN (inclusion Center for Academic Needs). All children with SEN are taught in the mainstream classroom with their peers. iCAN has a a dedicated room with a variety of resources to boost academic & motor skills as well as a sensory tent. There is a dedicated EAL support classroom. There is a school counsellor room.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (employed and paid by the school or the parents)?

Learning Support Assistants (LSA) are contractually employed by the parents. Observations with feedback, meetings, and opportunities for professional development are provided by the team at no additional cost to the family or LSA.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

All students on the iCAN register have an IEP and receive support from an iCAN Team Member. All students in iCAN have an external assessment. All students at NIS are included in the classroom and support is tailored based on their area of need.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

Any application that has information indicating a special need is reviewed by the SENCo. The SENCo will meet with the parents to discuss the area(s) of need and review the reports. The SENCo will also meet with the child with special needs. Educational psychology reports are always requested in cases where the child is considered to have a high level of need.

Based on the individual child's area of need, the SENCo assess what support systems will be required to support the needs of the child. There may be circumstances where we are unable to meet the needs of a student. We reserve the right to reject an application if the individual needs of an applicant are so great that they cannot be met by our provision and this decision would be made in the best interests of all concerned.


Oaktree Primary School

Curriculum: British
No of Students with SEND: 20
Ages: 3-9
Location: Asayel Street, Al Qouz 4

Which SEND do you currently cater for / accept in your school?

We have a range of children with different disabilities. Based on the KHDA Categories, they are as follows:
SpLD (dysgraphia, dyslexia and dyspraxia),
Behavior Social and Emotional (ADHD, eating disorders)
Sensory (visual impairment)
Medical conditions (epilepsy)
Speech and Language Disorder (Global Language Disorder, Expressive and Receptive Language Disorder)
Communication and interaction (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

Can you outline the current SEND staff and their roles?

We have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator, who is also our Inclusion Champion, a SEN TA and nine LSAs (Learning Support Assistants)

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

We have a multisensory dark room. The room has painted black walls, a tall lava lamp, four coloured spotlights and multiple shape lamps. We also have bean bags and sensory dough and play foam.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (sourced and provided by the school or the parents)?

All LSAs are hired by the parents after they’ve been interviewed by the SENCo. The school requests a copy of the contract between the parents and the LSA and an updated police clearance report before the LSA’s starting date. The school also holds the right for a performance management evaluation for every LSA on campus, three times a year.

The school requires that the LSAs attend all training sessions and professional development sessions at school. The SENCo may help by sending some qualified LSA CVs to some parents who are searching.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

We believe that very child is different and they each have his/ her own individual differences. We also believe that differentiation is key to setting up our children to succeed. We aim to promote resilience in our SEN children so they get more empowered to do their best and overcome their difficulties. Our children have the right to learn and we will do everything in our power to make their learning journey an enjoyable one.

Our children are entitled to the following levels of provision:
Quality First Inclusive Teaching Provision (QFT)
All children are entitled to quality first inclusive provision. This may include Differentiated lesson planning, LSA support (in class), Differentiated resources, Access arrangements for assessments (modification and accommodations) as required.
2) SEN support 2 (SS2) - This may include the above, plus one or more of the following; Targeted LSA support within the classroom, Wave 2 catch-up interventions, maybe outside the regular classroom (these can be 1:1 or small groups), Counselling/Well-Being support, may have an individual learning plan (this may be for Gifted and Talented as well).
3) SEN support 3 (SS3) - This may include some of the above, plus one or more of the following: External assessment/input e.g. EP, OT, Speech and language therapist, developmental pediatrician, audiologist, ABA therapist. The employment of an LSA. This is paid for by the parents.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

Applying to join Oaktree can happen on line, booking appointments or walk-ins. We welcome all inquiries. Children with SEN come in for an initial assessment with the SENCo and are then requested to come in for a playdate with a designated class. Meanwhile we review the reports that the parents provide us with and compare them with the observational notes we have written. This will enable us to create the best plan to serve the new children who join Oaktree Primary.

Taaleem Schools (Dubai British School, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, Greenfield Community School, Jumeira Baccalaureate School, Raha International School, Abu Dhabi and Uptown School)

Taaleem schools offer high quality fully inclusive learning environments and support the belief that each child is entitled to a curriculum that facilitates their individual development and provides support whether it be academic, social or emotional to allow students to achieve their full academic potential. 

Taaleem has been at the forefront of developing an inclusive ethos in its schools.

No of students overall: 9000 (across all Taaleem Schools)
No of Students with SEND: Over 700 students in Taaleem schools have an identified SEND.
Ages: 3-18

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school?

All types of SEND – we have a range of needs in Taaleem school from dyslexia to cerebral palsy, Down’s, ADHD and Hearing Impairment as well as Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Autism, Speech and language disorder and general learning difficulties.

Can you outline the current SEND staff and their roles?

Taaleem employs a team of specialist staff with qualifications and experience in SEND. All schools have access to a range of professionals including an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Counsellors and Occupational Therapist. The schools adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to working to ensure correct identification and tailored interventions are put in place to remove any barriers to learning and support the needs and welfare of our students.

Can you describe your specialist SEND facilities?

Each school has a number of SEND teaching spaces including therapy rooms and mindfulness spaces. Each school also has a designated Counsellors office to support the wellbeing of our students. Furthermore, Taaleem reviews the accessibility if each school annually to ensure all students have equal access to the facilities. Classrooms are adapted and modified according to the needs of the child and staff are proactive in adjusting the learning environment to create a safe yet stimulating space for learners.

What is your school's policy on shadow teachers (are they employed and paid by the school or by the parents)?

Wherever possible, we support student learning through a team of highly skilled Learning Support Assistants employed by the school.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEND?

Prior to a child with SEND starting at the school we begin the process of working with parents and the student to understand what their needs are whether they be academic, social or emotional. We then start the process of modifying and adapting the curriculum where necessary and training staff to ensure the child and the family feel fully supported and involved in their child’s education from the moment they step through the door.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND child at your school?

The application procedure is the same for any student applying for a place in a Taaleem school. Having a SEND is not a barrier to admission and there are no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ assessments – merely an opportunity to gather information about a students’ strengths and weaknesses to inform provision.

Unfortunately, the lack of recent inspection reports for the other emirates have made it difficult to provide objective and externally measured information for schools located outside Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In general, we are aware that schools within the GEMS Group offer SEND provision at all schools and that many schools following the UK curriculum include  the provision of support for children with SEND in line with UK and UAE school regulatory requirements.

The original Guide to SEN 2014 can be found here.  This contains detailed information about diagnoses and Q and A's with specialists in the field.

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