Training for schools’ special needs support teams


School special needs support teams working on referral procedures

Three new structures were created to support the school pastoral care system. These are the school management and student forum, the disciplinary committee, and the special needs support team (SNST).

The SNST is an on-going team of school personnel which undertakes thorough assessment of students with educational needs or otherwise referred by the teacher after support has been given at class level. It prepares intervention programmes appropriate to the students’ needs. It also helps classroom teachers develop and implement instructional and/or behaviour management strategies. 
The SNST comprises the following school staff:

From primary schools: the deputy head teacher, special needs coordinator, early childhood coordinator, school counsellor, language coordinator and/or the maths & science coordinator.
From secondary schools:  the two deputy head teachers, the two heads of cycle and the school counsellor.

The class teacher also forms part of the team when a student in his/her class is being supported by the team. In addition, other members of the school community may help on a case-by-case basis.

Taking part in a team-building exercise

During this school term a series of training sessions are held with the SNSTs of all state schools as part of the empowerment of the staff attending to students who would be referred to the team for support. The sessions were facilitated by members of the pastoral oversight committee in the schools division.
The objectives of the workshop are to:
• Develop understanding on the rationale for and terms of reference of the SNST;
• Develop understanding about the use of a protocol for the functioning of the SNST (a problem-solving process);
• Develop skills that will enable school personnel to take part effectively in the SNST and
• Develop resources for the effective functioning of the SNST.

Training for SNSTs on Mahe was completed on November 22, 2012 and the next session is for the teams of Praslin and La Digue schools.

In general, the SNSTs have found the training to be very useful as it gives clarity to their roles and provides a step-by-step guide for the functioning of the SNST in their schools.

Those who took part also noted that the assessment and intervention process is quite intensive and that the success of the team will depend on the collective efforts of all members of the school community.

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