Student Support Services
The teaching approach at WIS is child-centred and inclusive with the aim of working towards an environment in which the specific needs of each individual learner can be met. The LED team is committed to maintaining an inclusive school environment where diversity in student learning enriches and strengthens our whole school community. The staff of the Learning Enrichment Department and the EAL Department assist and enrich the teaching programs taking place in the classroom to enable more learners to take part effectively and reach their full potential.
We have high expectations for all students, recognising that with the right support, all students can succeed.
As part of the admissions procedure at WIS, every student is assessed by a teacher of the Learning Enrichment Department to get an impression of their academic and social/ emotional strengths and focus areas as well as their level of English proficiency. This information provides guidance as to whether WIS can adequately include the learner and provide the necessary resources and teaching. To ensure balance and equity in our classrooms, we thoughtfully manage the number of enrolled students requiring support. The decision to admit a student with identified learning needs and educational needs is dependent on the space available and the ability to provide necessary resources and teaching.
WIS accepts students with diverse learning needs (mild, moderate, and intensive). Learning Enrichment provides targeted and specific intervention for students who qualify for support. Students are identified through a comprehensive referral process that encourages and supports early interventions. Where necessary, the curriculum is modified for students who require intensive learning support. Students may receive services for a short period of time, others for longer periods, and still others may remain in the highest level of support and receive services for the duration of their time at WIS.
The Learning Enrichment Department uses a variety of strategies to support learning, such as collaboration, co-teaching, push-in, and pull-out lessons. The LED teacher will also plan and implement the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for students who require specific goals.
Some learners at WIS have a diagnosis from an educational psychologist stating that they have a learning difficulty or disorder that influences their progress/ performance in a scholastic environment. Learners with such a diagnosis could be entitled to special exam provisions such as extra time, a reader, a scribe or a prompter during tests and/ or exams. The Learning Enrichment Department keeps track of learners who are entitled to special exam provisions and organises the appropriate support during tests and exams.
EAL (English as an Additional Language)
At WIS, we teach a diverse group of students who are new to English. We aim to balance their language learning needs with the requirements of the IB curriculum. To address this, we have developed a blended learning approach specifically designed to support both teachers and students in English as an Additional Language (EAL) settings.
Our lessons are structured around different strands of learning to cater to the various needs of our students. First, we focus on survival or everyday language. For students who are new to English or at an intermediate level, we provide lessons that cover basic vocabulary and language structures that they can use in their daily lives.
In addition, we also emphasise pre-learning inquiry and curriculum content. This means introducing relevant vocabulary and language structures before they arise in the curriculum. By doing so, we help our students build a foundation of language skills that will assist them in understanding and engaging with the subject matter more effectively.
Furthermore, we offer customised curriculum content tailored to the IB curriculum. This includes teaching vocabulary and language structures that align with the key concepts and understanding of all lines of inquiry. By integrating language learning with the subject content, we promote a holistic approach to education and support our students in developing both their language proficiency and their knowledge in various subjects.
Last but not least, we prioritise phonics and phonemic awareness to help our students develop confidence in reading and writing. By focusing on the fundamental sounds and patterns of the English language, we enable our students to improve their literacy skills and enhance their overall language abilities.
Through our comprehensive approach, we strive to create a supportive and enriching learning environment for our new-to-English students, ensuring they receive the necessary language support while successfully engaging with the IB curriculum.
The school counsellor gives social and emotional support to students and works with identified students to build confidence, self-esteem, social skills and to reduce anxiety. The counsellor will recommend a referral to an outside professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist should the need arise or be requested by a parent(s). Students are referred to the school counsellor by teachers or parents, while most older students refer themselves. The counsellor has weekly meetings with Heads of Departments throughout both Primary and Secondary school to ensure that students' social and emotional needs are met.
As an additional service, volunteer peer counsellors are trained in Grade 9. This means that there is always a group of trained peer counsellors in grades 10, 11 and 12 who are available to listen to and support their peers who need a shoulder to lean on. The training is endorsed by Lifeline Childline and equips the PCs with lifelong skills. The peer counsellors and the school counsellor work closely together so that no student is overlooked.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to submit any special reports (such as a recent psycho-educational evaluation) as part of my child’s application?
Yes. If your child has ever received any form of special education services, we kindly request that you provide us with the most recent reports from all parties involved, including the educational psychologist, speech-language therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist. Additionally, we would appreciate receiving the latest Individual Education Plan (IEP) to ensure that we have a comprehensive understanding of your child's specific needs and can effectively plan and accommodate them accordingly.
Do students with learning difficulties or other conditions receive their education in separate settings or are they included in the general education class?
Students with learning difficulties are educated within the general classroom and are provided with full access to the grade-level curriculum. They receive intervention in small groups or on an individual basis, in a separate setting, tailored to the specific goals outlined in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Each student is recognised as an individual, and their plan is customised to meet their unique needs, which may vary from student to student.
Is there a waiting list for students requiring extra support at WIS?
Our decision-making process is comprehensive and takes into account the student's needs, assessment results, and previous documentation, as well as whether the school is the most suitable placement for the student and can effectively meet their needs.
In some instances, we may need to consider the overall capacity of the school, including the number of students already enrolled, including those receiving support services. Our priority is to maintain a conducive student-to-teacher ratio and uphold the high standard of education and support we provide. To ensure that every student receives the attention and resources they deserve, we may occasionally place a cap on the number of admissions, including those requiring support services. This approach is not meant to hinder access but rather to guarantee that our support services remain effective and impactful for each student.
How long will it take for my child to become proficient in English?
The time it takes for a child to become proficient in English can vary widely based on individual factors such as age, prior exposure to the language, cognitive abilities, and the amount of exposure to English both in and outside of school. Language acquisition is a gradual process that unfolds differently for each student. As a general rule, and as research shows, it takes 1-2 years to master social English and 5-7 years to master academic English.
Will my child have opportunities to study their home language?
We greatly value the importance of home language maintenance. Proficiency in one's home language often translates to better literacy skills and studies have shown that students who maintain their home language tend to perform better academically overall. WIS provides various avenues for home language enrichment. Currently, we offer specific programs such as Chinese, Oshiwambo and French as after-school clubs. If there is a demand from parents for home language classes that we currently do not offer, we are eager to explore additional opportunities. If there is sufficient interest, we seek ways to provide language classes in and outside of the school environment.