Higher salaries for Sped teachers, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Higher salaries for Sped teachers

Special education (Sped) teachers will receive higher salaries in the next few years, as part of broader moves to raise the quality of education in the sector and strengthen support for students with special needs.

Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said that between 2024 and 2026, Sped classroom teachers can receive salary increases of up to 12 per cent, while teacher aides can receive increases of up to 15 per cent.

From 2024, starting salaries for Sped classroom teachers and teacher aides will increase by up to 15 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, he said in Parliament on March 4.

Dr Maliki was speaking as the debate on the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) budget resumed, after Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said earlier on March 1 that the hope is to bring the Sped sector in line with mainstream education, in terms of professional development opportunities for educators.

Dr Maliki said the Government has increased funding for Sped schools over the years, and spends more on education per child in a Sped school compared with in a mainstream school.

A review of salary guidelines was done to enhance the attractiveness of the Sped teaching profession, he said.

There are currently close to 1,700 Sped teachers and about 800 teacher aides.

These increments will vary for individuals depending on their experience, competencies, job role and work performance, he said.

Funding will be provided to social service agencies to implement these salary enhancements progressively, said Dr Maliki.

By 2026, Sped classroom teachers are expected to receive monthly salaries ranging from $3,000 to over $7,000, while teacher aide salaries will range between $2,000 and over $4,000, said MOE in a statement.

New joiners to the sector will also benefit.

Sped classroom teachers may receive a starting salary of up to $3,600 monthly before pursuing their diploma in special education training. Teacher aides may receive a starting salary of up to $2,100 monthly.

Each Sped school will also appoint a school staff developer, said Dr Maliki, who will focus on dedicated planning and implementation of professional learning opportunities for Sped teachers.

Sped teachers will also have more education leadership course opportunities made available to them from 2024.

An MOE spokesperson added that with more Sped schools being set up in recent years, the number of teachers hired over time has also increased.

The number of teachers will have to increase by about 350 by 2030 to meet the growing needs of Sped, added the spokesperson.

Currently, about half of Sped school students pay similar fees to that of their mainstream peers, said Dr Maliki.

Nine Sped schools are expected to further reduce fees by up to 60 per cent, he said. This comes after six Sped schools with higher fees had lowered their fees by at least 25 per cent in 2020.

The latest move means the maximum monthly fees chargeable for Singaporean students will be reduced from $150 to $90, he said.

The nine schools are Awwa School @ Napiri, both Eden School campuses, Pathlight School, Rainbow Centre in Margaret Drive, Yishun Park and Admiral Hill, as well as St Andrew’s Autism School and St Andrew’s Mission School. They serve students with autism spectrum disorder and multiple disabilities.

About 3,500 students will benefit from this shift, which will take effect by mid-2025, said Dr Maliki. There are currently about 8,000 students in 25 Sped schools here.

The exact fees will be determined by the schools and communicated to parents when ready.