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Special Education Needs

Special Education Needs

Due to the rigorous nature of the academic program, ISNS is not prepared to support students who have special learning needs that are significant.  Should your child need special support, please contact the school administration.

Special Education Needs (SEN) Policy

Philosophy and Purpose of the Special Educational Needs Policy

The International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) Special Educational Needs (SEN) philosophy supports our core beliefs of “We believe in the worth of every student” and “We believe in tolerance for all people”.

The purpose of ISNS SEN Policy is to increase the likelihood that children with Special Educational Needs in our school will make progress and grow in confidence in their own abilities and to help the students become independent, motivated and life-long learners.

In this policy, the term “special educational needs” embraces multiple dimensions including academic learning, social abilities, and management of emotions.

Objectives of the SEN Policy

The implementation of the SEN Policy at ISNS begins with leadership from the Board of Directors, the Head of School, Elementary and Middle/High Principals, IB Coordinators and the Guidance Counselor, all of whom must actively support the achievement of the following objectives.

  • To ensure that students with SEN have maximum access to the whole curriculum according to their potential
  • To encourage a shared responsibility in the school, by all professional staff to support the SEN policy at all levels of education
  • To allow the Guidance Counselor access to school decision making processes through Elementary, Middle, High meetings
  • To encourage and ensure that professional staff provide equality of opportunity for students with special educational needs
  • To ensure the SEN policy works towards goals related to the core beliefs of the school
  • To encourage staff to continue to assume responsibility for the learning of all children in their class and to maintain high expectations for all students
  • To ensure that support is related to the needs of the student in order to accomplish the outcomes of the curriculum
  • To encourage and support staff to differentiate, ensuring access to the curriculum for all students
  • To encourage co-operative planning and teaching by all staff in support of the SEN Policy
  • To provide an inclusive climate of warmth and support in which student’s self confidence and self-esteem can grow, and in which all students feel valued and are able to risk making mistakes without fear
  • To develop partnerships with outside professional agencies and/or skilled individuals to identify, assess and assist in providing support for students with SEN

The Head of School, Elementary and Middle/High Principals have responsibility for overall management of the policy for Special Educational Needs and for keeping the governing body fully informed.

Admissions Policy and Special Educational Needs Students

ISNS’s admissions policy sets out the criteria for admitting students to the school. We may not be able to meet all special needs.


ISNS may not be able to accommodate all students, (due to lack of human and material resources); these may include ASD, severe visual or hearing impairment, Down’s syndrome or other moderate to severe neurological dysfunctions.

The Admissions department will consult with the Elementary and Middle/High Principals before accepting students with known special educational needs into the academic programs offered by the school.

Parents must divulge all relevant information regarding their child’s special needs and medical history (including a complete medical report of the child) to allow the school team to make an informed and realistic decision about the appropriateness of the child’s placement at ISNS. Each individual with special educational needs will be reviewed on an individual basis at the time of application.

The review will look at the resources the child will require in terms of human resources, financial, material and space resources as well as the parental commitment to supporting their child’s educational program at home and school.

The school leadership will consult with the Guidance Counselor and Diploma Program Coordinator before accepting a student with special educational needs as a candidate for the IB Diploma program. A decision will be made to accommodate the student. If a student with special educational needs is accepted into the IB program, careful consideration must be given to the candidate’s choice of subjects. 

Once the decision to admit a student to the school has been made, it is our duty to provide all possible support within the limits set by the resources at the school’s disposal. 

Addressing Special Educational Needs

Learning difficulties can arise at any time as a result of new curriculum demands, changed rates of learning, absence from school, settling into a new educational environment or a specific learning or language difficulty. There also is a need to challenge talented students and stimulate a higher level of achievement in a particular area, or across subject areas.

When such special educational needs are suspected, the teacher should inform the guidance counselor, the learning support teacher, and/or the appropriate administrator for assistance in meeting those needs.

The guidance counselor and/or learning support teacher, in cooperation with the appropriate administrator and student’s subject teacher(s), will identify exceptionalities of individual students (including the highly able) by the following methods

  • Liaison with parents
  • Liaison with teachers
  • Reviewing previous education history
  • Documented observations in the classroom
  • Referral requests/requirement for parents to obtain formal assessments by educational psychologists to identify special education needs, if necessary
  • Utilizing (where and when appropriate) expert advice from an educational psychologist and/or professional consultants

As soon as evidence has been collected, the guidance counselor, learning support teacher, or appropriate principal will call and chair a meeting. Attendees may include:

  • Subject teacher(s), including EAL where appropriate
  • Administrator(s)
  • Parents
  • And in some cases, the student (especially older students) may be invited

During this meeting, the team will review and draft a copy of a plan to better meet the needs of the student. This plan will possibly specify the student’s learning objectives, the way they will be achieved, the staff that will be responsible and the time frame for evaluation and review: all of which are subject to our staffing, material and physical limitations.


In situations where ISNS’s resources are insufficient in accommodating the student’s special educational needs, a recommendation of transfer to a different educational institution may be the most appropriate course of action.

A record of the plan will be placed in the student’s cumulative file in the main academic office.

Program of Study

As each child is a unique individual with differing needs, the program of study for each child will be unique to the child. Programs of study may also include recommendations given by educational psychologists in formal assessments. They will attempt to incorporate the child’s learning style and multisensory methods. In keeping with the Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP) and Diploma Program (DP), the teacher will, whenever possible, use materials related to the programs of inquiry as a vehicle to explicitly teach the skills with which the student requires support. There may also be an element of counseling involved in a program of study for a particular child. The teacher can encourage the development of the student’s characteristics and attitudes towards learning that is encouraged through the PYP/MYP/DP programs through informal counseling. 

The IB Diploma Program allows for a number of dispensations for IB DP Examinations based on medical and/or educational psychological evidence. Application for such allowance must be made through the IB Diploma Program Coordinator following the processes laid out by the IBO.