Metta's History

20 years of supporting and guiding children with special needs. 


Founded in 2001, Metta School (慈光学校) was established by Metta Welfare Association with the support of Ministry of Education (MOE) and National Council of Social Service (NCSS) offering special education to students with Mild Intellectual Disability (MID) and to children who have Autism (ASD), aged between 7 to 21 years old.

In 1992, Venerable Chao Khun Fa Zhao BBM founded Metta Welfare Association (MWA), with the vision to deliver social service programmes for the community.  Metta School was then established in 2001, 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, offering special education to children with Mild Intellectual Disability (MID) and some with co-occurring Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), aged 7 to 21 years.


School began its operations in the holding site at Chai Chee Lane.


Beginning of Performing and Visual Arts Programme.


School moved to Simei Street 1 with a 6 storey purpose-built building.


Attained Approved Training Centre (ATC) status for three 1-module ITE Skills Certificate (ISC) courses.


Addition of a 2nd block (5-storey) and Attained ATC status for two 4-modules ISC courses.


Started vocational training for ASD Senior students, every student has an ICT tool for learning.


Leveraged on VR to teach Daily Living skills, 1st of several MOE-NCSS Innovation Award.


Attained ATC status for the fourth 1-module ISC: Residential Air-conditioning.


Attained ATC status for the third 4-modules ISC: Facility Services.

We believe that aesthetic education is fundamental to young children’s holistic development and started the Performing and Visual Arts Programme (PVA) in 2003.  This allows students to not only experience and develop interests and enjoyment in their own creativity and that of others, but also give them a meaningful outlet to communicate their feelings, thoughts and ideas.  Consisting of Chinese Orchestra, Angklung, Dance, Wushu, Pottery, Batik, Mosaic art etc., the PVA programme had since become the school’s signature programme.  

In 2005, with the growing enrolment and staff population (395 students and 60 staff members), the school moved to its current premise in Simei Street 1. The six-storey purpose-built building, which housed both the school and Metta HQ, 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 (ATC) status to conduct 1-module Institute of Technical Education Skills Certificate (ISC) training in either Baking, Food Preparation, or Housekeeping Operations (Accommodation), supported by qualified trainers and job coaches.

A new 5-storey block was subsequently constructed to provide more facilities for students’ training, especially in the Vocational Certification track. The block was operational in January 2013.   In April 2013, the official opening by Mr Heng Swee Keat, then Minister for Education, marked a significant milestone in the history of Metta School.

In the same year, the school embarked on 2 new ISC courses – ISC in Baking Practices and ISC in Hospitality Services.  These 4-modules ISCs, not only equip our Vocational students with more advance skills, they also provide better opportunities for our students to further their education at Institute of Technical Education (ITE).   Since 2014 when the first cohort attained their qualification, we now have an average of twelve graduates admitted into National ITE Certificate (Nitec) courses annually. 

In 2014, Metta School started training senior students in the Autism 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.  Henceforth, we expanded to seek opportunities for our students with other industrial partners.

By 2014, every student was equipped with an ICT tool to support his/her learning.  Teachers were able to use more variety of ways to engage their students, depending on their needs, facilitating students’ ability to access the curriculum.  

To further improve the quality of Teaching and Learning, the school started to explore more innovative ways to deliver our lessons.  We tapped on Virtual Reality (VR) technology to make road safety training safe yet authentic.  The programme was launched in 2016 with the funding support from Tote Board and MOE ICT funding.  It is comprised of three modules – Road Safety, Taking the Bus and Taking the MRT. Junior students practice the skills in school until they attained a degree of mastery and are then brought out to the community to navigate real-world conditions.

2016 also marked the first year Metta School received the recognition for our effort in developing a culture of innovation through the implementing of innovative practices that nurture student development.   Since then, Metta has continued to innovate and received several more awards:

Year Project Award
2016 Centre of Excellence for Health & Fitness (Mild Intellectual Disability) MOE-NCSS Innovation Award
2018 Science Learning @ Metta School MOE-NCSS Innovation Award – Commendation
2020 Project Starfish (Partnership with parents to promote healthy lifestyle) MOE-NCSS Innovation Award
2020 Accessing Health Care Services – Visiting Clinic MOE-NCSS Innovation Award – Commendation
2023 EPP NumApp (Mobile application to support money skills) MOE-SG Enable Innovation Award

To better match students’ interests and aspirations, Metta started our journey to explore other ISC options, apart from the hospitality-related ones we are already offering.  Working collaboratively with ITE, our strategic partner, the school managed to attain the ATC status to conduct ISC in Residential Air-conditioning on January 2021.   Two years later, Metta attained the ATC status for our 7th certificate course – ISC in Facility Services.  Students in this course are taught skills in the 4 systems – Plumbing, Electrical, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning.  We look forward to seeing these students entering the School of Engineering in ITE when they graduate.