Philosophy

Here at Association International School (AIS), we believe every child matters and must be given every opportunity to succeed. We also realize, however, that some children will have educational needs or require support above what is ordinarily given in the school setting. Children also may have different learning styles. With the above in mind, we strive to include every child and to give them a full social and academic experience. The Ghana National Inclusive Education Policy mandates schools to “address the diverse learning needs of various categories of citizens in the Ghanaian education system under the universal design for learning and within a learner friendly environment for all. As an IB school, we are enjoined by the following standards to demonstrate their support for learning diversity.

The school supports access for students to the IB programme(s) and philosophy.

The school develops and implements policies and procedures that support the programmes.

The school provides support for its students with learning and/or special educational needs and support for their teachers.

Collaborative planning and reflection incorporates differentiation for students’ learning needs and styles.

Teaching and learning differentiates instruction to meet students’ learning needs and styles. 

This is in line with our school vision which states that “we prepare all our students as future leaders for ongoing opportunities and challenges the future will hold”. We recognize that inclusion is essential to this preparation and this document contains our policy on Inclusion and Special Education Needs (SEN), also referred to throughout this document as learning support.

Definitions
Green, M. and L. Milbourne. (1998) define Learning support’ is defined as any activity beyond a [school’s] program’s prescribed content that contributes to individual students’ attendance, retention, learning, and achievement.

The International Baccalaureate Organization defines a special need as “any permanent or temporary diagnosed need that could put a candidate at a disadvantage and prevent him or her from being able to demonstrate skills and knowledge adequately.”

The International Baccalaureate, defines inclusion as “an ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning for all students by identifying and removing barriers. This can only be successfully achieved in a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support and problem solving. Inclusion is the learner profile in action, an outcome of dynamic learning communities.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) as defined here includes but is not limited to:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Emotional and behavioral difficulties
  • Medical conditions
  • Speech difficulties
  • Visual/aural impairments
  • Gifted and talented students

Aims

This policy has been put together with the aim of:

  • Providing every child with access to education.
  • Fostering independence and equality among students.
  • Supporting all students to excel by offering learning tailored to their needs.
  • Equipping students with the skills to survive as adults.

Processes
The following are laid down processes to identify and support students.

Identification

Knowing who needs support is pivotal to offering it.  At Association International School, Staff members seek to identify the needs of pupils with learning support needs as early as possible.

Admission

The school may be apprised of a prospective student’s learning need by the parents or previous school, in which, case we will work with any health and educational documentation we receive while making our own observations.

We also ask questions on the application form and during entry interviews to enable us begin to understand the prospective student’s needs.

The entrance examination is another way by which we seek to better understand a prospective student’s needs.
Referral
Once a student is admitted, staff, both teaching and non-teaching ensure all students are learning and coping well without hindrances. Any student failing to do so is referred by the member of staff using the LRC referral form through their Divisional Head to the Learning Resources Centre for further investigation.  The LRC will then come into lessons and other social areas to investigate and hold meetings to further discuss this. Parents will be notified of any observations or actions taken or will be asked to come in for a meeting to discuss the way forward.

The continuous monitoring and referral of students to the Learning Resource Centre helps ensure no child is left behind.

Support

Learning Support Centre
Association International School has a Learning Support/Resources Centre. This Centre is staffed with Learning Support Specialists who ensure that we provide access and include all students.  The LRC reports to the SENCO and the relevant Divisional Head. The Head of school will be involved when deemed necessary and certainly in cases that involve outside referral.

The Learning Resource Centre, together with the aforementioned entities, determine how best the school can help a child succeed and what modifications, if any, are needed.

Support takes many forms and in all cases, we endeavour to let the student follow the normal curriculum. Support given includes:

  • In class support by teachers and learning support assistants
  • Withdrawal for one-on-one tuition and support at the resource centre
  • A combination of the two.
  • After school support

It must be noted that as much as possible, the school aims to give the student as much time as possible with their peers in class, during lunchtimes and other school events.

Resources

The school has special books and learning resources to help students learn. It is committed to make available any resource that may be needed for particular students’ needs.  Large toilets to accommodate wheelchairs, ramps etc have been factored in.

Individual Education Plan

In some cases, a student may be given an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). This process identifies a student’s strengths, skills, abilities and difficulties while setting targets and evaluating them to measure success and improve the plan. This is done in conjunction with parents and represents another way in which we work together to ensure success.

IEP’s are reviewed at determined times against targets and changed or modified accordingly.

Assessment

All teachers use different formative assessments to determine individual student strengths to improve subsequent teaching. Teachers will be informed of students’ assessment requirements and these will be followed. Different modifications, such as extended testing time, a reader, a writer, computer use, translation with will be adhered to, based on expert advice or the determination of the LRC. These reliefs will be sought for these students during internal and external examinations.

Working with parents

Parents are very important in the quest for inclusion. We work with parents from the onset and endeavor to inform them of any major modifications to their children’s education experience. Parents have to sign off on IEP and will receive special reports for their wards.

Documentation

Information on all students, including any received as the student were being admitted and their academic progress as well as any interventions will be stored in the school’s database in the student’s file.  Teachers will have access to this database, and it will be used to track student progress and make educational decisions. Documentation of services received will be provided for students with SEN. Progress will be reported at the end of every term or upon a request by parents. Electronic Progress Reports will be maintained in student files.

Professional Development

We attach importance to the teacher’s preparedness to teach students with different ability and educational needs. To this end, in- service training led by SEN specialists are held every year to acquaint teachers of best practice in working with students with different ability. Smaller meetings are held when a child is put on an IEP.

Differentiation

Differentiation, or what the teacher does differently for the differently abled student is his or her class is important if all students are to be included. Our lesson plan mandates teachers to show how they will differentiate daily in their classrooms.

Professional Development on differentiation is also done on such teaching methods.

Children whose needs cannot be met by the school

To better help a child, the school may recommend an assessment by qualified personnel.

If it is realized that a student has needs that will be better met in a specialized setting, it may refer parents to other professionals outside of school that may help support the development of the student.

IB Access and Inclusion
This part of the policy has been designed to conform to the IB’s philosophy on inclusion.

  • It is imperative to identify any special needs that a student may have before they start the IB course.
  • Specifically at IB, we provide access to students, right from the choice of course. We realize that not every student will be able to withstand the academic rigour of the full Diploma course so we will admit such students to the Diploma programme courses.
  • Also, while admission is based largely on a parent’s ability to pay the fees as a private school, we have also instituted a scholarship, The George E. Amuah Foundation Merit Scholarship to give meritorious students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do the IB Diploma, to do so.
  • Also during the admission process, the background of the students and his or her experiences are factored in to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by the process.
  • We also ensure that the IB philosophy of multicultural understanding is embedded in our school philosophy.
  • We are committed to using online courses to supplement our course offerings to increase access.
  • The Needs of students for whom English is not a first language has been taken into consideration and the school will support such students to offer self-taught subjects.
  • The school will apply for inclusive assessment arrangements for students who require it. Students who qualify for this arrangement must have a recent psychological report from a recognized institution. Inclusive assessment arrangements vary depending on the students need. Please read the IB document Candidates with special Assessment Needs for further details.

Roles & Responsibilities
Each entity concerned with the school has a role to play in ensuring the success of this policy and the creation and maintenance of access and inclusion.

Responsibilities of the School

  • Association International School (AIS) will make sure the program is in compliance with national laws regarding students with special educational needs.
  • The school will provide guidance to students with special education needs to help them make informed decisions concerning application to our program.
  • The school will raise staff awareness of the needs of our exceptional students.
  • The school will provide resources for the implementation and continuation of the Special Education Needs Policy.
  • School counselors and Learning Resource Staff will provide the teacher with all IEP’S drawn.
  • AIS school guidance and emotional counselors, and support facilitators will provide updates and host meetings for IEP reviews.

Responsibilities of the IB Coordinator

  • The IB Coordinator will apply to the IB for students’ accommodations in assessment type and circumstances.
  • The IB Coordinator will work collaboratively with faculty to support students with special education needs.
  • The IB Coordinator will provide examination accommodations as needed and approved by the IB.
  • The IB Coordinator will maintain discretion and confidence in providing special education needs services.

Responsibilities of the Faculty

  • The classroom teacher will comply with all national laws regarding special education needs.
  • The classroom teacher will participate in all required training when available.
  • The classroom teacher will identify struggling learners and refer the student to the counselor or IB coordinator as needed.
  • The classroom teacher will implement the appropriate interventions
  • The classroom teacher will maintain accurate records of students’ progress.
  • The classroom teacher with the assistance of the school counselor will become familiar with the special needs of the exception student.
  • The classroom teacher will provide differentiate instructions as outlined by the students’ IEP
  • The teacher will maintain discretion and confidentiality in providing special education needs services.

Responsibilities of the Parent:

  • Parents will play an active role in their child’s education.
  • Parents will have knowledge of their child’s entitlement/s.
  • Parents will communicate to the school all information and documentation regarding their child’s special education needs.
  • Parents will communicate with the school regarding any changes in their child’s special education needs.
  • Parents will make request for needed child studies and services from the school in a proactive manner.
  • Parents will provide documentation needed for IBO accommodation requests.

Responsibilities of the Student:

  • Students will be proactive in asking for assistance from the school administrators, faculty, and staff.
  • Students will be an active participant in classes and meetings.
  • Students will follow all Association International School’s IB policies and procedures.

Others

We will also endeavor to include students by offering them various opportunities to speak out through the student council and class meetings. We will foster an atmosphere where students will be able to dialogue with staff. Through homeroom teachers and our mentor system, students will be encouraged to value and respect each other. Sporting groups and clubs are another way in which we will do this.

SEN Policy Review

This policy has been put together using IB support materials, national and international data and best practices on inclusion. As such, there will be the need for modification and review on an ongoing basis to ensure we are meeting legislation and implementing current best practice. The document shall be reviewed yearly on in September,2016.