We find out more about Overseas Family School’s continuous push for greater educational inclusion from its Head of Inclusive Education & Therapy.
Although Overseas Family School (OFS) is already known as one of the most inclusive international schools in Singapore, it’s not resting on its laurels just yet. The school continues to promote inclusive education by expanding its Learning Support and Integrated Therapy services. Now, the whole OFS community – teachers and students alike – have access to learning support specialists and therapists.
We had the chance to speak to Alison Ford, OFS’ Head of Inclusive Education & Therapy, to find out how this move addresses the learning diversity needs among OFS students.
Hi Alison, can you share with us what support and therapy services are available at OFS?
OFS offers Learning Support, Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and social-emotional counselling. These are offered on top of our inclusive mainstream learning environment.
What sparked the initiative for the school to expand these support and therapy services?
The initiative was launched as a response to the needs within our school as well as the wider international community.
We noticed that many students are attending academic support or therapy sessions after school, usually in the evenings and weekends. This can be tiring for them, especially after a long day at school. We recognise the need for them to have protected free time to decompress, and to do all the things that they enjoy doing.
Additionally, we also understand that seeking external support places extra time demands on busy families. Parents often have to shuttle their children to-and-fro therapy appointments and this takes away quality family time.
This is why the school took the initiative to expand our offerings, which we are confident can benefit both our students and their families.
What do these support and therapy services entail?
OFS’ Learning Support Department provides assistance to students who are able to access the education taking place, but need adjustments to support them to reach their full potential. This may include supporting students with writing difficulties to use laptops for examinations, or arranging additional support sessions for students who may need it.
How are these support and therapy services offered in OFS?
Our learning support and therapy sessions are delivered within the school day at an agreed time on a push-in or withdrawal basis. This can be on an individual, paired, or small group basis to focus on identified goals.
Our learning support specialists and therapists also provide professional development for teachers, as well as advice and guidance for parents. We believe this collaborative approach helps to improve outcomes not just for our students who have additional support needs, but the wider student body as well.
Tell us more about the collaboration between the learning support specialists, therapists, and teachers.
Teachers from all grade levels are supported by our team of specialists and therapists, including Nurture Specialists in Kindergarten and Elementary School, as well as Student Welfare Advisors in Middle and High School. This ensures each student who needs an individualised learning plan receives specific accommodations, modifications, and interventions tailored to assist them with academic, emotional, physical, or developmental challenges.
With advice and help from the specialists and therapists, our teachers can then modify lessons and teaching methods to better meet our students’ learning styles. This helps them remove environmental and physical barriers to learning.
Thank you for sharing with us, Alison!
More on inclusive education at OFS
OFS is one of the few international schools in Singapore that doesn’t preselect its students into the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP). This inclusivity also extends to its Sports Program, which welcomes both elite student athletes and recreational players to participate. With the expansion of its Learning Support and Integrated Therapy services, it’s clear that the school is striving towards greater educational inclusivity for all.
This post is in partnership with Overseas Family School.