Mainstream schools are more suitable for children who have the cognitive abilities and adaptive skills to access the national curriculum and mainstream learning environment.
Children with higher support needs who require more intensive and specialised assistance are better supported in special education (SPED) schools. These schools have customised curriculum and pedagogy delivered by specially trained SPED teachers, complemented by a wide range of support from allied professionals, such as psychologists, therapists, and social workers.
Children in SPED schools and mainstream schools have opportunities for interaction through collaborations and joint activities such as Buddy Reading Programmes, inclusive sports, combined arts performances, and camps.
SPED schools also have Satellite Partnerships with mainstream schools where there are opportunities for students to have joint recess, combined lessons for selected subjects, joint CCAs and combined celebrations to bring about meaningful interactions and enhanced learning and developmental experiences.
Children who take the national curriculum in a SPED school can join a mainstream secondary school after taking the PSLE. Mainstream secondary school choices will depend on their PSLE score.
The Satellite Partnerships has undergone a review and will soon be rebranded.
Find out more about special educational needs.
As a parent, you have a choice to enrol your child in either a mainstream or a special education (SPED) school. You should work with your child’s preschool, Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) teachers and professionals to better understand your child’s needs and the educational setting that is most appropriate for them. The professionals will make a recommendation on the type of school best suited to support your child’s needs, based on their adaptive and cognitive abilities.
If your child is already enrolled in a school, and professionals assess that your child's needs would be better supported in a different school, we will work with you on alternative educational placements and assist you in working out suitable transition arrangements. We can also provide you with educational guidance, to help you make informed decisions on the educational setting that is appropriate for your child.
If necessary, a Multi-Agency Advisory Panel, comprising healthcare and education professionals from the government, social and healthcare sectors as well as SPED school personnel, will assist you in identifying an appropriate educational placement, which can support your child's needs.
MOE has various provisions to ensure that children with special educational needs in mainstream schools are adequately supported.
All schools have a core group of teachers trained in special needs who are equipped with the expertise and skills to teach students with special educational needs. In addition, schools have specialised manpower, such as Special Educational Needs Officers, and Case Management Teams to plan and coordinate support for their learning and behavioural needs.
Mainstream schools also offer specialised support programmes and services to support students with specific disabilities such as dyslexia, mild autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and sensory or physical impairment.
For students with special educational needs to access these provisions and programmes, it is important for parents to share information on their child's needs with the school.