International schools in Singapore that offer learning support to students

Learning-support-ISS
Looking for international schools in Singapore that offer learning support? We've spoken to 12 schools about their facilities for kids who need extra help.

Watching little ones along their learning journey path is full of highs, lows, and plenty of tears of both joy and frustration for all parents. But while we know that all of our children are unique, brilliant little masterpieces, formal education and academia is not easy for everyone. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. Thankfully there are lots of great options here in Singapore if your child does need a bit of extra in-school support, which can make all the difference in helping children to reach their maximum potential. We’ve spoken to 10 of the international schools in Singapore that offer learning support programmes for kids of all ages…

Integrated International School (IIS) – Ms. Mimi Syjuco, School Counsellor

What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
At IIS, our students’ wellbeing and happiness comes first which is why we provide dedicated and unique spaces for everyone to use on campus. Our founding Principal and leading child psychologist, Dr. Vanessa von Auer, designed our ‘one of a kind’ Ocean Snoezelen room, that provides a multi-sensorial experience as soon as students walk through the door. The space includes mesmerising bubble tubes, interactive infinity panels, a colourful fibre optic ‘waterfall’ and soft textured flooring. The relaxed environment becomes the backdrop for daily meditation, imaginative play, group therapy and yoga activities.

One of our most popular spaces is the Occupational Therapy gym, with its bright, colourful swings, cosy hammocks, climbing ladders and a slide. It’s a fun space that improves students gross and fine motor skills, enhances their confidence and lets them learn through play. In addition, our in-house support staff have private suites to provide counselling, speech and naturalistic Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy sessions.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
At IIS, one of our core values is Community and we believe teamwork is essential to succeed which is why our in-house counsellors and therapists work together with our teachers to ensure that each child’s needs are met. The school works closely with external support services (Speech and Occupational Therapists) who are an extension of the IIS team and provide sessions on campus for the students during school hours.

All the support staff communicate with the teachers on a daily basis and we have found that this collaboration between therapists and teachers greatly benefits our students in terms of relevant support.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?If any student is struggling academically, behaviourally, emotionally or socially, our teachers are highly trained to identify when a child needs additional support. The big advantage of our high teacher-to-student ratio (1:6) in an inclusive environment is that it allows for teachers to prepare and apply the appropriate action needed to support our kids.

Teachers can immediately reassess if the learning or behavioural strategies are effective, if not, they will communicate with our support staff and work together on a new programme. For example, if a student has ADHD or Dyslexia, they may develop loss of confidence or anxiety over school work. Therefore, our teachers will coordinate with support staff to address these areas and create effective learning programmes while monitoring any changes and developments with the students.

Read more about IIS on our HoneyKids School Selector

Nexus International School (Singapore) – Julie Smith and Clive Nicholas, Learning Support Integrators

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Nexus International School (Singapore) is an inclusive school. All the classrooms (or pods as we call them) are designed to be flexible spaces. This means that children can collaborate together, in small groups or as individuals. Our spaces provide a range of options for each child to learn in a way that they feel most comfortable with.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
There is a learning support team and they work closely with the family, teachers, external providers (when necessary) and the learner. The learning support team builds teacher capacity and awareness of inclusive strategies that enables learners to meet their potential.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?When a teacher first becomes aware of any particular struggles, the learning support team encourage and facilitate a collaborative brainstorming approach that includes parent, learner and teacher input. The team identify behaviours that generally fall into the categories of memory, organisation, processing and communication/social skills (MOPS). Inclusive strategies are trialled, monitored and regularly reviewed to support student growth.  

Read more about Nexus International School (Singapore) on our HoneyKids School Selector

Bright Path – Iqlimah Zain, Principal

What are dedicated facilities provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
One of the facilities provided is the sensory pathway for children with sensory-processing needs. The path helps to engage children with various senses and creates a calming, inviting and tactile stimulus for children of all abilities. There is also the water play trough which allows children to enjoy therapeutic sounds of water streaming. We also have the Herb Garden which is nurtured by our children when they go for outdoor play daily. We keep our children engaged with gardening activities as we believe this helps promote their fine and gross motor skills. Children love the different textures and scents of the plants, which include eggplants, cherry tomatoes, lady’s fingers and lime, and herbs such as rosemary, Chinese mint and laksa leaves. Students feel a sense of accomplishment when they see the fruits of their labour.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? Also, how open is the school to working with external support services?
At Bright Path, we believe in a tripartite relationship with parents, educators and therapists. We provide small group therapy sessions, and the early intervention component is embedded throughout the day. Our therapist will share strategies with our educators, and our educators will impart that knowledge to parents as we believe in a continuum. With consistency, learning goals can be achieved in a shorter period. We also conduct regular meetings with both educators and therapist to understand our children’s abilities and also work on education plans. Working with external support is something that we will be looking into soon.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?With the teacher-child ratio of 1:3, our educators would be able to understand each child’s behaviour and thus be able to identify if a child is struggling. Firstly, before the child enrols, we meet up with the parents to understand more about the student, and a family report is provided. We then narrow down the possibilities as to why the child is struggling. We will also invite the parents and discuss steps we will be taking to help the child adapt in the class environment.

Read more about Bright Path on their website

Tanglin Trust School – John Ridley, Director of Learning Tanglin Trust

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Tanglin Trust School’s curriculum and student-centered teaching and learning strategies ensure that a wide range of individual learning needs are met within the mainstream classroom. However, at certain stages along a student’s development, some children may need curriculum modification or specific intervention. To meet these needs, we have a dedicated team of specialist Learning Support teachers and support assistants in each of the Infant, Junior and Senior schools. The Learning Support team often support class teachers in the classroom but may also deliver focused intervention programmes to small groups or individual children.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
In addition to our strong Pastoral and Learning Support teams, our Co-ordinated Wellbeing Services (Nursing Team, Counselling Department and Educational Psychologist) advise teachers and work with students, individually or in small groups, to offer more specialist support.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?Assessment tools are used to track progress and determine the correct level of support to create a personalised learning journey. When necessary, Individual Education Plans are created, which provide achievable and measurable targets that are regularly reviewed. In the Senior School, when needed, curriculum modifications are made which may include a reduced curriculum, 1:1 mentoring sessions and Learning Support lessons.

The Learning Support teams play a strong role in providing a positive and supportive setting. Ongoing relationships with teachers, the close personal attention given to students by specialist staff, and a well-structured system of pastoral care, mean that our knowledge of each student’s abilities and aptitudes is exceptional. This enables us to provide all students with personalised academic and pastoral support which is a key ingredient in their high levels of achievement.

Read more about Tanglin Trust School at the HoneyKids School Selector

Australian International School (AIS) – Kelly Somerville, Head of Learning Enrichment, Elementary School

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Currently the Learning Enrichment Teams in the Elementary and Secondary school have designated teaching areas where small group support can occur in both the Elementary and Secondary school. Being an inclusive school, the students are catered for within the classroom environment where possible.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
The Learning Enrichment team have specific teachers dedicated to providing support for academic needs. There are currently no specialised therapies at Australian International School, however through close collaboration with outside providers we are able to use strategies and adjusted levels of curriculum which have been identified by therapists.  If students have a specific diagnosis, a Student Learner Profile is developed which informs all teachers of a student’s learning needs and how they can best support students in their care. Australian International School has an ongoing relationship with various outside providers in the Singapore community and have developed a trusted network of support for students and their families.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?
Australian International School employs learning support specialists to work with students, teachers and parents. These specialist personnel offer a continuum of services to support positive learning outcomes for all students. Australian International School have a flexible learning and teaching model which allows for the provision of support in accordance with identified student needs. Students are identified as requiring different levels of support where they may be on Monitored, Targeted or Modified adjustments. Students may receive literacy support and or numeracy support through a combination of assistance with their class teacher, learning enrichment teachers and teaching assistants. Australian International School believe that each child is unique and requires a differentiated approach to supporting their needs.

Read more about Australian International School at the HoneyKids School Selector

Dover Court International School – Andrew Marshall, Deputy Head, Inclusion

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Our facilities have been carefully designed to meet the needs of our students. We have an indoor sensory space, movement and physiotherapy suite for students that require these services. Our sensory garden and outdoor learning spaces have been designed to support students with sensory needs. Our classrooms have been designed to be low arousal in our pathway 4 environment, to help focus and engage learners. In classrooms, teachers use a range of sensory resources, assistive technologies and augmentative and alternative communication tools including accessible keyboards and iPads to enable students to access and record their learning progress.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
We offer a range of support services in school including; highly experienced learning support teachers, English as an Additional Language (EAL) teachers, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and school counselling and guidance. We also have an educational psychologist on site to support assessment and support for our teaching and therapy teams. We are committed to working collaboratively with organisations outside of our school to enhance opportunities for our students. Our Deputy Head is a board member of Special Educational Needs in Asia (SENIAS), working collaboratively with other schools and organisations.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?We have a robust identification process, aligned to best practice outlined in the UK SEN code of practice. This is driven by admissions assessment, observation and in class assessment by a number of professionals. The process is led by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator and ensures early identification of need and the allocation of appropriate support. A referral is made to the service, the child is observed and/or assessed, parents are advised of the level of support required and the intervention is implemented. A regular review is carried out in line with the child’s individual learning plan, which is created in collaboration with parents, the child and the school.

Read more about Dover Court International School

Stamford American International School (SAIS) – Dr. Joan Schumann, PhD, Director of Student Support Services

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
At Stamford, we have robust team of multi-disciplinary professionals comprised of Academic Support and Extension Teachers, School Counselors, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Therapists, Behavioural Specialists, Special Education Teachers, as well as in-class Support Teachers. Utilizing a multi-tiered system of support, our services increase and decrease according to the needs of each child.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
Throughout the year, parents, teachers, and specialists work collaboratively to identify and support students with all aspects of their development thus supporting the whole child as they proceed through their educational experience. Just as we collaborate internally with classroom teachers, we regularly liaise with outside providers in order to effectively support students for success in school. As case managers, we serve as a the primary liaison between school, family and all other adults working to support the child.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?
As a school, we which proactively identify students who may require additional assistance in order to meet school expectations. If a child is struggling, we use early indication systems to provide immediate support through collaborative problem solving, research-based interventions, and progress monitoring tools to ensure our effectiveness. We have also developed an intensive support program which employs a multi-disciplinary and team-based approach to support students with moderate to severe disabilities. As a school which values diversity, students are included in the mainstream classroom to the maximum extent possible while also providing separate spaces for learning when appropriate.

Read more about SAIS on the HoneyKids School Selector

Blue House – Sarah Woon, Head of School

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Our programme for professional development training includes specific workshops with experts and specialists from Early Childhood Education and Psychology industries, who support and provide strategies for our team in order to identify and support children with special needs.

Our generous indoor and outdoor spaces for children to move between large or small group experiences as they are comfortable, as well as low educator-child ratios, translate into personalised educational experiences for children who require quiet spaces or larger environments to facilitate regulated sensory stimuli.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
We work closely with external organisations, openly and warmly welcoming their partnership with our children, families and staff, whether it be through direct shadow teaching in our classrooms, or time for specialist appointments.  It is our aim for every child to receive the support, love, attention or specialised learning needed to thrive.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?Our Learning Continuum, which references developmental frameworks such as the EYFS (UK Early Foundation Stage) and EYLF (Australian Early Years Learning Framework), outlines widely acknowledged and recognised parameters for children’s development, so we may identify if a child for whatever reason is not able to fall within such parameters. We then work closely with families and children in partnership for each child’s unique learning journey – and they are all just that, absolutely unique!

Read more about Blue House on the HoneyKids School Selector

The Winstedt School – Sharon Solomon, Founder and CEO

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Winstedt’s beliefs cascade down and across into every classroom. When you walk into a Winstedt classroom, you cannot but help notice desks of varied sizes. This is because Winstedt doesn’t place students in classes purely by age, but rather looks at everything from the social and emotional to the academic abilities of a child ensuring the best overall fit for each student.  

Many of our classes also have standing desks to provide a flexible option for students with attention difficulties, who thrive on movement in order to stay focused.

We also have a comprehensive setup for our Speech & Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists. With private clinics and two fully-equipped therapy gyms, our students are well covered.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
Nobody works in a silo at Winstedt. Every student has a personal team comprised of class teachers, specialist teachers, school counsellor, clinical psychologist, therapists and the respective Heads of School who work collaboratively to develop and implement tailored strategies that leverage each student’s innate skills and support their unique challenges. All support is fully integrated throughout the child’s education across disciplines and activities.

Winstedt “wears its heart on its sleeve” which means we are honest with parents. We want what’s best for the child and we strongly advocate this in the way we work. We do collaborate with external support services and we expect communication to be both ways.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?Winstedt classes have a maximum of 15 students to two teachers, so nobody goes unnoticed! And our small community of 165 students means that every teacher, specialist, and therapist knows every child. This level of attention and connection allows us to pick up on even the smallest change or difficulty immediately. Once identified, that student’s ‘Personal Team’ meets to discuss and develop strategies, working in close partnership with the parents.

Read more about The Winstedt School on the HoneyKids School Selector

Hillside World Academy (HWA) – Clarissa Lim, Principal

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What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
HWA’s close-knit community provides a wide angled view of all students within. Students’ progress is important as a milestone check of HWA’s commitment to learning. Classrooms are spread out to provide ample space for students to fully engage in their five senses and to allow learning to come alive. We believe that learning is best acquired with the ability to explore, and should not be limited. Our students learn through AVK (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) styles, and children are blessed with being able to interact with the natural surrounds: there is virtually no gap between the playing field and classrooms. Coupled with an IB learning environment and inquiry based learning, the framework is further supported and enhanced by the space we’ve created.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
Beside the care from homeroom teachers, the counselling team from National Institute of Education (NIE) provides additional daily social and emotional support for students who need it. Parents can request for counselling support by informing the school and the student is then placed in a monitoring programme throughout the school year.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?HWA acknowledges the learning needs of the student and care is taken during the enrolment and interview stage to understand a student. Preparation is made before class commences and teachers are well informed on all students so will be able to pick up the need for further support. Requests for ESL/CSL support can be made as a first step in the classroom before proceeding to one-to-one coaching and consultation sessions outside of school hours. Parents will be involved throughout this process. 

Read more about HWA on the HoneyKids School Selector

SAS – Cindy Watters, Executive Director of Support Services and Dr. Amanda Wood
Elementary School Deputy Principal

Learning support SAS

What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
Every classroom is accessible for all learners on our campus. All students have access to the academic and social supports they need to be successful. At SAS this means we have classroom teachers, learning support teachers, counsellors and speech language pathologists who collaborate daily to meet the needs of all of our students across our school (PS-12).

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
Learning and social emotional supports are provided to all students to support or extend academic and social-emotional learning. This collaboration occurs daily across all grade levels. The majority of support students need is provided on our campus. On an individual basis we do partner with external support providers for resources we do not have on campus, for example, occupational therapy.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?
Teams work in collaboration to regularly review student progress using classroom assessments and standardized assessments as well as observational data. We have four licensed school psychologists who lead teams to ensure all student learning need are met.

Read more about SAS on the HoneyKids School Selector

ISS – Patty Winpenny, Kindergarten to Grade 12 – Head of Learning Support & Wellness

What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
The Learning Support Team, like the academic team at ISS, is very much guided by ISS’ core philosophies of being nurturing, empowering and inclusive to prepare our students to be strong global stewards. We strive to ensure the total well-being of our students to help them achieve their best potential. This is why there is an extremely close collaboration between the academic and pastoral support staff to enable us to work as a team when issues are identified.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
Depending on the issue, either our Counselling team or Learning Support Team will sit in-class to observe, in addition to having private one-on-one sessions with our students. Depending on the situation, we also consult with the students’  parents. With this additional feedback, the LearnIng Support Team – be it the Counsellors, Learning Support Team, University Advisor, Guardianship and Boarding Coordinator or Medical staff – will work together with the student’s academic teachers and divisional principals to develop differentiated learning and support plans to help the student to cope with the issue. It is literally an ‘all hands-on deck’ scenario”

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?The learning support team attends weekly staff meetings across all the grade levels to ensure that we keep track of the students’ progress as this helps us understand if the intervention measures are working, and to modify when and if necessary. This is the beauty of ISS. We are deeply involved with all our students and their families. We take the time and effort to understand what drives our students. This thorough understanding of each student enables us to develop individual and differentiated student strategies, both on the academic and pastoral support fronts, which optimise the well-being of our students. This framework has worked for us successfully, and we have cases to show the fruits of our efforts. We have had students’ who entered our school having struggled elsewhere and who, given our responsive and targeted interventions, have gone on to achieve strong IB scores and go on to attend top universities around the world.

Read more about ISS on the HoneyKids School Selector

Global Indian International School (GIIS) – Melissa Conceicao, Special Educator

What dedicated facilities are provided on campus for children with different learning preferences?
The school has a dedicated space in a quiet area to ensure privacy and to minimise distractions during the learning support classes.

Are there support services provided at the school and how closely do they work with the teachers and staff? In addition, how open is the school to working with external support services?
The school provides support services to children with different learning abilities. This includes individual or small group interventions as per the need of the student – learning, behavioural, social etc. The school has a special educator who works closely with teachers, sharing information and collecting feedback on planned strategies, which is continuously reviewed and changed. As part of the process, goals are set, progress is evaluated, and support strategies are revised accordingly. 

The school does work with external agencies and liaises with shadow support therapists like Speech or Occupational Therapists and Psychologists as required in cases when parents ask for feedback on the student’s strengths and difficulties during an assessment. The shadow teachers give regular feedback on the progress of the student and work with the school to help the student reach their full potential.

If a child is struggling in the classroom, how do you identify possible difficulties, and what steps do you take?If a child is struggling in the classroom and the teacher observes that there is an anomaly, the coordinator and special educator are informed. The teachers try their best to ensure the early identification of learning differences in children through informal assessment, class observations, general interaction with the student, and evaluation of academic progress. This is followed by a meeting with parents before an intervention plan is implemented. Interventions such as classroom placement, assigning a buddy, more frequent contact with the class teacher, behaviour modification strategies, and parent counselling are some of the other inputs provided for children with special learning needs. 

Additional supports are provided in terms of exam accommodations such as scribe, extra time, reader, alternate question paper, exemptions from second language. Subject alternatives are also offered as per the curriculum’s policy.

Read more about GIIS on the HoneyKids School Selector