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We respect the needs and rights of each member of our community. We show care, kindness and compassion to others. We are supportive of each other. We embrace diversity and celebrate individuality. We are responsible and honest in our actions. We value personal identity and a global mindset.
We provide an outstanding holistic international education to students in an inclusive and nurturing learning environment. We seek to inspire and empower students to succeed in fulfilling their individual potential as global citizens in a rapidly changing world.
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To promote a culture of excellence in teaching and learning. To provide a broad and balanced curriculum that reflects the international nature of the DBIS student community. To encourage internationalism, providing students with the skills, dispositions, and knowledge to participate in an increasingly inter-connected world. To ensure a supportive, happy and secure environment for learning. To develop leadership skills and a sense of service to others through a range of extra-curricular opportunities locally and internationally. To encourage the physical and emotional wellbeing of each individual. To use innovative pedagogy and technology to enrich learning. To work in partnership with parents, alumni and the local and wider community in the ongoing development of the school. To foster a learning community where every student, teacher, staff member, parent and DBIS alumni has an ongoing passion for learning. - The DBIS Community. 3
At Discovery Bay International School we passionately believe in and are very proud of our inclusive educational practice. Our inclusive philosophy is an essential part of what makes our school such a unique learning community. This means that we look to ensure that every student who joins our school is supported and included in every aspect of school life. We recognise that each and every student is an individual and that his or her learning needs are different. Differentiating the schoolâ€™s provision whether in terms of teaching and learning opportunities, curriculum options, or extracurricular activities is crucial to our approach both inside and outside the classroom. We also provide a wide range of additional support options for students with more specific learning needs. This may include in-class support and small class teaching sessions for students with barriers to their learning. It may also include special programmes for students whose first language is not English. At DBIS we also identify students who are extremely able and who would benefit from further challenge in their learning. Paul Tough Head of School
As an inclusive school, we embrace diversity, difference and the uniqueness of every learner. We recognise our collective responsibility to promote a nurturing environment in which all students have a sense of belonging, participation and equal access to every aspect of school life. Within the resources of the school, students are supported to achieve their full potential through pathways that foster independence and resilience, instilling in every individual the confidence to succeed. 5
Principles & Objectives
Levels of Adjustment
IEPâ€™s & SSPâ€™s
Progress & Review
Therapies & Counselling
Beyond the Curriculum
Principles & Objectives
Progress & Review
When students with learning needs are admitted into DBIS and are given opportunities to participate, every one benefits from a shared environment of friendship, acceptance and respect, where high expectations are created for all. We strive to ensure that students are included and enabled to be full and active members of the school community. The benefit to one will be the benefit to all.
Our aim at DBIS is to value the individuality of all our students. We are committed to giving each child every opportunity to achieve the highest of standards, to succeed and to foster an attitude of caring for learning. As the Inclusion Department our vision statement is: Within a trusting and engaging learning environment we acknowledge and accept the diverse needs of our students. We aim to:
Empower students to reach their full potential
Foster respect for all
If DBIS is informed on entry that a child may have difficulty in learning, we will endeavour to collect all relevant information and plan a differentiated curriculum where appropriate. If a teacher has a concern about a student, they will collect evidence through observations, work and discussions to show the studentâ€™s learning process. Strategies will be put into place and monitored by the class/subject teacher. If there is limited success, then a referral form is completed and sent to the Inclusion Department who will then instigate the referral procedure. The school adopts a gradual response to students who have individual needs, recognising that there is a continuum of provision. A student is placed on the Inclusion Register at the appropriate Level of Adjustment (LOA) and parents are informed. Strategies are discussed and implemented. If further investigation is required after internal assessments have been carried out, then parents will be informed and names of outside therapists will be given to parents as necessary.
Regular classroom support by teacher
Monitor with classroom adjustment by teacher
Support in class and withdrawal sessions
Support for complex needs by IN Team
Students who are being supported by Inclusion staff either within the class or in a withdrawal session may have either an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Student Support Plan (SSP). Targets and support strategies are written to support the student’s learning. IEP and SSP targets will be reviewed twice annually; parents will be invited to the review and it is expected that they attend. If they are unable to attend then a copy of the new IEP will be sent home and the parents’ views will be welcomed and added to the document. A copy of the IEP and SSP will be placed on the Google Drive in the student’s folder for teachers’ access. The IEP meeting will consist of the following people: •
Inclusion teacher responsible for that year group
Year Group Leader (where necessary)
Head of Inclusion (where necessary)
Educational Assistant (where necessary)
Other interested party (e.g. Speech and Language Therapist)
Students are involved in the writing of their SSP as this document looks at the learning strengths of the child, their areas of interest and what strategies they believe help them learn.
DBIS recognises the individual progress achieved by all students and celebrates students’ successes relative to their need. The Inclusion department embraces a holistic approach to student progress, which is clearly identified through small step targets. Achievement and progress of students with Individual Needs can be defined in a number of ways. For example, it might be progress which: •
Matches or betters the student’s previous rate of progress
Being similar to that of peers starting from the same attainment baseline, but less than that of the majority of peers. Where possible, preventing the attainment gap growing wider
Ensures appropriate access to the full curriculum
Demonstrates improvement in self-help, self-regulation, social or personal skills
Students who receive Individual Needs (IN) support are assessed using a wide variety of specialised assessment tools to track progress. These assessment tools cover reading progress, comprehension understanding, spelling skills, language development to name but a few areas. Progress is recorded using a range of data to inform planning drawn from curriculum assessment methods, teachers’ own formative assessment and external tests. Work is differentiated so students can show their learning and understanding in a variety of ways.
Access arrangements are put in place before an exam or assessment to provide the support that some students need to be able to: • •
Access the exam/assessment Show what they know and can do without changing the demands of the exam/assessment.
They do not create an unfair advantage but instead ensure that students with Individual Needs, those requiring English language support, with disabilities or with temporary injuries are not disadvantaged when being assessed. Commonly used examples include extra time, a reader or scribe, use of a bilingual dictionary or word processor, coloured overlays or modified examination papers. Students are generally identified by teachers or raise concerns themselves about potential difficulties in exams. Parent concerns can be addressed to the Head of Secondary. Then it is determined what the most appropriate arrangement would be. Some arrangements require a medical report or specialist formal assessment before they can be granted. A specialist assessor, either a specialist teacher or an educational psychologist, will carry out the assessment and produce a report. The assessment measures any of the following: • • • • • 14
Word reading and reading comprehension Reading speed Speed of writing Spelling accuracy Cognitive processing speed
For all access arrangements the Head of Inclusion must also produce a document that paints a ‘holistic picture of need’ which confirms a student’s normal way of working in school. It is important that the access arrangements reflect the learner’s normal way of working as this allows the student to develop their exam techniques in advance.
DBIS has contracted a Speech and Language Therapist and two Occupational Therapists to work weekly within the school. The referral and appointments are organised by the department but it is a private arrangement between parents and the therapists in regard to payment. Students attend sessions during school time and the therapist reports back to staff on recommendations on how to support the individual in class. A list of educational psychologists in Hong Kong is available upon request from the Head of Inclusion. A counsellor from St John’s Counselling Service is available three days a week. The Head of Primary and the School Nurse are responsible for setting up these appointments.
All students have access to the complete range of extracurricular activities that DBIS offers. The lead teacher or coach for the activity may request support if there is a health and safety issue. Week without Walls is an opportunity for students to participate in activities which cover community, action and service. The trips are held both locally and overseas with support provided by the Inclusion Department for identified students. 15
Welcoming students who speak over 30 different languages, DBIS celebrates the linguistic and cultural diversity this brings to our school. As such, we are committed to supporting students who are new to English and ensuring they are able to fully participate in all areas of school life.
Students learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) face a threefold difficulty when starting at a new school overseas: they have to make new friends, keep up with their peers academically and learn an entirely new language at the same time. Our EAL Team prioritises helping students in all these areas while working with staff across the school on providing effective support for students who are new to English. We place equal importance on the development of academic and social language, seeking to promote childrenâ€™s self-esteem and instilling in them the confidence that they can achieve whilst providing them with the vocabulary and structures needed to fully participate in their lessons from the earliest possible stage. We have therefore introduced a policy that enshrines all studentsâ€™ right to fully access all areas of the school curriculum, including extra-curricular activities and residential trips.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) refers to learners whose level of English is not sufficient for them to participate fully in the social and academic aspects of school life, principally because English is not their first language or they have had only limited exposure to English before joining DBIS. We recognise that for many of our students, English may be the third or even fourth language they have learnt and therefore consider the term “additional language” to most accurately describe the linguistic prowess of our students. Students whose mother tongue is not English complete a short and motivating speaking interview during the admissions process that diagnostically places the student on one of seven “steps” used to describe their communicative abilities in English. Students’ progress is closely monitored from the earliest stages of their acquisition journey using a common assessment scale across the school and continues from their initial assessment on admission. In addition, teachers may refer current students if they believe the student could benefit from ongoing EAL sessions.
Our curriculum and approaches to learning across the school provide rich and contextualised opportunities for students to acquire the English language in authentic settings. We do however recognise that students without any prior knowledge of English will require additional support; to help them settle into their new lives at DBIS and in Hong Kong, both academically and socially. Support for EAL students at DBIS takes an individual approach, with communication goals set for each student in the four language skill areas of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Our support programmes focus on fluency before accuracy and are, at all times, fun and motivating opportunities for students to grow and gain confidence in using English. We believe language acquisition is best supported through authentic learning opportunities that awaken childrenâ€™s innate language learning talents and therefore prioritise oral communication before written in the initial stages. We arrange a programme of EAL support that combines withdrawal sessions led by an EAL Specialist, with support in regular lessons. We strive to arrange withdrawal sessions at times to ensure students miss minimal lesson content. The school has a dedicated room equipped with a SMART board and Mac computers for EAL Sessions. Students are ably supported in withdrawal and in class by our team of EAL Specialists with oversight by the schoolâ€™s EAL Coordinator. Typically, support is offered in the following ways:
An EAL Specialist supports a small group of students in an English, Humanities or Enquiry session. Differentiation is planned in conjunction with the class or specialist teacher and where appropriate, additional resources are developed to enable EAL students to more fully access the lesson. Where possible, we also provide support from staff members who speak the same home language as an EAL student to help consolidate understanding and further challenge students in the initial stages of acquiring English.
In the initial stages, the EAL Coordinator may recommend that a student delays learning Mandarin, French or Spanish until their level of communicative ability in English has become secure. In place of a Language, EAL Support Sessions are arranged that develop students’ range of vocabulary, grammatical awareness and confidence in using English.
The EAL Team works closely with the school’s ICT Department and has developed a course that guides students through communication goals of DBIS’ assessment strategy for students new to English, whilst ensuring all components of the ICT and computing curriculum are introduced. The use of programming and technology provides an exciting context for language development and makes cross-curricular links that support EAL students’ progress.
Throughout the school year, the EAL Team offers workshops for both Primary and Secondary students on specific language goals. Students are encouraged to participate in these sessions of their own accord. In addition, subject teachers may request attendance for a specific course. 21
Our approach to assessment gives positive recognition to what a student understands and communicates, despite their limited grasp of English, and identifies features of an individual’s developing English which are most likely to benefit from particular attention. These are then shared with the class teacher, specialist teachers, students and parents in the form of achievable targets that celebrate the small steps children take in becoming fluent in English and give clear indications about the next targets to work towards with individual children.
Our assessment strategy is based on UK national guidance and the “Language in Common” strategy which has formed the backbone of EAL assessment and tracking in the UK. Our colour coding and numbering system introduces a shared terminology across all phases of the school to make transitions and planning between teams as smooth as possible. We are happy to assist students in preparing for external English language examinations, such as the Cambridge Young Learner English (YLE), First Certificate or IGCSE qualifications and recognise that these are highly prized certificates in many of our families’ home countries.