1a – Purpose of the Policy
The aim of this policy is to communicate Learning Support services and their purposes. It is also to communicate connected responsibilities of all school members to include all learners enrolled at the FIS in the school’s educational programs, with respective individual support and collaborative steps to be taken as required to all stakeholders.
This policy and the associated departmental protocols align inclusion at the FIS with best practice, informed by research, and with the philosophy and principles of the IPC and the IB, as well as the UNCRC and the CIS Code of Ethics. Moreover, the Inclusion Policy complies with related host country laws, specifically:
1b – Policy Monitoring and Review
A draft Special Needs Policy was written in 2012 by the LS Department and the Counselors. In 2018/2019 this document was used towards reviewing current practices at the school and as a resource for creating the new policy. The Student Support Team (at the time comprising of the Student Support Coordinator, Counselors and Learning Support department) and Senior Leadership were involved in the review. Parental feedback and student feedback were included in the policy writing by accessing the 2018 CIS Community Survey results. This policy follows example policies provided by the International Baccalaureate (IB) on the Programme Resource Centre, as well as relevant IB guides and literature as outlined in the bibliography.
The policy review will be led by a committee and updates made in consultation with relevant constituents from the FIS community every two years.
This policy was updated in July 2022 in order to adhere to the latest requirements from the IB and reflect the current situation at the FIS. A full policy review is planned for the school year 2022/23.
1c – Communication of the Policy to FIS Community
The policy is published on the FIS Intranet and Website. Opportunities to obtain more information, ask questions and engage with the Policy will be provided during staff meetings, new teacher induction and during the admissions process.
1d – Guiding statements
To foster international-mindedness through a challenging curriculum in a caring and cooperative environment, inspiring students to become well-rounded citizens committed to the service of humanity.
A community exemplifying progressive pedagogy, innovative technology and service learning is the vision of the FIS. Our students will exhibit integrity and the desire to make a positive impact in the world.
All members of the FIS community are open, respectful and accepting. We seek to learn about others, recognising both our differences and similarities, to create a better world.
Learning at the FIS is encouraged within authentic contexts, is constructivist, and inquiry-based, develops and thrives through creativity, and fosters critical thinking.
Learning Support Mission
The mission of the Learning Support department is to provide academic support to students who have identified exceptionalities in order to successfully develop to their fullest academic potential.
1e – Definitions
Accommodations are changes made to instruction and/or assessment intended to help students fully access the grade level curriculum without changing the instructional content. Accommodations provide equitable instruction and assessment for students by reducing or eliminating the effects of a student’s disability. They do not change or reduce the learning expectations in regard to the goal being addressed or assessed. Generally, the resulting student product with accommodations is equal to a student’s product without accommodations.
Accommodations do not change, alter, or lower expectations of the curriculum and they do not alter what the test or assessment measures. Accommodations are simply different approaches to achieving the same curricular goals.
Accommodations may include changes to the following areas:
- Presentations, response formats, products, procedures, processes
- Instructional strategies
- Time and scheduling
- Resources and materials
Modifications are alterations made to instruction and/or assessment that change, lower, or reduce grade level learning or assessment expectations. Modifications are made when the regular curricular standards and benchmarks are either beyond the student’s level of ability or readiness OR when a student has already mastered the standards and requires extended learning. More often than not, the resulting student product is not equal to a student product without modifications.
Modifications are rarely implemented, as the general education learning standards should be reachable to the majority of students when presented through differentiated instruction. Modifications are not implemented within the MYP / DP programmes.
Modifications may include changes in the following areas:
- Instructional level
- Performance criteria
2. Inclusion Philosophy
Inclusion of all enrolled students is to respond adequately and positively to each individual student’s unique needs (in line with the UNCRC and CIS Code of Ethics) whether this means differentiating to provide enrichment opportunities or to accommodate individual learning needs. Following curriculum guidelines, the school supports teaching and learning in order to ensure equitable access to the curriculum across the whole school for all students. A curriculum challenging students at their individual level is provided within a community promoting care for each other. In line with the FIS Admission Policy, we support students in developing strategies to meet their learning needs, in developing self-advocacy skills, strengthening behavioral skills, fostering students’ self-confidence and by helping them to understand how they learn individually to support them in their lifelong learning.
As per the Admissions Policy, the FIS dedicates itself to meet the educational needs of all enrolled students. Applications will be reviewed in line with the admissions process to ensure that services offered at the school align with individual students´ needs. Whilst the FIS strives to be a responsibly inclusive school, it recognizes that this aim needs to be balanced with the available resources.
4. Rights and responsibilities
All students at the FIS, no matter what their learning needs are, have the right to a learning environment where they feel accepted for who they are, where they are able to access learning and assessments, and where they are about to meet their potential. In order to achieve this, the following groups have certain responsibilities:
The school, including school leadership:
- Ensure consistent implementation of the Inclusion Policy, Admissions Policy and other school policies, by promoting policies and providing training/support as appropriate.
- Ensure sufficient resources are provided based on the needs of enrolled students.
- Support the Learning Support department with especially sensitive cases.
- Ensure that students eligible for accommodations in teaching and learning activities, including external assessment, receive them
- Provide opportunities for the learning community to model, develop and demonstrate aspects of inclusion.
- Educate all students, no matter what their learning needs are.
- Create a learning environment where all students feel accepted for who they are.
- Inform themselves about students’ learning needs, by reading the student’s IIEP/accommodation certificates, and signing them, where applicable.
- Differentiate appropriately for the student, seeking support where necessary,
- Collaborate with any Learning Support specialist co-teacher or assistant as necessary,
- Provide feedback to the Learning Support department as necessary.
- Maintain regular communication with parents as necessary.
- Ensure any required accommodations/modifications are provided for the students in all teaching and learning activities including assessments.
- Refer students who may have a suspected learning need to the Learning Support department (see Appendices 2 and 3 for Primary School).
- Teachers have the right to training and resources to be able to adequately support all students in their classes.
Learning Support specialists / department / case manager:
- Promote the school’s vision of inclusion throughout the school.
- Coordinate learning support for identified students.
- Provide support for students via small group sessions, in-class support and drop-in sessions.
- Collaborate with students’ teachers to provide effective support.
- Develop and maintain the students’ IIEP (see Appendix 1).
- Maintain frequent communication with parents/carers regarding students’ progress.
- Keep accurate records, in line with the DSGVO (German data protection law).
- Learning Support specialists have the right to clarity on what constitutes a manageable workload.
- Learning Support specialists have the right to positive collaboration with teachers.
External Support Liaison:
- Maintain a list of external contacts including educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, etc., at the request of and in collaboration with the Learning Support department.
- Contact outside agencies for advice and further information, at the request of and in collaboration with the Learning Support department.
- The External Support Liaison has the right to be fully informed about all proceedings pertaining to the role.
- Provide the school with relevant information regarding their child’s progress, learning, health information, etc.
- Adhere to the FIS, admissions procedures, school contract, and FIS Home-School Partnership.
- Support their child at home with their studies, considering any recommendations from the school.
- Provide a comfortable home environment for their child, where they can complete assignments undisturbed.
- Maintain regular contact with the school, in particular their child’s Learning Support case manager.
- Parents/carers have the rights to be informed in line with the FIS Home-School Partnership.
5. Support for Learning
5a – Inclusion
Curriculum, in its written and taught form, supports learning for all through differentiation. That is, a teacher responding to the needs of the individuals within the class to support effective learning for all. Teachers proactively and collaboratively plan varied approaches for what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and/or how they will demonstrate their learning.
5b – Inclusion of Students with Identified Educational Learning Needs
Any student requiring educational provision based on an identified educational learning need and/or a modification of existing facilities or equipment can be said to require Learning Support services.
6. Learning Support
6a – Rationale/Philosophy
Education at the FIS is open to all students who will benefit from the program. However, students with diagnosed conditions and at times non-diagnosed exceptionalities often need additional assistance to achieve their full academic potential. Learning Support at the FIS provides students with resources and strategies that allow them to become increasingly cognitive of their learning and more independent.
Learning Support offers flexible services supporting learning and progress. It focuses on the specific skills which will allow all students to meet with success and uses data to proactively target where support would be most beneficial. Learning Support is provided across the curriculum and tailored to the students’ needs based on assessment data, external evaluation, and past performance.
The goals of Learning Support are based on our belief in:
- Empowering – students to take control of their own learning through learning effective study
- Enabling – students to build a clear understanding of their own specific learning needs
- – including their strengths as well as areas of difficulty – and assisting students with strategies to overcome those difficulties.
- Developing – a partnership with classroom teachers to help provide differentiated classroom
- strategies which enable students to reach their educational potential.
- Collaborating – to ensure there is regular communication among the student, the family, and all teachers to maximize learning opportunities.
6b – Primary School
The aim of Primary School Learning Support is to provide an inclusive educational environment where individual students reach their academic, social and emotional potential in the least restrictive environment.
Learning Support staff may teach identified students. This support may be offered as in-class support, individual or small group lessons.
Support for Learning means support for:
- Classroom teachers in developing differentiated programmes to suit the needs of all students (resources in shared area).
- Classroom teachers to develop and implement effective assessment to identify student learning strengths and needs.
- The emotional wellbeing of our students, within the school and their family.
- Developing the academic skills of our students.
- Students to effectively function within the regular classroom in regards to behavior, attention and academic skills.
- The individual learning needs of our students within the Primary Curriculum.
- A flexible inclusive approach including parents and carers in the process of education where possible.
6c – Secondary School
Learning Support offers assistance to students in the IB Programs in a variety of ways. For students with an identified learning difficulty, the aim is to help them learn strategies that will enable them to access the relevant IB programmes as much as possible.
Learning Support staff assist students in two ways. One is a specialized class programme (“Learning Strategies”) that meets during the Exploratory or Elective class time – where students work either individually or in a small group on content mastery and developing specific academic skills. The other is through In-class support within core subject areas where Learning Support & English as an Additional Language staff work collaboratively to ensure the maximum amount of support possible. Additional academic support is also offered through “office hours” during morning break and after lunch.
6d – Levels of intervention
At the FIS different levels of support or intervention are provided, depending on the student needs at that time.
Students requiring extra support and/or accommodations in their mainstream classes are given the opportunity for individualized support in order to achieve their best potential. Students are instructed the same level of material in their classes but with a smaller group to facilitate more flexible instruction. Each student’s instruction is based upon an International Individual Education Plan (IIEP). This plan consists of specific goals based on assessment data showing areas of need. The goals are agreed upon by the student, parents and Learning Support specialist / case manager. For more information, see Appendix 2.
The in-class support in a mainstream class is designed to support students so they can achieve their potential within the expectations of a mainstream classroom.
There are many ways that the Learning Support specialists are able to support the classroom teacher in the delivery of their curriculum. The Learning Support specialist’s role is to unpack or extend the lessons and to ensure that the students access the content through their varied strengths. Supports may include:
- team teaching
- adapting assessments, assignments, or any in-class resources
- consolidating and developing skills introduced in Learning Support sessions
- note-taking of lecture-heavy lessons
- collating example pieces of work as visual models
The Learning Support specialist observes the progress of a student who needs skills support in their classes. Monitored students are those who:
- have exited Learning Support
- have a Certificate of Accommodations
- do not have identified learning needs but have been referred for additional assessment
- are crossover students between the Counseling, English as an Additional Language or Learning Support departments
6e – Additional Considerations
Crossover EAL/Learning Support Students
The Learning Support specialists collaborate with the EAL teachers to review responsibilities and establish a plan to support progress and goals for students who require services from both departments.
In real terms, the school recognises that students whose needs are such that they would require substantial support beyond the school’s means to access the curriculum, or if the curriculum needs to be modified beyond the level that would appropriately prepare students for external assessments, may not be best placed within our mainstream setting. In these cases we would work with parents to explore alternatives.
Students receiving support from outside agencies should continue with these services but, as far as possible, this support should not coincide with school required lessons. Speech and language therapy and occupational therapy sessions may take place within the school day and or after lessons.
The Learning Support department fully understands the importance of communication for the student learner to succeed to communicate effectively with all constituents while maintaining a strict “need to know” policy that respects confidentiality is imperative.
Communication follows internal communication procedures. FIS staff is informed of confidentiality with regard to communication about individual student needs and/or exceptionalities. As per work contracts all FIS staff are bound to confidentiality. Learning Support documentation for students with learning needs transitioning out of the FIS will be stored at the FIS aligning with the legal requirements and remains to be confidential.
By working in partnership with parents we would hope that we can achieve the best possible outcomes for students. We have an open door policy so that parents can ask for an appointment at any time via Learning Specialists’ Sprechstunde / office hours, to discuss their child’s progress and of course can meet at any parent information night.
Learning Support documentation is only shared with the Learning Support student´s new school upon written request and consent submitted by the parents.
8. Assessment at the FIS
Assessment at the FIS follows the school Assessment Policy. Accommodations and modifications are made for students with an identified exceptionality (in MYP / DP programmes, accommodations only). This is guided by the information in students’ IIEPs. Learning Support specialists collaborate with classroom teachers on providing differentiated assessments which are appropriately challenging for the students before, during and after a unit of study. Assessment data are utilized to identify students who would benefit from short term intervention services.
9. External Assessment
9a – Students without EP Evaluation
If at any point the Learning Support Department deems necessary external evaluations for students receiving academic intervention, parents will be informed and must seek a full scale educational psychological evaluation or other appropriate specialists’ evaluations as recommended by the Learning Support Team for their child. These are to be performed by a qualified educational psychologist or another appropriate qualified practitioner at parents’ expense within a given time frame.
9b – Students with an EP Evaluation
For students who have been identified with learning exceptionalities previously, it is required that all re-evaluations be performed every three years. This ensures that diagnosis progress or development are current.
9c – External Evaluations
Full educational psychologists’ or other external evaluation reports must be disclosed in their entirety to the Learning Support Department. Contents of the report will be handled confidentially and used towards determining the individual student’s areas of development and learning needs. The psychological report provides documented educational information that is necessary to write an individualized education plan (IEP) designed specifically to the student’s individual learning exceptionalities. The educational report also generally provides classroom accommodations, recommendations and strategies for parents and teachers that allow for a team approach to the child’s education. Such information is extremely valuable.
9d – Fees
Considering all information provided through external evaluations, the FIS will decide how to best support the individual student. Based on the extent of the support required, the FIS reserves the right to charge additional fees.
10. Sources used to inform the development of this policy:
The following sources have informed the development of this policy:
- FIS Admissions Policy
- FIS Assessment Policy
- Access to Learning at the FIS
- FIS Safeguarding Policy
- FIS Language Policy
- Approaches to Learning at the FIS
- Approaches to Teaching and Learning
- Pelletier Kristen. Warner-Dobrowski Cindy, Coordinators (2015): Processes and Tools to Support Data-Driven Decision Making in Learning Support
- Powell William & Kusuma-Powell Ochan, Editors (2000): Count Me In! Developing Inclusive International Schools
- Powell William & Kusuma-Powell Ochan, Editors (Powell William & Kusuma-Powell Ochan, Editors (2015): An Inclusive Toolkit
- Powell William & Kusuma-Powell Ochan, Bartlett Kevin, Pelletier Kristen (NFI Design Team 2013 – 2014): Towards Inclusion. Planning Our Path: An Inclusive Audit Protocol
- Villa Richard A. & Thousand Jacqueline S. (2017 ASCD): Leading An Inclusive School. Access and Success for all Students
- ibpublishing.ibo.org (2017): The IB Guide to Inclusive Education: A Resource for Whole School Development
- ibpublishing.ibo.org (2013): Meeting student learning diversity in the classroom
- IB Coordinator support material Standard B1: Inclusion Policy – Example 1 & Example 2
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (November 2018): IB Access and Inclusion Policy
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (January 2016): IB Continuum – Learning diversity and inclusion in IB programmes
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (May 2014, last update September 2017): Middle Years Programme – MYP: From principles into practice
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (October 2018): IB Programme Standards and Practices
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (January 2009, last update August 2017): IB Candidates with Assessment Access Requirements
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (March 2015): MYP Candidates with Assessment Access Requirements
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd: Diploma Programme Assessment Procedures
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (published May 2009, last update July 2014): IB Diploma Programme – Candidates with Assessment Access Requirements
- International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd (October 2018, last update April 2020): IB Programme Standards and Practices
- Franconian International School Draft SEN Policy by Student Support Services 2012
- Bavarian International School e.V. Inclusion and Special Educational Needs at Bavarian International School May 2018
- Dresden International School LS and SEN Policy and Procedures statement from DIS Policy Handbook
- Leipzig International School Student Support Services Parent Handbook
Appendix 1: IIEP process
Meeting minutes will be taken collaboratively at each stage, these will be reviewed and initialled by at least two other members of staff within a week a dated PDF of these will then be emailed to parents to ensure transparency in communication. When saved in pupil folder meeting minutes to be named with date first.
Appendix 2: Referral Process (Primary)
Appendix 3: SUCCESS meeting referral form (Primary)
|Grade level case manager:
Before completing this form, please contact the student’s parent to inform them that you are referring them to the Student Support Department. Please complete the following forms with detailed descriptions and student work samples. Works samples should reveal aspects of the student’s comprehension/calculation skills depending on the area of need and represent original student work. It should be an average of representation of their skills, not their best or their worst.
Teacher/Administrator Signature __________________________________________________
Noticing a Student
Use this form to cite the student´s area of strength and areas of concern. In the right-hand column, cite supporting evidence for each concern and strength. These should be observable behaviors. To help you, we have provided examples below.
Please list five strategies and/or modifications (environmental, instructional, behavioral or with regard to materials) that you have trialed with this student. How effective have these been? How did the student react to these?
Please also provide observational/anecdotal notes on this student that might support building a rounded picture of the concerns.