16 June 2021

New Dubai guide aims to help parents of children with special needs find the right school

Document sets out a six-point strategy for parents on their rights and responsibilities

Dubai’s private education regulator launched a new guide to help parents of children with special needs find the best school. The publication, titled Advocating for Inclusive Education, aims to give parents a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities when looking for a suitable school.

It was created by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, as part of its vision to ensure access to education for all. In 2019, the authority directed all private schools in the emirate to cater for children with special needs by 2020.

However, under exceptional circumstances, a school may not be able to accept a pupil with severe special educational needs.

“Our schools have embraced inclusive education and we have ensured that parents are fully informed and able to make the right choices”

Fatima Beirehif

“Parents are the experts on their children. They hold unique knowledge and must be empowered to work in partnership with schools to develop and implement effective systems of support for their children,” Ms Belrehif said.

The guide hands parents a six-point strategy, starting with selecting an inclusive school for their child with the location, curriculum and fee bracket of their choice. Parents are advised to ensure their child takes a needs assessment. They must attend the assessment with their child and share information about the pupil’s needs and abilities, including medical reports.

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If the school does not offer a place to the child, the parents must be notified of this in writing. In this case, the school must complete KHDA’s non-admission notification form and submit this to KHDA for monitoring. If the school recommends an alternative learning platform, based on the assessment outcomes and the child’s needs, the school needs to apply for a more flexible provision through KHDA’s Rahhal Programme.

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