Dubai students with special needs showing progress

Latest inspections show prioritising of inclusive education by most schools

Gulf News

Dubai: The majority of private schools in Dubai are now providing adequate support for students with special needs, a new report said on Tuesday.

For the first time since inspections began in 2008, around three in five schools (61 per cent) “now operate a level of provision” officially regarded as “good or better” by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB).

Its latest inspections report — for the 2016-17 academic year — also noted that students with SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities) have shown “good or better progress” in learning outcomes.

Fatma Belrehif, executive-director of DSIB, said: “Parents are now much more likely to have access to a ‘good’ school for their children than nine years ago. This year, school inspection reports also noted further improvement in the quality of provision for students with special education needs and disabilities,” she added.

Belrehif said the improvements were mainly down to a prioritising of inclusive education in Dubai by school leaders, not so much an issue of resources.

“If the leadership of a school does not believe in inclusion, all the other process will be really difficult. What we are also looking at is that there is a representation on the senior school management for someone to champion the inclusion agenda in the school,” she added.

“If you have that priority, the school board will channel all the resources. If it happens at higher levels, it does cascade. And it’s not just linked to resources. It’s really the buy in to start with, and then their keenness to embrace best practices.”

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