Manpower and Resources in Special Schools
Class size of special schools, ranging from 8 to 15 students per class, is dependent on the school type, and is comparatively smaller than that of ordinary schools. At primary and junior secondary levels, the staffing ratio of special schools is 1.8 teachers per class. At senior secondary level, the staffing ratio for schools for children with ID is 2 teachers per class whereas that for schools offering the ordinary curriculum is 2.1 per class. To enhance the status and professional standard of teachers, the all-graduate teaching force policy has been fully implemented since the 2019/20 school year. To cater for the diverse needs of students, the EDB has also provided respective categories of special schools with additional teachers, such as resource teachers for children with autism spectrum disorders, mobility instructors and teachers providing low-vision training to support students with VI.
In addition, various specialist staff are provided for different categories of special schools to cater for the disabilities or learning difficulties of students. They include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapist assistants, nurses, educational psychologists, social workers, braillists, etc. As for the boarding sections, the specialist staff comprise wardens, assistant wardens, houseparents-in-charge, houseparents, programme workers, nurses, etc. To address students’ diverse learning needs, special schools are advised to optimise the deployment of manpower and promote multi-disciplinary collaboration.
In the past few years, the EDB has implemented a number of enhancement measures in special schools. For instance, from the 2018/19 school year onwards, one additional school nurse has been provided for schools for children with ID, schools for children with PD and the school for children with VI cum ID. To strengthen the support for students with care needs, a school nurse has been newly provided for the school for children with VI and the school for children with HI. Moreover, special schools with a total of 60 approved capacity or below have been provided with one school social worker (SSW) and subsequently 0.5 SSW for every 30 students. On the basis of the manpower provision of SSW, special schools have also been offered the Consultation Service Grant to purchase consultation, supervision or other relevant services to support the SSW.