History and Background
Metta School was established in 2001 by Metta Welfare Association with the support of Ministry of Education (MOE) and National Council of Social Service (NCSS). The school began its operations at a holding site at Chai Chee Lane. The school offers special education to children with Mild Intellectual Disability (MID) and to children who also have Autism (ASD), aged between 7 and 21 years.
Metta school started the Performing and Visual Arts Programme (PVA) in 2003, to allow students to experience and develop interest and enjoyment in their own creativity and that of others. Consisting of Chinese Orchestra, Angklung, Dance, Wushu, Pottery, Batik, Mosaic art etc., the PVA programme had since become the School’s signature programme.
The students will explore, acquire and develop skills needed in the area of performing arts and visual arts. They learn to communicate their feelings, thoughts and ideas through art and learn to appreciate performances and artwork done by others.
In 2005, with the growing enrolment and staff population (395 students and 60 staff members), the school moved to its current premises in Simei Street One. The six-storey purpose-built building, which housed both the school and Metta HQ. The School was officially opened on 27th May 2005, by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, then Minister for Education.
In 2008, the School piloted the Vocational Certification programme for its students, as well as graduates from other Special Schools, at the age of 17 and above. The school attained the Approved Training Centre status to conduct the Institute of Technical Education Skills Certificate (ISC) training in Baking, Food Preparation, and Housekeeping Operation for its students, supported by qualified trainers and job coaches.
A new block was constructed to provide the necessary facilities for students’ training, especially in the Vocational Certification Track. The block was operational in January 2013. It is a 5-storey block with training facilities to cater to the needs of the Autism, MID and Vocational programmes.
In April 2013, the official opening of the new block marked a significant milestone in the history of Metta School.
In the same year, the school embarked on 2 new ISCs (4 Module ISC) that will provide better opportunities for our students to continue their education at Institute of Technical Education (ITE). ISC in Baking Practices and ISC in Hospitality Services graduates with Workplace Literacy (WPL) Level 5 and Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 and above may apply for progression to National ITE Certificate (NITEC) in Baking & Pastry and Food & Beverages offered by ITE.
We are proud to share that our first batch of graduates from the 4 Module ISC courses in 2014, we have 2 students admitted to full time ITE Nitec courses. Our second batch of graduates from the 4 Module ISC course in 2015, we have 6 students entering full time ITE Nitec courses and 1 student entering traineeship Nitec courses. Subsequently, we have more graduates admitted to ITE Nitec courses.
Metta School started training senior students in the ASD programme with basic work skills of packing and sorting. The school partnered Steril Medical Private Limited to provide work attachment opportunities for work ready students with ASD in 2014. Since then, we expanded to seek opportunities for our students with other industrial partners.
Metta School is privileged to be part of the School-to-Work (S2W) Transition Programme since 2014 which aims to provide support to students as they move towards open employment. An Employment Pathway Programme (EPP) is put in place since 2015 for students who are not on the Vocational Certification track, to transit from school to work upon graduation at age 18. It includes the students from MID programme and ASD programme. Students undergo vocational skills training, such as WSQ modules, Food and Hygiene courses, etc. and job trials and on-the-job training.
Metta School started a new programme – Community Connect programme in 2015. The programme aims to allow our student to integrate into the community and to promote independence. There are opportunities for the students to participate in mainstream community activities, sometimes with the help of adult mentors; and this also enhances students’ communication skills and life-skills. Community Connect has since become the CCA for the Employment Pathway Programme and the 4 Module ISC Certification Programme students.
In 2016, to enable our students to lead an independent life through acquisition of daily living skills, Metta School seeks to enhance the students’ travelling skills using virtual reality (VR) technology. The programme comprised of three modules- Road Safety, Taking the Bus and Taking the MRT. This programme is made possible with the funding support from Tote Board and MOE ICT funding. The technology was made available for students to practice travelling skills. These practices proved to be complementary to the school’s monthly social competence outings whereby students will get to navigate real-world conditions such as taking the MRT or crossing the road.
At the SPED Conference 2016, the school’s project “Centre of Excellence for Health & Fitness (MID)” received the MOE-NCSS INNOVATION AWARD 2016. This award recognizes the school’s efforts in developing a culture of innovation through the implementing of innovative practices that nurture the development of students. The school receives a trophy, a certificate and $5000 to enhance quality of teaching and learning in the school.
In 2017, our pair of twins, Jovin Ong and Jovan Ong were recipients of the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Exemplary Student Award. This award affirms the resilience and hard work of students from our 20 government-funded special education schools, who have risen above the odds to be exemplary role models.
Jovin and Jovan joined Metta School in 2009, when they were 10 years old. Both of them exemplify our school values of compassion and resilience. They have been active members of the Metta Simba Scout Group, since they were 13. Jovin and Jovan have consistently demonstrated care and concern to members of the community, and touched the hearts of many in the school community.
Thereafter, 2 students were awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Exemplary Student Award each year.
2018 – Sarhan Bin Zuhir and Dowen Tan
2019 – Jocelyn Chia and Syikh Hariz
2020 – Jerica Tan and Lee Yi Xuan
At SPED Conference 2018, “Science Learning @ Metta School” received the INNOVATION AWARD 2018 – Commendation. Metta Science Curriculum was developed and concretised in 2016-2017. We believe that children are naturally curious about themselves and the environment around them. Learning science will help our students develop an appreciation and understanding of themselves and the world that they live in.
On 18 November 2019, MOE announced that Metta is setting up another Special Education School, Maitri School (in Sanskrit means Loving Kindness), 慈明学校, to provide education for students with Moderate to Severe Special Education Needs who have Autism Spectrum Disorder and co-occurring with Intellectual Disability.
Maitri School will be located at Pasir Ris Street 51. The new building for Maitri School is anticipated to be ready in the year 2024. Maitri school programme however will start in 2021, as one of the programme under Metta School, and the students will be housed in the current Metta School and Metta Welfare Association building at Simei Street 1.
In 2020, “Project Starfish” received the MOE-NCSS INNOVATION AWARD 2020; and “Accessing Health Care Services – Visiting Clinic” received the INNOVATION AWARD 2020 – Commendation.
Project Starfish promotes a healthy lifestyle in students through a strong partnership between Adapted Physical Education teachers, trainers and parents. The teachers, trainers, students and parents use WhatsApp, a common communication platform, to form group chats to extend learning beyond school into the home. Using the platform, videos of exercise routine to carry out at home were sent to parents and students. Students video oneself doing the exercise routine and send it back to the teachers and trainers for feedback. The close partnership between students, teachers, trainers and parents, has empowered students to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles!
Accessing Health Care Services – Visiting Clinic use a simulated learning environment created by virtual reality technology for students to learn to manage their medical needs by learning symptoms of illnesses and how to visit the clinic to get medical help. With the help of staff at Changi Airport Group and Raffles Clinic staff, the students get to do role-play at a Raffles Medical Clinic, and apply the knowledge and skills learnt.