Special educational needs (SEN) policy

Purpose of the policy

Based on the Learner profile and the Mission statement of the International Baccalaureate organisation our school has set the goal to make the IB DP programme assessable for a wide variety of students.

To start with we would like to emphasize our commitment to a caring school atmosphere as described in the IB Learner profile:

We want to educate caring students.

Students show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

 (IB learner profile 2004)

In a global world you are confronted with a huge spectrum of challenges, which effect different areas of life. According to this the IB programme “encourage[s] students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.’ (IB mission statement 2013).

In this context our school appreciates differences and diversities in our student body and teaching staff as stated in our school’s mission statement:

We pay equal respect to everybody. At our school, each student is respected with his or her individual talents and needs and is an active member of the school community. We respect different opinions, cultures and traditions and show empathy and compassion. Lived diversity enriches our everyday school life.

Appreciating diversity as a substantial part enriching our everyday school life and seeing it as a chance to learn within and from a diverse community has a long standing tradition at our school.

Definition of Special educational needs (SEN)

Special educational needs can both refer to students who need special support to succeed in the IB DP and the gifted and talented students who should be challenged beyond the curriculum in order to fully develop their potential.

We are fully aware of the continuum of the wide range of needs and abilities and try to find individual solutions suitable for every single student.

Our holistic approach to the special learning needs of students ensures equal access to IB education for all students.

Measures to meet the needs of students with special educational needs are applied both in instruction (classroom, CAS) and for assessment. All the taken steps are based on and fully align with IB DP regulations for SEN.

“The generic term “special educational needs” (SEN) <…> caters for the wide spectrum of need along a continuum that encompasses cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.” (Learning diversity in the IB 2016)

Common practices to meet Special educational needs

A – Inclusive arrangements not requiring authorization by IB

There is a wide range of measures which can be taken to meet special educational needs during instruction including but not limited to using of special aids and devices, allowing additional time for tasks. Differentiation in teaching helps students with scaffolding, visualization or varying in approaches to teaching and learning to meet special needs.

Based on the Handbook of procedures for the DP a catalogue of measures can be taken on consideration of the school to meet special needs during assessment.

B – Further assessment arrangements requiring authorization of IB

Further  assessment regulations to meet special needs require authorization of the IB. Requests for those inclusive assessment arrangements must be submitted together with evidence (medical/psychological/psycho-educational documentation, translated into English) to IB no later than 15 November  in the second year of IB DP. The requests are submitted by the school. The procedure is explained below.

C – Further practices

Language acquisition

As for many of our students the language of instruction is not their mother tongue we will pay special attention to support students in coping with requirements for fluency in speaking and writing. We are fully aware that each subject teacher contributes to language acquisition as we outlined in our Language policy.

For students with insufficient language skills individualized English language courses can be provided both prior and during the DP programme by the Academy of languages being part of our campus.

Learning deficits

In case of learning deficits additional tutored learning sessions are provided. Furthermore suitable material encouraging individual learning is part of our school library and the librarian/media advisor supports students in coping with tasks.

Teachers trained to work with dyscalculia and dyslexia are available on campus.

Students with difficulties in self-management will be supported by additional tutoring after giving a general training on self-management to all students.

Accessibility of school premises

All our school premises are completely wheelchair accessible. Further equipment will be acquired when needed according to individual needs.

Creativity-Activity-Service (CAS)

We pay special attention that every student takes the biggest possible benefit from their CAS experiences. So we are fully convinced that any student can be part of the school’s CAS programme which gives the students a chance to be part of the community beyond our campus. Students being challenged to do so because of different reasons will get any necessary support and opportunities and difficulties will be discussed with the CAS coordinator/ CAS advisor on a regular basis.

Challenges for talented and gifted students

We want to give talented and gifted students the possibility to fully develop their potential. Living in a well-known university town with a great variety of scientific institutions we can provide them access to projects and programmes for talented and gifted students organized by institutions outside our campus where they meet other talented and gifted students of our region and share a learning experience with them.

We support students to get access to university lectures and in rare cases there is the possibility to take first university courses while still being an IB DP student.

Last but not least students could take 4 higher level courses for IB DP or decide to take additional courses.

To compile an individualized programme suited to the needs of talented and gifted students students discuss the matter with the SEN coordinator who informs all subject teachers during collaboration.

Responsibility for SEN within the school


When enrolling for IB DP students/parents/guardians inform the school about special educational needs and if applicable provide the appropriate documentation. In case of problems not being known/ not existing at this early stage the school is informed as soon as possible.

Students meet their tutors and the SEN counsellor for consultations. They explain their needs, develop ideas for the support they need and inform about the efficiency of taken measures.

All measures taken by the school need to be approved by students/parents/guardians by signing the appropriate form.

SEN counsellor

The SEN counsellor is part of our pedagogical leadership team thus ensuring that SEN issues are included in all aspects of our pedagogical process.

He/she regularly counsels SEN students in order to find individualized solutions for each student. He/she closely collaborates with the tutors of students and subject teachers.

Each week during the collaborative planning meeting of all IB teachers the SEN counsellor informs teachers about students with special needs and solutions for problems will be found collaboratively.

The SEN counsellor informs the DP coordinator about arrangements for assessment which require the authorization by IB.

All SEN consultations will be documented with the SEN form (included in the appendix of this policy).

DP coordinator

The DP coordinator is regularly informed about SEN issues by SEN counsellor and responsible for getting authorization by IB for assessment arrangements being beyond consideration of the school. He/she takes responsibility for putting all necessary arrangements for assessment (authorized by IB or not requiring authorization of IB) into place.

The DP coordinator ensures that all stakeholders know the content of this policy and all staff members are trained to meet the requirements of their function in meeting special educational needs.


Each tutor is directly responsible for up to 6 students being the person closest to each student. The tutor is thus the first person the student discusses special educational needs with.

The tutor arranges a consultation with the SEN counsellor for students who wish so.

If necessary, parents will be informed regularly by tutors.

Subject teachers

Our teaching staff is experienced in supporting students with handicaps and especially students with severe psychological problems. If necessary our teachers accompany students through hospital stays of several months closely cooperating with both medical and pedagogical staff of the hospital.

Staff members have been qualified to support students with special needs such as dyscalculia/dyslexia and have been working with students of the German programmes. The experience gained will be transferred to IB DP.

During weekly collaborative meetings IB DP teachers speak about their findings in classroom, find solutions for special educational needs and follow up cases to prove the efficiency of taken measures.

Teachers use materials of our library to develop their knowledge and skills in differentiating of teaching and learning and in approaches to teaching and learning to meet special educational meets. In-house professional development and peer teaching/coaching are used with the same aim. Specialists both from other schools and colleges on campus and from outside are invited to train teachers to identify and meet special educational meets.

Review of the document

This document will be reviewed and revised if necessary involving the whole IB team plus taking into consideration opinions of all stakeholders annually in July.

The document is assessable on the school’s webpage and via ManageBac.


International Baccalaureate Organization (2009): Candidates with assessment access requirements.
International Baccalaureate Organization (2013): Learner profile.
Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme (2016)
International Baccalaureate Organization (2013): Meeting student learning diversity in the classroom.
International Baccalaureate Organization (2015): The IB guide to inclusive education: a resource for whole school development.
International Baccalaureate Organization (2016): Learning diversity and inclusion in IB programmes
Learning diversty in the International Baccalaureate programmes: Special educational needs within the International Baccalaureate programmes (2016)
http://www.woostercolts.com/pdf/SPECIALEDUCATIONALNEEDSPOLICY.pdf. 18.1.2016