SINGAPORE – Seven new government-funded special education (SPED) schools – four serving students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with intellectual impairment and three serving those with moderate ASD – will progressive begin operations at their permanent locations in Singapore from 2022.
In a media release on Thursday (10 December), the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that these infrastructure developments will bring up the number of SPED schools in Singapore from 19 to 26 by 2027, and enhance the geographic spread of such schools.
“In the years ahead, a small proportion of about 1.5 per cent of our students will continue to need the customised learning environments provided by our SPED schools,” said Lucy Toh, MOE’s divisional director of special education needs.
“Parents of these children can be assured that their children will continue to have access to an affordable and high-quality education.”
4 new schools for students who have ASD with intellectual impairment
Between 2017 and 2019, MOE had worked with various social service agencies – AWWA, Autism Association Singapore (AAS), Rainbow Centre and Metta Welfare Association (MWA) – to set up four new SPED schools for students who have ASD with intellectual impairment.
These four SPED schools will begin operations at their respective permanent sites between 2022 and 2024. Each school will provide 25 school places per year and will have an eventual total capacity of 300 places.
Students at the four schools will have access to the full range of the six core learning domains in the SPED customised curriculum, in order to enable them to access independent living, learning and working opportunities after they graduate.
Together with Eden School and St. Andrew’s Autism School, there will be six SPED schools catering to students who have ASD with intellectual impairment from 2021.
3 new schools for students with moderate special education needs
MOE also announced in 2019 that it was working with various social service agencies to set up three new SPED schools that can support students with moderate special education needs, who have ASD and can access the national curriculum.
The three schools will start operating at their permanent sites from 2024.
Two of the schools – Pathlight Schools 2 and 3 – are run by Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) (ARC). Pathlight School 2 will provide 500 primary level school places and 300 post-primary level school places, with its permanent location at the former East View Primary School. Pathlight School 3 will provide 500 primary and 400 post-primary level school places, with a new campus to be constructed at Tengah.
No interim site will be set up as the current Pathlight School facilities at the former Chong Boon Primary and Secondary School interim site can accommodate students who will then move to the two permanent sites when they open.
For the third school, seven eligible agencies submitted proposals to MOE, which selected the proposal submitted by the Anglican Diocese of Singapore, with St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH) being the social service agency running this school.
This new school will start operating at the to-be-vacated Yusof Ishak Secondary School as its interim site in 2022, providing 75 places per cohort. At its eventual permanent site in Clementi, it will be able to provide 500 primary and 350 post-primary level school places.
Together with Pathlight School 1, there will be four government-funded SPED schools that support students with moderate special education needs who have ASD and can access the national curriculum from 2022.
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