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The Top UAE Schools Offering SEND Mainstream Inclusion

The Top UAE Schools Offering SEND Mainstream Inclusion

British Curriculum Schools…

Dubai British School (DBS)

Curriculum: UK

No of Students with SEN: 69

Years: 3 to 18

Location: Emirates Hills, Dubai

What the KHDA says: School leaders had established an inclusive ethos where all students were welcomed and valued. Wellqualified, and experienced specialist support staff and class teachers, successfully helped students overcome their difficulties with learning and personal development.

Learning support staff were very skilled at understanding the different needs and learning styles of students with SEND and made effective changes to activities to ensure that students could meet their targets and develop confidence.


Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school? Accept all types of SEND on a case by case basis. Currently have all types of need according to the DSIB framework except Assessed Syndrome.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? Alison Phillips, Head of Student Support (SLT)– responsible for the strategic direction of SEND and exam assessor (holds practicing certificate for assessing and diagnosing SpLD and registered with Patoss). Jackie Baxter, Learning Support Teacher. Specialist in speech and language and ASD. Cathy Banks, Counsellor. Outside services of Sensation Station for SALT, OT.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? Two SEND dedicated teaching rooms with interactive whiteboards, 1 counsellor office, 1 SEND office, 1 therapy room for SALT and OT.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? ILSAs are paid directly by the parent but for quality control are managed by the department. ILSAs are offered the same opportunities for training as other support staff and have a weekly meeting with a member of the department. ILSAs are selected by the school based on the needs of the child.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? As outlined in the Taaleem Inclusion Policy. Each child’s needs differ and as such so does the support offer. There is no one size fits all agreement regarding hours of support, correspondence with parents, assessment etc.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? Parents apply in the same way as any parent and each case is looked at by a member of the department to ensure we can fully meet that child’s needs. This involves meeting the family as opposed to working off an application form.


Dubai British School- Jumeirah Park

Curriculum: UK

No of Students with SEN: Not stated

Years: 5 to 16 (rising to 18 over the next few years)

Location: Jumeirah Park, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Not applicable

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school? We do not include/exclude based solely on a child’s disability.  We are open to all whose needs we can meet.  We currently have children with Speech/Language Disorders, ADHD, ASD, Learning Disabilities, Anxiety Disorders, Tourette’s, Vision Impairment, etc.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? Melissa Skiles, Head of Student Support; Jennifer Lyster, Student Support Teacher; Ummi Topiwala, Student Support Assistant.  All support staff provide both in-class and separate class support to children both with SEND and in need of intervention.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? There are three support classrooms: two designated for learning support and one designated for EAL support.  We also have a separate sensory room.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? The financial obligation of ILSAs’ salaries are the family’s.  Observations with feedback, weekly meetings, and opportunities for professional development are provided by the team at no additional cost to the family or ILSA.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? We follow a 3-wave model for support.  Children on Waves 2 and 3 have pupil passports (individual learning plan), which includes individualised interventions and targets/goals.  Children are assessed using a variety of tools (some standardised and some teacher-created to monitor success of intervention), and again, additional support is scheduled based on the need of the child.  All children on Waves 2 and 3 receive direct support from a Student Support Team staff member.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? Any application that has information indicating a special need is reviewed by myself with Dawn.  If a child has a mild learning disability or a minimally impactful disability and a report indicating average to excellent performance, they are admitted without further inquiry.  If a child has a moderate to severe (in terms of how they are impacted), I may request a meeting, observation (on our campus or their current campus where possible.)  Educational psychology reports are always requested in cases where the child is considerably impacted.


Dubai College

Curriculum: UK

No of Students with SEN: 34

Years: 7 to 13

Location: Al Soufuh, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Overall, students with SEND made very good academic progress and were very well prepared for the next stage of their education. Through marking, feedback and self-assessment, students understood how to improve their work. They were actively involved in the review of their individual education plans and had a voice in developing strategies to support their learning.

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school? Dubai College’s admissions policy is fully inclusive and will accommodate any students with special educational needs/ disabilities who meets our other entry requirements. At present we have a number of students with physical disabilities as well as young people with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other learning difficulties. We are also committed to supporting children with emotional and mental health issues, both within the school and by working with other professionals.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? The new Student Services team is led by Cindy Penney, a U.K. qualified and experienced SENCO. She is supported by a student mentor and works closely with the school nurses and pastoral teams to ensure that the needs of every student are met. The student services team meet regularly with parents, students and teachers to identify the needs of SEND students. We also work closely with selected local educational psychologists who advise on diagnosis and intervention.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? Dubai College is an outstanding and selective school. We are particularly suited to gifted and talented students with SEND, as well and those who benefit from a calm and well organized working environment.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? Support is assessed on a case by case basis depending on the needs of the individual student. Dubai College has never previously asked parents to pay for shadow teachers, LSA support or interventions.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? SEND students will have a minimum of two IEPs a year, written in consultation with the student. Young people with more complex needs will have more regular intervention. Most of the SEND students at D.C. have their needs fully met in the mainstream classroom through quality first teaching. A small minority have bespoke intervention programmed focusing on particular needs. Parents are invited to a termly coffee morning and are welcome to discuss their child’s progress with the SENCO at any time.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? SEND students follow the usual application process including the entrance examination. We will accommodate applicants with SEND if they usually have extra time, a word processor, or a separate room. Families are also encouraged to visit the school prior to making an application.


Dubai English Speaking College

Curriculum: UK

No of students with SEN: 140

Years: 11 to 18

Location: Academic City, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Resources had been improved and there were good links between teachers in class and learning support staff which had begun to promote better progress for students.

The school informed parents of their child’s progress through formal and informal reporting methods. This included reporting about subject achievement. The school worked closely with parents of students with SEND. Appropriate home school communication was promoted by school staff. The involvement and feedback of parents made a positive contribution to the quality of provision available to students with SEND.

Which SEND do you currently cater for/accept in your school? At Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) we promote an inclusive ethos and value all students with Special Education Needs & Disability (SEND). We have students with a range of SEND and their types of need are identified according to the KHDA framework and are recorded on our Learning Support Register.  These include: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Sensory – visual or hearing impairment, Speech & Language disorders, Communication & Interaction – Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), Asperger’s Syndrome, Physical Disability, and medical conditions.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? The SENDCO works closely with the Head Teacher in determining the College’s long-term direction for SEND. In addition, the role supports the identification of students with SEND and involves co-ordinating provision for students with SEND, plus liaising with parents of students with SEND.

In addition, the SENDCO liaises with other providers, outside agencies, educational psychologists and the examination board Ensuring that the College keeps the records of all students with SEND up to date.

The support the team offers students at DESC includes: To provide in class, small group support. To help raise the standards and achievement for all students. To praise, encourage and develop positive relationships. To enable students to become independent learners. To support with in class assessments and access arrangements for exams for Teachers. To help develop effective differentiated, collaborative working across the curriculum to support SEND students.

To assist in the preparation of teaching and learning materials for students with SEND.

To assist in the development and implementation of appropriate systems for recording the progress of students with SEND.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? Specialised and purposeful department spaces are available for supported learning including specialist classrooms with ICT spaces for computer users and access to small exam rooms.

Effective deployment of LSA’s across the College to educate students with SEND, wherever possible, alongside their peers.

Specialist resources i.e. computer software and alternative programs to support students with additional needs. Resources to help students with additional needs to effectively access the curriculum.

Undertaking initial screening for additional needs using specialist software and other assessment procedures for early identification and assessing students.

We have a visiting Educational Clinical Psychologist from the external agency KidsFIRST Medical Center, Dubai for students who require a formal assessment (cost to the parents).

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? We do not employ shadow teachers, as DESC is a not-for-profit College and therefore does not charge for educational support. However, we do have a dedicated team of eleven LSAs (Learning Support Assistants), experienced and qualified who make a valuable contribution to the achievements of students. They specialise in English, Maths or Science or they may support across cross-curricular subject areas with a focus on specific student needs.

Outline SEND policy when accommodating a student with SEND Being identified with SEND could mean that students require specialist support, specific curriculum modification or individualised planning to ensure that they make the expected levels of progress given their starting point. UAE School Inspection Framework 2015 – 2016.

Clear and concise SEND policy and resources are accessible to all staff.

Information gathered on student’s abilities are made available to all staff to help to give a broad picture of challenges that need to be addressed in all subject areas.

The SENDCO will organise SEND specific continued professional development training for staff. Teaching SEND students is the responsibility of all staff within the College, incorporating differentiation and strategies allowing all students, regardless of ability, to achieve their full potential. Our role includes a continuous cycle of planning, teaching, assessment and evaluation that takes account of the wide range of abilities, aptitudes and interests of our students. The College recognises that parents hold vital information and have knowledge and experience to contribute to the shared view of their child’s needs and the best ways of supporting them. Students are encouraged to participate in the planning and also implementing their support strategies within the College.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEND student? The Admissions Policy for DESC supports an inclusive attitude towards the application process for all students. We do not discriminate against any student or family on grounds of nationality, ethnicity, religion or academic ability. They look at applications across the ability range and will offer places for students with SEND as long as we can meet the needs of the student. Unfortunately, there may be circumstances where we are unable to meet the needs of a student. We reserve the right to reject an application if the individual needs of an applicant are so great that they cannot be met by our provision and this decision would be made in the best interests of all concerned.


Jumeirah English Speaking School (Arabian Ranches)

Curriculum: UK

Number of children with SEN: 48

Years: 3 to 18

Location: Arabian Ranches, Dubai

What the KHDA says: The progress of students with SEND was outstanding. Highly effective tracking and monitoring systems were used throughout the school to measure progress in all subjects.

The school kept all parents informed of their children’s progress through formal and informal reporting methods, such as electronic mail and through individual discussions and meetings.

A well organised system for home-school communication was a priority within the school and was highly valued by parents.

Parents had access to very helpful and appropriate guidance, training and support services within the school. Personal contact with parents was managed with great care and sensitivity by the counselling team.

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? JESS offers education within the context of a mainstream British Curriculum; all students should be able to access this curriculum through the medium of English.

Students at JESS are currently supported with substantial educational needs relating to: Specific Learning Difficulty – Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, General Learning Difficulty – working memory, recalling and retaining information, Speech, Language or Communication Needs, Medical and Social and Emotional Needs.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? In Secondary the Head of Department is supported by two full time and one part-time Specialist Teachers and two full time Learning Support Assistants.

Head of Department has responsibility for overview of transition from Primary to Secondary and all interventions in place across the school.

Specialist Teachers are allocated lead roles across Key Stages to develop and support effective teaching and learning opportunities for additional needs in Y7-Y9, Y10 –Y11 and Y12 –13.

Learning Support Assistants support the students, the teachers and the school within lessons.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? In JESS Secondary a small minority of students access a moderated curriculum with support in place from Specialist Teachers to improve access to the curriculum.  Every teacher in JESS is a teacher of Additional Educational Needs therefore every student has access to specialist teaching in all subjects.  Some groups are smaller with additional adult support giving a low student to teacher ratio.

The Oasis Area has benefitted from a capital investment that encompasses two teaching class rooms and five smaller rooms for assessment or small group work.  The classrooms are newly furnished with up to date and interactive ICT.

The Oasis team provides some students with literacy support via a systematic, personalised learning system which is based on the foundation of reading skills for students of all abiliites. The Lexia programme research proves this technology-based approach accelerates reading skills development, predicts students’ year end performance and provides teachers data-driven action plans to assist with differentiation.

To support students who experience difficulties with organisation and social interaction small group work provides a positive arena to develop independent skills, enhance social skills and raise self esteem in order that they access an age appropriate curriculum.

Some students have confidential needs, facing anxieties, health issues and tensions that require professional interventions.  They may be supported by our Counselling Psychologist alongside Outside Agencies with whom we have excellent working relationships.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? Each student is treated as an individual.   The school has a policy of not withdrawing students from the subject specialists.  Where necessary additional adults support students within class.

Students do not require a diagnosis in order that they access support across the curriculum. Equally students that do have a diagnosis may access a full curriculum with limited additional support.  Students with Additional Educational Needs have substantial and significant barriers to their learning. Every effort is made to put support and tuition in place to remove or decrease the impact on their learning and progress. Students in JESS with additional needs make significant progress across the curriculum and for many years now the majority have all achieved GCSE grades well in excess of the target grade.

The school facilitates a rigorous assessment and review schedule for all students; all students are included in these review schedules. If a student is not progressing with small steps or at an age appropriate level, interventions are reviewed and additional strategies implemented.

An individual file is maintained for all students with Additional Educational Needs.  Information is available for relevant staff on the Information Management System.

Communication is of paramount importance and there is regular liaison with staff, parents and students.  Interventions can be discussed and presented in different ways: in-class support, focus groups, use of assistive technologies and, if a unique situation arises, in-class support with a one to one Learning Support Assistant.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? The admissions process is the same for all students. All applications are treated in the same manner regardless of Additional Need. It is vital that parents share any history of Additional Needs, any concerns, family history and history of learning difficulties in order that the finite resource can be allocated accordingly.


Hartland International School

Curriculum: UK

No of children with SEN: Not available

Years: 3 to 11 (secondary to be added)

Location: Sobha, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Not applicable

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? Currently, Hartland accepts and caters for students, where possible and practicable, with: Speech, Language and Communication Needs, ASD, Down’s Syndrome, Specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Processing Difficulties and various General Cognitive Development Delays.

Depending on the level of need, students with difficulties may have a shadow teacher and are continually monitored in order to ensure that they are able to access the school curriculum.  Where necessary modifications and reasonable adjustments are made to promote inclusion.  Most students on the learning support register are in the EYFS and primary school stage.

As well as specific SEN, the learning support in the school also covers English as an Additional Language (EAL) and the Able, Gifted and Talented.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? Hartland promotes an inclusive ethos in the school so all staff are teachers or support staff of children with SEN.

The Head of Learning Support, who is also the school SENCO, oversees and manages the day to day running of learning support within the school and offers help and advice to teachers where needed.  The SENCO manages, with input from teachers: provision for students with SEN; IEP reviews; learner profiles; meetings with parents and other key stakeholders; liaison with outside agencies and feeder schools; withdrawn intervention where needed and appropriate; learning support assistants and shadow teachers; student SEN information and its dissemination to staff for effective differentiation in class; gifted and talented provision; and input on admission of students who have SEN.

The Head of EAL oversees and manages the provision and support for students who are learning English as an additional language.

There is a learning support assistant in each Foundation stage and Primary school classroom.

There are currently 6 shadow teachers in the school, who work with individual children because of the complexity of their needs.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? Where possible, all children with SEN are taught in the mainstream classroom with their peers.  The Head of Learning Support has an office that can also be used as a small teaching and learning area.  There is a dedicated EAL support area. There is one classroom used for withdrawn SEN support.  Visiting therapists have access to a dedicated OT and speech and language area.  There is a school counsellor room.  The school is equipped with several elevators, ramps in and out of main entrances, and wide doors to ensure accessibility for all.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? Shadow teachers are employed by the parents, following discussion with the Principal, SLT and Head of Learning Support.  Shadow teachers are subject to approval of suitability by the school.  Shadow teachers then work under the guidance of the Head of Learning Support and the class teacher in order to support the child in their care as effectively as possible.  Shadow teachers have access to in-school support and training.  Any external support training, costs are covered by the parents and/or the shadow teacher.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? All students with SEN, at whatever level, are placed on the learning support register.  All students on the register will have a learner profile, which sets out strengths, difficulties and strategies that can help the student access the school curriculum to the best of their ability.  These learner profiles will help to inform target setting within the class and possible differentiation that could take place.  A child with SEN will be included in the mainstream classroom and taught by the class teacher.  The class teacher maintains day-to-day provision and responsibility for the child and, when needed, seeks advice from the Head of Learning Support/SENCO.

When a child enters the school, they may be given an IEP depending on the level of need and this IEP will form general targets that can be aimed for in the mainstream classroom.  The IEP is written by the Head of Learning Support/SENCO with input from the teacher, learning support assistant, shadow teacher, parents and, where possible, the child.  Termly reviews meetings take place of the IEPs with parents, shadow teacher, class teacher and SENCO in attendance.

Continued teacher assessment ensures the monitoring of progress of children in the school.  Standardised assessments such as CATS4 are used to gauge student attainment in line with their peers and if there are any concerns raised regarding a student’s attainment from these tests then further specific assessment on literacy, numeracy, and processing needs may be undertaken, with permission from parents.  If any concerns are raised by teachers or parents, then the child may be referred to the SENCO who will observe the student in class and recommend possible further intervention, such as external assessments, differentiation strategies, withdrawn support for additional lessons to support learning and so on.  Parents will always be kept informed.

The curriculum and lessons may be modified in order to make it more accessible or challenging for students so that they can thrive in the Hartland environment.  For example, effective differentiation will take place within the class to promote the higher order thinking skills of the more able and to develop those thinking skills of students who require more support; a student may move between year groups to further develop skills in areas they have difficulty with and also to challenge them in areas they are particularly able at; or a student may be withdrawn from a lesson to develop skills that will be needed for potential to be reached.  The aim is to be flexible and proactive and, at times, reactive so that individual needs are being met.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? The application procedure is the same as that of any other child.  There is an admissions process that all children entering the school must go through.  This includes school visits, applications and assessments.  If a child has been diagnosed with an additional need, parents are asked to disclose any and all information regarding that need or diagnosis prior to assessment so that needs may be taken into account during the admissions process and so that the school can ascertain if they are able to offer a positive education environment for the child to be able to thrive.  Where possible, visits to previous educational settings will be undertaken to see progress and discuss needs with agencies already working with the child and the child may be invited in to school for taster sessions. If a shadow teacher is believed to be necessary then this will be discussed with the parents.


Kings’ Al Barsha

Curriculum: UK

Number of children with SEND: Not available

Years: All (adding sixth-form in September 2017)

Location: Al Barsha, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Not applicable 

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? At Kings’ Schools, we offer an inclusive mainstream curriculum with additional support, intervention, differentiation and personalisation, where appropriate.  At the time of admission a Student’s needs will be reviewed and assessed on a case by case need.  We currently have students with a wide range of needs which include behaviour, social, emotional; sensory and physical; medical conditions and health related difficulty; communication and interaction including hearing impairment; specific learning difficulty such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ASD; and Gifted and Talented.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? Kings’ School Al Barsha currently has specialists in Speech and Language, Dyslexia, Autism, English as an Additional Language, Gifted and Talented. The leaders of the SEND Departments are British Qualified to Masters level. The school has specialist teaching classrooms and resources.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? Across the school students receive support on a personalised and individualised basis. Where a high level of need is apparent and additional staff are required a discussion is held with parents to provide the best support possible. Students in Secondary receive support from shared specialised staff on a pro rata basis while in Primary students receive support from a dedicated member of staff, this can either be on a full time or part time basis. Staff are employed by the school directly.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? Students receive holistic and wrap around care at all stages of education.  Where appropriate students will be placed on an Individual Education Plan, and receive support for home learning, additional intervention, regular parent communication, open door policy to Learning Support leaders, assessment and tracking, personalised and differentiated timetables on a needs led basis.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? Application procedure is the same for SEND students as it is for neurotypical students.  At the point of assessment there may be additional meetings with the Learning Support Leader and/or Assistant Heads to ensure that the school has the capacity and specialised staff to support the child’s individual needs.


Oaktree Primary

Curriculum: UK

Number of children with SEND: Not available

Years: 3 to 11

Location: Al Qouz, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Not applicable

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? Oaktree assesses each and every child on an individual basis. It works with the parents and children to support each child with their own strengths and needs. The school currently has children across the full range of needs including Autism, Speech and Language delay and ADHD. The small, caring environment of the school, where each child is known as an individual, is set up to support all children including those with SEN.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? Oaktree Primary schools believes that all staff are teachers of SEN children, not just the dedicated SEN Team. Specifically thought, as the school is currently a small school it has a small team of dedicated and experienced team who work fully integrated with the class teachers and specialist teachers. Ms Clodagh Doyle, a highly experienced SEN teacher from Ireland is the SENCO at the school, supported by the Vice Principal, Mrs Carrie Hoza, to work with a dedicated SEN department Teaching Assistant and Shadow Teachers. The team meets weekly to discuss the needs of each child in who is supported by the department and frequent staff meetings and training ensure that all staff within the school are responsible for the children with SEN, not just the SEN team. A dedicated Councillor, Mrs Chene Loots, will also work closely to ensure the social and emotional needs of all children are met. Oaktree also work closely with The Developing Child Centre who are at the school for two full days a week to offer Speech & Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Each week TDCC meet with the team at Oaktree in order to ensure consistency and clear communication between all adults working with our SEN children. If parents chose to use a different centre to support their child then this is supported by the school and the school offer for specialists to meet with the teachers and carry out in school observations whenever necessary.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? Two dedicated rooms are put aside as the hub of the SEN department. One of these rooms is used for more academic and fine motor activities and then the other room for gross motor work. The school also has a purpose built sensory dark room with coloured lighting, glow orbs, a large bubble tube and comfy bean bags. Oaktree fully believes that all areas of the school should be designed to support SEN children, so in classrooms, where appropriate, the SEN team support the class teachers to set up dedicated work spaces to allow inclusive learning within the class to occur. The school also provides a full classroom for TDCC to take their Speech & Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy sessions in. Parents are invited to attend these sessions.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? Parents pay for all shadow teachers within the school. However, all shadow teachers are fully integrated members of the Oaktree Team. They are expected to attend all staff training sessions, staff meetings, INSET days and follow the school’s Performance Development process. All shadow teachers are interviewed by Oaktree Senior Leadership, but parents are also invited to be involved in their recruitment if they wish.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN?  Oaktree believes in fully supporting, accommodating children with SEN. At the core of this is communication between all parties involved with the child. A SEN daily communication diary is filled in by all shadow teachers every day and parents are expected to read these notes, comment and also add their own successes or challenges from home. This includes and area for activities from the weekend. The school operates an ‘Open Door’ policy for all parents with all teachers so parents are informally invited to speak to the team at any time. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are written termly and reviewed throughout the term. At the end of each term internal assessments of targets are carried out ensure constant, relevant support is available for all children who are supported by the department. The IEP meetings are attended by the SEN team, parents and the class teachers. Some children are given IEPs who do not have shadow teachers. The SEN support schedule is very fluid and is designed to adapt and change based on the needs of the children. The schedule includes 1:1 sessions, group sessions and in class support.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? Parents of children with SEN are all welcome to apply to Oaktree Primary School. This can be done via contacting the school on 043333911 or pre@oaktreeprimary.com and asking to speak to Mrs Samantha Bartolini, the School Registrar. A personalised school tour and assessment can then be booked. These informal assessments are carried out with a member of the SEN team present where necessary and are adapted to the needs of the child. When phoning, please explain the needs of your child in as much detail as possible, so we can ensure the assessment is adapted as much as possible to your child.

If there is then space for your child in the appropriate year group then an acceptance letter is sent out to parents via email. This letter may include the requirement of extra support such as a shadow teacher if needed.


Regent International School

Curriculum: UK

Number of SEN children: Unknown

Years: 3 to 11

Location: The Greens, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Progress made by students with SEND in the FS was outstanding. Students with SEND made acceptable progress in most lessons. Students with SEND were not often involved in setting their targets and learning and this held back their achievement.

Parents received formal reports and information about their children’s education. The school provided advice for parents on how to support their children at home.

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? At Regent, we accommodate students with a wide variety of additional needs, including Language, Social-Emotional, and Learning Needs. We operate using the same social model as the KHDA, by not fixating on labels and diagnoses. We identify potential barriers to personal, social, and academic success, and set targets to address these. Where specialist support is required, we do request external assistance (e.g. Speech and Language Therapy, Educational Psychology) and have some students who hold a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD, Speech and Language Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, and Mild General Learning Difficulties. We also cater for students for whom English is a new language, as well as those who demonstrate individual gifts and talents.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? An Inclusion Leader oversees the SEND provisions at Fortes’ schools and is responsible for the vision and development of our SEND identification and support systems. Our Achievement Centre is coordinated by the Achievement Centre Manager, who also has a certain level of 1:1 teaching time with students. Both of these team members hold Masters level qualifications, as well as years of experience in education and/or special educational needs. In EYFS, the Deputy Head is very actively involved in the identification and coordination of SEND provisions and liaises closely with the Inclusion leader to ensure a smooth transition of students from EYFS to Primary. Our English-language support assistant holds a TEFL-master qualification and is experienced in supporting students in their development of the English language. In EYFS we have a dedicated support assistant, who holds qualifications in early childhood studies, in addition to additional professional development courses. We are lucky to have four more support assistants in Primary, who are well-educated and receive ongoing support and mentoring from the team leaders.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? We have 4 classrooms devoted to SEND-support, known as our Achievement Centres. These can be used for 1:1 and small group intervention sessions. We have a host of assessment and screening tools which we use to screen for and identify additional language and learning needs. We make use of a wide variety of intervention programs to address gaps in students’ learning, including but not limited to the Nessy Literacy program, SNIP Literacy Program, Springboard, and Assertive Mentoring Maths.

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? A shadow teacher is deemed necessary if, without ongoing adult support, the named student’s safety and/or learning opportunities (or that of their classmates) would otherwise be compromised. Parents are responsible for contracting a shadow teacher, although Regent is happy to be actively involved in the recruitment process if needed. All shadow teachers must be properly vetted, and hold a relevant qualification and/or experience, as well as a police certificate of good conduct. Shadow teachers are mentored by the Inclusion Leader and Achievement Centre Manager during weekly 1:1 supervision meetings, and are supported in acquiring and developing resources to be used in differentiated lessons and 1:1 intervention sessions.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? Students are identified as having AEN (Additional Educational Needs at this time – likely to require a short term catch up plan to meet expectations) or SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities – likely to require a long-term support plan, with structured, systematic, closely monitored personal learning targets). The level of need is determined through a comprehensive initial assessment at the Achievement Centre using a battery of standardised academic attainment assessments, as well as teacher consultation, a review of the student’s history, and close monitoring of their response to intervention. A classification of AEN versus SEND determines the type and intensity of support required, and the level of parental communication and involvement. School-based support can range from 1-5 hours per week for students with AEN or SEND and can be a combination of withdrawal and/or additional in-class support. Students with SEND each have an Individual Achievement Plan, which is the result of parent-teacher-student collaboration and discussion. Parents are requested to attend a meeting with the teacher and Achievement Centre every 6 weeks to review progress towards these targets and to set new goals for the coming 6-week cycle. Progress is closely monitored using assessment for learning, a detailed developmental profile (EYFS), and standardised assessment tools (primary), and intervention is adjusted accordingly. In both EYFS and primary, we endeavour to support parents to become active partners in the process, through meetings, engagement sessions, and bespoke workshops.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? If parents are aware of any additional Language and/or Learning Needs their child may have, they are requested to disclose this during the initial application, supported by any assessment or intervention documentation they may have. A member of the Achievement Centre would then be assigned to conduct the admissions assessment with that student so that we can identify the need for additional support from day one, and ensure that time is not lost, as we are very well aware that early intervention is key to successful development.


Victory Heights

Curriculum: UK

Number of children with SEND: 25

Years: 3 to 11

Location: Victory Heights, Dubai

What the KHDA says: Governors and senior leaders promoted an inclusive ethos which was evident in most aspects across the school. They continued to develop the quality of their policies and procedures relating to the implementation of provision for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The school made use of a range of indicators to appropriately identify the needs of students with SEND upon entry and within the school. However, those systems required further refinement.

Most students with SEND made good progress over time. In a minority of cases, when teaching practices were less well developed, students struggled to make the expected progress.

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? VHPS is an inclusive school and caters for a wide variety of learning needs such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, Spina Bifida, ASD and Sensory Impairments (list not exhaustive). Where possible provision within school will be adjusted to meet the needs of the child.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? Within the Learning Enhancement Department, we have the following staff members:

1 Learning Enhancement Co-ordinator

1 EAL specialist.

1 Learning support teacher

2 Learning support assistants

2 Gifted and Talented teachers.

The Learning Enhancement team provide in class and pull out support on a one to one and individual basis depending upon the needs of the child.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? The Learning Enhancement team have four rooms across the school where individual or group sessions can take place. School is accessible for children with physical disabilities and is equipped with lifts and ramps around the school making all areas accessible.  

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers? If a child at VHPS requires a shadow teacher the school and the parents work together to find a suitable employee which will meet the needs of the child. The parents are responsible for the payment of the shadow, however school will provide training and regular monitoring of the shadow to ensure the child’s needs are fully supported. Regular meetings with the parents will be arranged to discuss and share the child’s progress and to set new targets.  

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? VHPS has an open door policy, meetings with teacher and the Learning Enhancement Team can be arranged by the parents at any stage. Children will receive reports twice a year with an additional Learning Enhancement supplement. Some children will have an Individual Education Plan which is reviewed on a half term to termly basis.

Provision of Learning Enhancement support varies and is child led, support varies from 20-60 minutes on a 2-3 times a week.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? SEN applications will be referred to the school’s Learning Enhancement Co-ordinator for initial assessment. The assessment will help to gain an insight as to where their academic abilities currently are and what additional support may be required in the school and how hat can be implemented. A meeting with parents will be made to discuss the recommendations and the plan for the child.


GEMS Wellington Academy

Curriculum: UK

Number of children with SEND: 489

Years: 3 to 18

Location: Silicon Oasis, Dubai

What the KHDA says: The school’s wide range of data showed that students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) made excellent progress in their learning and personal development. Students with SEND were actively and fully involved in the design, implementation and review of their own education programmes. As a result, most students with SEND displayed highly impressive and responsible attitudes toward their learning and were increasingly independent and self-confident.

Reporting systems kept parents fully informed of their children’s progress. They received regular reports and feedback regarding their progress in academic, social and personal areas. In addition, the school reported on progress in relation to the targets in the individual education plans (IEPs). Although this was usually formal, parents were also pleased with the informal routes that they could use to discuss their children’s progress.

Which SEN do you currently cater for/accept in your school? (ASD, Downs etc.) We accept applications from all students. If we are able to meet the requirements and we have capacity to support, then the child is school-ready and a place is offered. We have varying needs currently amongst our students – ASD, Down Syndrome, CP, SpLD, GLD 1 & 2, Physical and Hearing impairment, ADHD, ADD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Kleinfelter, Global Developmental Delay etc.

Can you outline the current SEN staff and their roles? Assistant Principal (overseeing Inclusion across Academy – FS1 – Y13), 3 SENCO’s (x1 Secondary, x1 KS2, x1 KS1 and EYFS), ACe Link teachers = x8 Primary, x3 Secondary, ACe TA’s = 7, Learning Support Specialists (Shadow teachers) = 39 Primary, 14 Primary.

Can you describe your specialist SEN facilities? We have an AchieveCentre in Secondary, consisting of 6 intervention rooms, a training room and a dedicated office space. In Primary we have 4 intervention rooms, 3 therapy rooms and an office space. We utilize the Intervention rooms for both 1:1 sessions and group intervention. The therapy rooms are used by a number of external providers for individual therapy sessions and parent consultations. We also access our ‘outdoor adventures’ learning spaces for our most needy students in order to engage them in play and social situations. We are fortunate enough to have 3 student counsellors (x1 Secondary, x2 Primary) who support students, staff and parents with social and emotional difficulties offering a range of mindfulness programs and social support groups. The Inclusion Team run monthly coffee mornings for parents, offering trainings and information sharing to support. 

What is your school’s policy on shadow teachers?  We currently employ a large number of shadow teachers to support students who are at Wave 3 requiring 1:1 support/intervention. This support is funded by the parents, in-line with GEMS Policy. We work in partnership with families and external providers to ensure a ‘Team Around the Child’ approach. We offer an annual PD programme delivered internally by staff and external providers. Parents pay for Learning Support Staff –  25%/50%/75%/100% support.

Can you outline your policy when accommodating a child with SEN? We implement our SEN policy and ensure staff and parents collaborate regularly. All Wave 2 and Wave 3 students have an ILP/IEP and well as an individual pupil profile. We use continuous assessment to track and monitor pupil progress – both academic and social. Parents are engaged from the start and formal review meetings take place twice termly, with teaching staff, support staff and therapists if applicable. Informal meetings happen regularly throughout each term. Provision Mapping is planned and reviewed every half term. Our most needy students have flexible timetables in order to give them additional opportunities to work at their ability level. Additionally, we have 30 Minute Morning Meeting Slots available upon request each week morning, 30 Minute Math Intervention/English type and read, Write Gold – 1 morning per week for chosen students, 30 minute “Reluctant Writers” Intervention – 1 lunchtime per week, morning and evening – organizational support – with selected students and separate centers for end of term exams for selected students.

What is the application procedure for parents with a SEN child at your school? All parents follow the same application procedure with our Admissions Team. If a SEN is declared by parents, then a meeting takes place with the AP or one of the SENCOs to discuss individual needs and to discuss assessment arrangements. All students are invited to visit the Academy, work through an assessment and spend time in one of our classrooms. We also ask permission from the parent to visit the student in their current school to observe the child in a familiar setting. On application, the following measures are used to help assess level of individual need and to ensure that the appropriate provision can be made for each student. Parent/Carers are asked to disclose any special educational need that has been previously identified. Each student’s application needs to be accompanied by previous academic reports, transfer certificates and any previous medical/psychological assessments that are relevant to the application including previous Provision Plans and Individual Education Plans.




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