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UPE Articles

Specialised Learning Support Educators: A Progressive Approach for Middle and Secondary Schools in Malta

Revolutionising the Educational Landscape

The current educational system in Malta mandates Learning Support Educators (LSEs) to modify the curriculum for all subjects undertaken by their students. This practice has been in place for several decades, placing a heavy burden on LSEs to constantly adjust the curriculum and create suitable adaptations to cater to the diverse needs of their students across various subjects. Recognizing that this system has been in effect since the introduction of the ‘facilitator’ role in the early 1990s, the Union of Professional Educators (UPE) asserts that it is time to adapt it to meet the demands of the modern era.

In light of this, the UPE proposes the introduction of Subject LSEs, wherein each Specialised subject (Option) will be assigned to a designated LSE responsible for creating the necessary adaptations. Under this new approach, every LSE within a school will be assigned one Option subject, in addition to a core subject such as Mathematics, Maltese, or English. This innovative system serves a dual purpose: it facilitates highly efficient adaptations tailored to individual subjects, while significantly reducing the workload of each LSE. Consequently, LSEs will have the opportunity to develop expertise in their specific Option subjects, as well as the core subjects, allowing them to create adaptations of a higher caliber. This directed focus will lead to a more comprehensive and effective teaching approach.

By implementing this proposed system, LSEs will assume full responsibility for their Specialised subjects, fostering a culture of collaborative teamwork among all educators. The LSEs assigned to each subject will be entrusted with the development of Making Action Plans (MAPs), Individual Educational Programmes (IEPs), and Individual Transition Plans (ITPs) pertaining to their respective subjects. This consolidation of responsibilities not only streamlines the educational process but also empowers LSEs to take ownership of their work, leading to an enhanced sense of accountability and professional pride. The positive outcomes of this system have already been demonstrated in several local Church and Independent schools, where LSEs have reported a reduced workload and an increased devotion to their respective subjects.

In conclusion, the UPE acknowledges the successful implementation of this model in selected local schools, highlighting the tangible benefits experienced by LSEs. With their adaptation load alleviated, LSEs can dedicate themselves more fully to their Specialised subjects, resulting in work of a higher standard. This progressive approach to education not only ensures optimal support for students but also enhances the professional growth and job satisfaction of LSEs. By embracing Subject LSEs, Malta can pave the way for a more effective and rewarding educational system.

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