LSEs will offer class support from Kinder 1 as role is redefined

New LSE system will retain the one-to-one support for children that require such help, Malta Union of Teachers and Education Ministry say in joint statement

The new LSE system will be introduced in Kinder 1 classes starting next month (File photo)
The new LSE system will be introduced in Kinder 1 classes starting next month (File photo)

Learning support educators will take on the role of class assistants but changes introduced next month will not impact students already in the system.

The new system agreed between the Malta Union of Teachers and the Education Ministry will be introduced in Kinder 1 classes and will gradually be extended to other year groups.

In a joint statement to quell concerns raised by the Union of Professional Educators (UPE), the MUT and the ministry said the new system was the result of a recommendation made in an audit on inclusive education carried out by a European agency five years ago.

The agency had recommended “re-allocating” LSEs from supporting individual learners to “supporting teaching teams”.

Children, who require one-to-one support will still receive the services of a fulltime LSE, as is current practice. However, the existing nomenclature for shared support will change to class support.

The statement makes it clear that statements of support issued prior to 1 September, 2019, will remain with the same provisions.

The new system will see every Kinder 1 class with more than 12 students assigned a class LSE. An LSE will also be assigned to classes where there are three students with a statement of class support, irrespective of class size.

It is unclear what will happen in classes with less than 12 students, where less than three students have a statement of class support.

Last month, the UPE objected to what it described as “drastic changes” that will affect leaning support educators and kindergarten educators. It hit out at MUT for agreeing to the changes in the 2017 collective agreement.

The UPE had insisted that the new system would leave some students vulnerable to the system and will drastically increase the workload of KGEs and LSEs without any remuneration. It also warned on redundancies, especially in church and independent schools.

The MUT and the ministry said the new system will enhance inclusivity and will not lead to redundancies.

Key aspects of change

• Students’ statement of needs will either assign fulltime one-to-one support or class support

• Statements of support issued prior to 1 September 2019 will remain with same provision

• Learners requiring fulltime one-to-one support shall continue to benefit from the provision of an individual LSE

• A class support LSE is assigned to Kinder 1 classes when the class size exceeds 12 learners or there are three students with a statement of class support, irrespective of class size

• Under the guidance of the kindergarten educator, the class support LSE will take care of the educational needs, IEPs, MAPs and other duties for up to three learners with class support

• The LSE will also assist the class KGE with the educational needs of all other learners in class

• When a student is statemented during the scholastic year, an additional class support LSE shall be assigned if the number of learners with a statement of support exceeds three

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