A guidebook has been released by the KHDA, which lists the requirements private schools have to follow to make their schools 100 per cent inclusive.
The measures are being introduced as part of Dubai’s move to become a fully-inclusive city by 2020 and part of a new guide aimed at creating a system-wide change and helping build an inclusive system of education.
Schools in the emirate are being encouraged to move away from a medical model of assessing any special needs and instead being asked to create life-defining experiences for students of determination and their families.
“We are aware of the challenges and opportunities in our journey towards building a fully-inclusive education system. The launch of [our] new guide for schools is a reflection of our commitment to scale-up efforts and enable schools to create a welcoming environment for everyone. This will only be possible when the entire school community values diversity and believes in creating engaging, relevant and meaningful experiences for students of determination.” Fatma Belrehif, CEO of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA
The KHDA guide covers new procedures for admission, assessment, identification, intervention, systematic support and resourcing for schools.
Ms. Belrehif added: “Our conversations with schools are now centred on how we can make progress in overcoming barriers to educational access, participation and engagement. We want to enable schools to have a better understanding and more effective implementation of the standards set out in Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework.”
Three-level planning for schools
Identifying a common need to support inclusive education, the guide outlines a three-level plan for school leaders.
• Level 1: High quality teaching where teachers accommodate individual differences in ability, learning style and behaviour, through effectively differentiated classroom practice. Other teaching strategies that can be used include frequent informal and formal assessment, and different types of grouping.
• Level 2: Personal support and/or curriculum modification to enable a student to engage with and participate in, appropriately challenging learning experiences and achieve within age-related expectations.
• Level 3: Individualised programmes to accelerate progress or enable students to achieve their potential. This provision is likely to include the use of specialist approaches, intervention or support services.
Clearer roles for school staff
New roles will be added to all private schools across Dubai to ensure better support for students of determination. These include:
• Inclusion champion: A knowledgeable educator and a skilled practitioner who support the development of inclusive attitudes and approaches
• Leader of provision for students of determination: Plays a crucial role in supporting classroom teachers to identify and develop specific approaches in the classroom so that every student is empowered to succeed.
• Support teacher: Applies inclusive approaches within their teaching practices. They should spend no less than 60 per cent of their time engaged in activities that directly influence the inclusive competence of classroom teachers.
• Learning support assistant (LSA): Replaces the former ‘shadow teacher’. LSAs should be trained in using different approaches to lower barriers to learning, and to facilitate student engagement and participation within relevant and meaningful learning opportunities.
For more information, click here to download the full report and guidelines for inclusion from the KHDA.