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LCQ19: support students with special educational needs

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-che and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (March 10):


     The Education Bureau (EDB) has formulated a five-year teacher professional development framework, under which teachers of primary, secondary and special schools over the territory are provided, starting from the 2007-2008 school year, with Basic, Advanced and Thematic Courses to enhance their professional capacity in supporting students with special educational needs (SEN).  Moreover, EDB provides fundings each year for the Learning Support Grant (LSG) for application by primary and secondary schools to support students with SEN.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the number of teachers who have received training from each of the aforesaid courses so far and the discrepancies between such figures and the five-year targets set by EDB;

(b) the number of primary and secondary schools which applied for LSG in the 2008-2009 school year and the amount involved; and

(c) the use of LSG by the schools in (b) whose applications were approved, including the number of additional teaching staff or teaching assistants employed, as well as the details of procurement of outside professional services and purchase of teaching resources and aids?



(a) The EDB has put in place a five-year teacher professional development framework on integrated education in the 2007/08 school year to provide structured courses, namely, Basic Course, Advanced Course and Thematic Courses on various types of SEN, to enhance teachers' professional capacity in catering for students with SEN.  In the 2007/08 and 2008/09 school years, a total of over 2,000 teachers attended the Basic Course, over 500 attended the Advanced Course, and nearly 1,200 attended the Thematic Courses.  

     We are conducting an analysis of the attendance of the Basic Course, Advanced Course and Thematic Courses by teachers of each school.  According to the preliminary data, since the implementation of the professional development framework, the overall numbers of teachers who have attended the Basic Course and Advanced Course are generally in line with our expected pace, while the attendance of individual Thematic Courses is to be further analysed.  The analysis is expected to be completed within this school year.  We will examine the progress of training, and remind the relevant schools to expedite or adjust their school-based staff professional development plans when appropriate.

(b) In the 2008/09 school year, 268 secondary schools and 274 primary schools in the public sector applied for and were provided with the LSG to support students with SEN or low academic achievement in the schools, incurring about $170 million.  In the 2009/10 school year, the numbers of schools having applied for LSG increased to 297 secondary schools and 282 primary schools, involving a total amount of about $210 million.

(c) Apart from the LSG, the EDB also provides other additional resources to help schools support students with SEN.  These additional resources include the Intensive Remedial Teaching Programme for Primary Schools, Enhanced Speech Therapy Grant, additional teachers for schools with a large intake of Territory Band three and bottom 10% junior secondary students, Integrated Education Programme and Capacity Enhancement Grant, etc.  We encourage schools to adopt the Whole School Approach and to pool resources together and deploy them holistically and flexibly, having regard to the specific needs of students with SEN and the situation of the schools.  In general, schools will make use of the extra resources to employ additional teachers and teaching assistants, hire outside professional services, procure learning aids/equipment/software, conduct school-based teacher training programmes and enhance parent education, etc.  The EDB does not keep detailed items of how schools use the additional funding.  We ensure the optimal use of resources by the schools to cater for students with SEN by conducting regular school visits by our professional staff, annual reviews and organising training and inter-school sharing sessions, etc.

Ends/Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:06


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