Mr Pritam Singh asked the Minister for Education (a) how many allied educators are hired to support teachers at Special Education (SPED) schools on a (i) contract or part-time basis and (ii) permanent basis respectively; (b) whether there are any plans to increase the number of allied educators in SPED schools; and (c) what are the current recruitment needs and gaps for specialised instruction or education at SPED schools.
Mr Chan Chun Sing: In Special Education (SPED) schools, allied staff such as Teacher Aides (TA), Allied Professionals (AP) and Vocational Education (VE) personnel serve alongside SPED teachers. TAs support SPED teachers in the classroom to manage students’ learning and behavioural needs while APs take care of the students’ therapy, psychological and well-being needs. VE personnel such as instructors and Job Coaches provide training in hard skills and soft skills to enable SPED students to gain access to different forms of work.
Social Service Agencies (SSAs) recruit allied staff to join their schools or buy specialised services from other organisations, such as therapy hubs. There are around 1,000 such staff in the 22 SPED schools, who complement the 1,600 SPED teachers. Besides recruiting direct staff, SPED schools also buy specialised services, for example, speech and language therapists from therapy hubs.
As more SPED schools will be starting in the coming years, MOE together with the National Council of Social Services and SG Enable will work with the SSAs to hire more SPED teachers and allied staff. Together, we will attract talent to join and stay in the SPED sector through (i) strong professional development opportunities, (ii) career progression roadmaps; and (iii) structures to support the well-being of SPED staff.
Ministry of Education
3 October 2022