In the final article of the series, EMMA MCKINNEY investigates the forms that teachers need to complete to access support for learners
Our final article in the series, relating to integrating children with disabilities into inclusive classrooms in mainstream schools, focusses on the second stage of the Department of Educations’ Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) policy, which looks at the role that the School-based Support Team (SBST) plays in supporting teachers who have identified additional support needs of one of their learners. The focus is on providing teachers and parents with an understanding of the support provided in identifying and addressing barriers to learning and development at a district level.
Stage 3: Identifying and addressing barriers to learning and development at district level
This final stage of the SIAS process involves identifying and addressing barriers to learning and development at a district level. As discussed previously, a teacher who has identified a learner as being vulnerable or at risk will complete the Support Needs Assessment Form 1 (SNA 1).
If they still require support, the case will be refered to the SBST who will verify the SNA 1 and then collectively complete the Support Needs Assessment Form 2 (SNA 2).
If further support is required, then support from the District-based Support Team (DBST) will be requested and Support Needs Assessment Form 3 (SNA 3) form will be used. This form guides the DBST in their intervention strategy to:
- Review the action plan of the teacher and SBST and use the guidelines (see Guidelines for Support);
- Review the table to rate the level of support needed (see Table to Rate Level of Support); and
- Review the checklist to help determine the decision on how support is to be provided to the learner (see Checklist).
The DBST puts a further plan of action together for the learner (see Plan of Action in relation to Learner) and/or school, based on the information available (see Plan of Action in Relation to the School). The plan will spell out a suitable support package and include:
- Planning and budgeting for additional support programmes determined in SNA 3;
- Resource and support-service allocation to school and learner;
- Training, counselling and mentoring of teachers and parents/legal caregivers;
- Monitoring support provision; and
- Using the various tools attached as Annexures to the SIAS to help carry out their decisions.
Finally, the back of the SIAS documents contains important forms that relate to:
- The placement of a learner at a resource centre, special school, full-service school in order to access a high-level support programme;
- Application by the SBST/DBST for an accommodation, exemption or endorsed NSC to alleviate the learning barrier(s) experienced by the learner;
- Curriculum differentiation schedule to report on the learner’s functioning level, to alleviate the barrier(s) to learning experienced by the learner; and
- Health and disability assessment form to be completed by the Health Professional for learners who experience medical; physical; neurological; sensory; cognitive; psychological and emotional barriers to learning;
Hopefully the information provided in this series will assist teachers and parents in understanding how they can use the SIAS document in order to obtain support for learners who may require additional support in their classrooms.
Dr Emma McKinney is a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. She is also the owner of Disability Included, a company specialising in disability research, children, and employment of adults with disabilities. email: firstname.lastname@example.org