News Release Archive

Increased parental involvement, program planning to meet
individual student needs and consistency in programs and services
province-wide are just some of the features of the province's
first special education policy, released today by Education and
Culture Minister John MacEachern.

A draft policy was widely circulated for review to teachers,
administrators, school boards, advocacy groups and parents.
Comments were gathered and analysed and changes were made

"We wanted a document that reflected the ideas and expertise of
as many people as possible," said Mr. MacEachern. "The response
to the new policy was positive and many of the comments received
have helped to strengthen the document."

The policy is a framework for assisting school boards, teachers
and parents working as a team, to determine the best approach for
assisting students with special needs. Approximately 17 per cent
of the students in public schools are considered to have special
needs, meaning they require support, in addition to what is
normally provided in the classroom, to achieve educational
outcomes. This also applies to gifted students, who often require
additional support to reach their full potential.

Developed in consultation with the Nova Scotia School Boards
Association, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and professionals who
work with students with special needs, the policy aims to give
education partners the flexibility to develop solutions that
respond to the strengths and challenges of individual students.

In developing the guidelines, policy makers reviewed materials
from other provinces, the United States, the United Kingdom and
New Zealand. One of the most important changes is the focus on
parents as key decision makers in the individual program planning

"Parents are the key," said Mr. MacEachern. "They know their
children best and can help develop a comprehensive program that
meets their child's needs, as well as provide support or
assistance, when needed, at home."

In addition to increased parental involvement, the policy also
focuses on developing program plans to meet specific student
needs, before determining how and where programs will be
implemented. The policy emphasizes inclusive schooling, which
encourages the participation and learning of all students in
school programs.


Contact: Lisa Bugden  902-424-2795

trp                    Apr. 09, 1996 - 4:30 p.m.