SZPAG is an Inclusive School

Being an inclusive school means that we foster an environment of respect for all, regardless of background, abilities or differences. Inclusivity is also a cornerstone of our school mission ‘Honoring the past, Educating for the future’. The nation’s past has been modeled through the contributions of diverse people. Looking to the future, we wish to equip all of our students with the crucial values and life skills of empathy and open-mindedness so they can thrive in a globalized and diverse society, which considers one anothers varied perspectives and experiences.


At SZPAG we have various avenues to support inclusion:

  • Inclusion Department
  • Gifted and Talented provision
  • SZPAG and its partnership as a Unified Schools member.

English as an additional language

The majority of students at SZPAG are students with English as an additional language (EAL). As a result, the school invests heavily in language support through its literacy coordinators and through regular PD for our teachers. Students identified specifically for their EAL deficiency will fall under the Action Monitoring level of intervention, which is outlined in greater detail below.


SZPAG Inclusion Department

Students with mild to moderate additional learning or behavioral needs

Students needing support can be identified in the following ways:

  • Students of Determination - Students of Determination who require additional support in order to make the best progress.
  • Gifted and Talented - Those demonstrating exceptional ability and/or attainment or talent. See separate policy.
  • Action Monitoring Students who have been raised as a concern by their class teacher and require some intervention and monitoring.


SZPAG’s Inclusion register

 Students who have undergone an external evaluation and been diagnosed with a recognized learning need are placed on our school’s inclusion register and identified on eSIS as a ‘Student of Determination’. Students can be referred to the Inclusion Department on entry or at any point during their education at SZPAG.


Categories of Disabilities / Special Education Need

In line with the UAE Ministry of Education, SZPAG recognizes the following categories of Disabilities/ Special Educational Needs:


?On Entry / Application to SZPAG

SZPAG does not discriminate against any student applying to the school. All students are welcomed to be assessed and places are offered based on the school’s ability to provide for the needs of the child. In order to make the best decision possible, the following measures are used to help assess the level of individual need:

  • Parents/ Carers are asked to disclose any special educational need that has previously been identified.
  • If a child has an identified need the application needs to have supporting documentation, including but not limited to; previous medical /psychological assessments; a previous Individual Education Plan (IEP): and academic reports.
  • For PreK and KG students all applicants are invited to a ‘stay and play’ session, observed by staff. If during this time a need is observed, then further discussion with the parents and the Inclusion team will take place.


Students identified once enrolled at SZPAG 

At SZPAG the expectation is that all our teachers differentiate and recognize that a class of students is made up of a varied mix of learners and abilities. Some students are identified as needing additional support. Before an enrolled student is referred for an external assessment, certain procedures and steps are taken to delve deeper into the area of concern. An existing student will first be placed on an Action Monitoring program.

Action Monitoring

Students who teachers identify as potentially having a learning or behavioral need will be referred to the inclusion department as Action Monitoring. At this stage the class teacher/ subject teacher and Grade Level Lead/ Head of Department will devise some action plans and a time frame to monitor this student. If after a period of time, and the gathering of evidence, such as work sample and test scores, there is still a concern, then the student is referred to the Inclusion Team and the need for an external evaluation is considered.

At the point of placing any student on an Action Monitoring program, parents will be contacted and these important home-school conversations will continue. SZPAG recognizes and values the importance of a strong relationship between home and school.

External Evaluation

Where it is considered to be applicable based on evidence with results of Action Monitoring and professional judgement, SZPAG Inclusion Department may recommend that the student undergo an external evaluation. At this stage SZPAG will recommend centers it works with and guide parents through this process.

Once the evaluation has been carried out and the diagnosis has been sent to school, the Inclusion Team will then draw up a formal IEP for the student. Parents will be consulted during this process and parents are required to sign their agreement for the goals set in their child’s IEP.

Who’s who and responsibilities

Inclusion Lead for each phase and IEP case Manager 

The Inclusion Lead for each phase is responsible:

  • To work with the Inclusion Leads from other phases of the school (EC, Elementary, Secondary) sharing ideas, strategies and creating consistency in approach, where applicable. 
  • To coordinate with their own phase team to ensure that the needs of the whole student are identified and addressed including the social and emotional aspects of learning.
  • To work with the Grade Level Lead/ Head of Year to monitor the overall progress of students and identify students that may have need of additional provision.
  • To assess referred students in line with the Referral Process
  • To give advice to teachers and parents on how students with additional needs can be included in the mainstream classroom and supported at home.
  • To work collaboratively with teachers, parents and students on setting targets, recommend effective strategies and outline provision for the individual student for students placed on an Action Monitoring program.
  • To work collaboratively with teachers, parents and students and be responsible for developing and ensuring the implementation and Individual Education Plan for students of determination across all curriculum areas.
  • To help plan and oversee intervention, and monitor progress of the students receiving intervention.
  • To work with and Inclusion Learning Assistants to ensure that the identified students are making progress.
  • To ensure that up-to-date and accurate files and records are kept to monitor progress in line with the guidelines of the department.


Inclusion Learning Assistant (ILA) 

ILAs are employed by the school to help address the needs of students with special needs. They are an integral part of our Inclusion Team and hold a special education qualification. The ILA’s support students through one to one intervention, classroom push in’s and group pullout’s.

Individual Assistant (IA’s)

IAs are employed by families of students who require a one-to-one level of support as identified in their IEP and external comprehensive report. At SZPAG we provide training to our IA’s and view them as a very valuable resource.



SZPAG Gifted and Talented program of support

The identification of students who show exceptional aptitude towards certain aspects of learning needs to be encouraged and provided for so that their talents can be nurtured and enriched. At SZPAG we offer a gifted and talented program and strategy that is a healthy balance of in school provision and extracurricular activities (ECA). 

Identification of gifted and talented students at SZPAG

Our school uses CAT4 data to help us identify students who are gifted and talented. SAS scores within the individual areas of verbal, quantitative, non-verbal and spatial awareness are looked at as well as the overall SAS. Students falling between 120-129 are considered highly able and student scoring 130+ are considered gifted and talented. Both groups are the students who make up our gifted and talented register. Teacher input is also considered in identifying our students who have special talents.

Below are just some of the things we do as a school to support, encourage, challenge and enrich our gifted and talented students’ experiences.

AP courses

In high school our dedicated team encourage students identified as gifted and talented to embark upon AP courses throughout their high school years. The route to graduating with honors or honors distinction is clearly communicated to them and a close eye is kept on their progress throughout their 4 years in high school.

Swift intervention

Where a student who is identified as gifted and talented appears to be underachieving, swift intervention is put in place via our academic and pastoral teams. Through swift intervention, the root cause of problems can be discovered and solutions found so that students are supported to reach their full potential.

Academic Mentors

For students in high school, academic mentors are in place to provide dedicated one-to-one time for our students. Often this will take place through study hall, but it is not limited to this.


Future Leaders

Students who have a particular gifts or talents are encouraged to become part of the Future Leaders program to develop crucial leadership skills. This is run as an ECA and an elective.

Elementary ECA’s

Aside from providing challenging and appropriately leveled work within the curriculum, the elementary school offers a variety of ECA groups, which are by invitation only. These groups take part in specific STEAM style project-based work and challenges suitable to their particular talent.

External competitions

The school is actively involved in a wide range of external competitions. Our gifted and talented students are always encouraged to join in with these activities to develop their talents further and enjoy the external and wider recognition that they may receive.

SZPAG as a Unified Champion Schools member (UCS)

SZPAG is a Unified Champion School. The definition of what this means is below and is attributed to the Unified Champion Schools website:

‘The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools ® is a program that is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting universal change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective inclusive sports, youth leadership opportunities with tools and trainings, and whole school engagement to create climates of acceptance. Students with intellectual disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in all activities, opportunities and functions.’


SZPAG works in partnership with the Mohamed bin Rashid Center for Special Education (New England Center for Children – Abu Dhabi) (MRC- NECC) and throughout the year students from MRC are invited to take part in events with our students. For example: Unified Sports Day, Unified Robotics Competitions and Unified Choir.


SZPAG organizes student events aimed at raising awareness about issues that promote tolerance, acceptance and an open-minded perspective, all within the framework of fostering equality. At the beginning of each year, we create a calendar which is shared throughout the year with our whole community. Examples of events include such things as:


·        World Kindness Day

·        World Down Syndrome Day

·        International Day of Tolerance

·        World Mental Health Day

·        International Day of Persons with disabilities

·        World Autism Day


Through the continual promotion of inclusion, and educating our students on treating everyone as equal and valued, we hope to promote future leaders who have empathy, tolerance and understanding who can shape their future to be rich with diversity.