Our Inclusion Programme was adopted in 1997 and began with just five students and one Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO). It has evolved into a sophisticated, fully fledged programme with 50 staff where support is offered at each stage of the child’s academic journey. We currently employ 21 full-time learning support teachers, 5 part-time, 6 full-time facilitators plus 7 remedial staff. This excludes another 20 teachers and staff that are paid directly by parents. The number of pupils requiring extensive learning support has grown from 5 in 1997 to 80 in 2013.
For pre-schoolers, the focus is on early intervention for both teachers and parents. Areas screened include speech and hearing, fine and gross motor co-ordination, and a range of psychometric tests. A full quota of academic support on our campuses in the form of OT, Physiotherapy, Speech/Language Therapists, social and emotional support and Remedial Therapists is provided.
Academic support of the learner continues into the primary and middle schools, where academic demands are greater – teaching assistants, modifications to the mainstream curriculum and individualised educational programmes are all offered. In two of our primary schools, we have introduced an academic support class with a dedicated staff member for severely challenged learners (Autism, Downs Syndrome and cognitive limitations). Where possible, these learners are continually reintegrated back into regular classes and take part in the life of the school — outdoor camps, sports day, swimming galas, cultural and religious activities.
In high school, pupils are given the opportunity to select their own academic track which includes the Standardized National Senior Certificate, the less demanding Endorsed Senior Certificate and the Vocational Programme. The Vocational Programme is dedicated to providing career based training where pupils receive certification as chefs, personal trainers, pre-school teachers, make-up artists and more.
HERZLIA is the only school in the country to be granted permission by national government to offer this programme within a mainstream school.
At the core of our inclusion programme are our Learning Centres with a dedicated team of SENCO’S, remedial teachers, social workers, psychologists and a range of outsourced therapists which provides academic support from basic remediation to designing Individualised Education Plans for pupils. Our centres are equipped with technology, learning materials and resources to support the programme. All educators are required to attend regular personal development training in the area of inclusion.