A recent report has revealed that over the past four years international schools have been adapting to the needs of all children.
The report from ISC Research (made in collaboration with Next Frontier Inclusion) on inclusion in international schools was based on a survey conducted before Covid-19 came along. Nonetheless, the findings are encouraging for any parents who might be considering an assignment but have concerns that an international school won’t be able to meet their child’s special needs.
Various special needs
Of 207 international schools from 69 countries that participated in the survey, over 80% have a high incidence of students within one or more of the following categories: high functioning autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and/or executive functioning issues, disabilities of speech, language or communication, and disabilities of reading, writing or numeracy.
Meanwhile, learning support programmes are an established part of the curriculum in 67% of international schools in the survey. An additional 26% of international schools, which consider themselves at ‘the beginning of the journey towards inclusion’, are developing programmes of support and want to learn more. A total of 62% of schools would like their staff to participate in seminars or workshops led by inclusion professionals to improve their skills and knowledge.
Comparing results to a report on the same topics conducted in 2017, there has been an increase of over 6 percentage points (from 53.8% to 60%) in the number of schools recognising students with mental health and emotional conditions that ‘require intervention’.
Open a dialogue
While there are plenty of encouraging signs with increased levels of inclusivity worldwide, parents who have kids with special needs will still need to contact international schools (preferably well in advance). We might add that this dialogue can be helpful for all parties. The international school might not currently have a specialist teacher or a learning programme for a specific need but, by registering their interest, and specifying their child’s needs, the parents will contribute to raised awareness. In turn, the school will be able to take steps to meet the child’s requirements.