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Children with disabilities will soon feel safer at special school hostels following the department’s intervention plan.

An inter-sectoral committee is in the process of being established to develop an intervention plan for special school hostels, the Department of Basic Education said on Tuesday.

The department said the committee, which will consist of representation from the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development, will be part of the overall Departmental Strategy for Safety in Schools, headed by the Directorate Safety in Education.

Although the primary focus will be on special school hostels, the department said issues such as bullying of children with disabilities in mainstream schools will also be addressed.

“In 2012 and 2013, joint interventions were conducted in two special schools, respectively in the Eastern Cape and in North West provinces and turn-around strategies developed and implemented.

“The department has also developed guidelines for the provisioning of boarding facilities, where minimum safety requirements have been highlighted,” the department said.

Schools are expected to draft their own school-specific Code of Conduct for learners based on the sample Code of Conduct for learners provided to all provinces.

“The Codes of Conduct should provide parameters for appropriate behaviour and consequences when behaviour is unacceptable.”

The department has further developed a National School Safety Framework which will apply to all schools.

The framework serves as a management tool for provincial and district officials responsible for school safety, including principals, Senior Management Team Members, SGB members, teachers and learners to identify and manage risk and threats of violence in and around schools.

The framework is critical in empowering all responsible officials in understanding their responsibilities regarding school safety. –