Gateway's Vision

Large number of individuals with disabilities

8-30 million estimated in India1

Access to services is a problem

Almost 50% not attending school2

Quality of educational service is poor

Both in special education and general education classrooms3

This issue of access to quality education for children with learning challenges inspired the founding of the Gateway School of Mumbai in 2012.

Our students deserve a quality of education at par with the best schools in the world. Nothing less is fair, adequate, or acceptable. Gateway’s theory of change is premised on the belief that in order to empower students to live fulfilling and productive lives as active contributors in society, it is necessary to also build capacity in their families and the professionals that work with them, along with positively influencing government policy and promoting inclusive culture in our society-at-large.

1 Census, 2011
2 Census, 2011; Das & Shah, 2014; Singal, 2016
3 Singal, 2008

Gateway’s primary line of action towards impacting the landscape of special needs education is through empowering teachers, therapists, parents, and educational leaders. To this end, Gateway is establishing itself as learning site for excellence in teaching and educational leadership. Through this process, transformational knowledge is generated by our community.

Gateway employs a variety of delivery strategies to efficiently, yet impactfully share the generated knowledge with institutions and professionals in the field of special and general education in India. Typical outreach engagements include professional workshops conducted by Gateway’s team, organized visits and classroom observations at Gateway, systematic and strategic professional development support to institutions, and publication of scholarly research, among several other informal activities.

But, supporting educational institutions and professionals alone will not be sufficient. If we hope to empower individuals with special needs to live independent and fulfilling lives, then changes at the level of society and government are also essential. Cultural beliefs and social attitudes continue to pose real barriers to persons with disabilities, living in India. The prevalent tendency is to define persons by their disabilities, and view them as deviant or inferior to the norm. The fear of social stigma often makes families apprehensive about professionally evaluating their children and even leads to denial regarding the apparent special needs their child might be exhibiting.

Through awareness campaigns and social discourse, Gateway will challenge these beliefs and propagate the view that neuro diversity is a biological norm. At the same time, we will empower our students to self-advocate and together we will actively support change towards more inclusive and universal physical infrastructure, legal framework, and educational policy.


Gateway sees itself as a lab-school, experimenting with international research-based practices and adapting them in order to effectively meet the unique context of the children we serve.

Students at Gateway

Student Empowerment

This year our students demonstrated agency more than ever! Our Grandstand sharing space was home to many creative student-led shows - Gateway’s got talent, Gateway Talk show, ‘I teach’ week, Gateway Runway Project, Gateway Game Show and Gateway Quiz. We saw the students transform into magicians, dancers, show hosts, fashion designers, chefs and so much more!

Parent email: R has made a PowerPoint presentation completely independently on his trip to Goa. He is very keen on sharing this with his classmates. He has inserted several audio recordings as well. Am truly amazed at the job and would not have believed it had I not seen him make it.

Contributors to Society

Contributors to society… today! Our students have been taking steps towards our mission of ‘becoming active contributors to society’ through their service learning program (SLP). They conducted community building activities with four year old children in Bal Anand orphanage and English communication activities for lower income students living in the vicinity of the school.

Student Email: Hi miss, hope you are doing well. As a homeroom we are doing a project on gratitude. As part of the project we did a survey and asked all the support staff what is the thing that you need help with. So, they have shared that they would like to learn English. We were wondering that next year if we can take this up as a project as part of the SLP program. We are sharing so that it is on your radar.


Gateway students engaged with 17 children over the course of the year

Ready Beyond School

We always strive to make learning authentic and meaningful for our students and that is why we value the extensive time they have spent learning on real projects and beyond school. We piloted our high school internship program this year - with students interning at IT companies and 3D printing workshops. They have also been learning in context - money management at the bank, shopping in a supermarket and leisure skills at a dance class. They worked in collaboration with experts like artists, designers, sportspersons, sustainability experts, etc. We visited the museum, the zoo, industries at Dharavi, factories, film festivals for enriching learning experiences.

Parent email:S enjoyed the outing yesterday very much. Thanks to you all for taking the time and effort to take our children out to such events. S doesnt watch cricket at home nor does he play but he wanted to be with you all. That says a lot. And I feel so grateful about it. He has come a long way since his earlier times when he couldn’t care about anything other than his passion for cars. Thanks for motivating and believing in him.


The UBU Movement: What started off as a social entrepreneurship project in one classroom - where our students coined the term UBU - United but Unique (and also You be Yourself), turned into a school wide movement to celebrate diversity. It resulted in the production of a diversity themed children’s book, a fantastic Arts and Fashion collaboration with top designers, the launch of a range of products and an outstanding performance of speeches featuring famous individuals who are differently abled!

Email from a Collaborator: I met one of your students at a dinner party tonight and she absolutely loves Gateway! Had the nicest things to say and also brought up some really interesting insights on gender stereotypes based on a discussion she had had in class. Its always heartwarming to see the wonderful impact good schools have on children. Thought I’d just let you know :)


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Students passed their NIOS 10 and 12 grade exams


Students interned in the community this year


Visitors at our UBU themed Art show

Parents & Professionals


Our parents continue to be partners at Gateway by learning together at Parent Workshops and Parent Support Groups. They also have led many school events like the picnic and festival celebrations. Parents have also stepped up to share their perspective during discussions on inclusion with many visiting professionals.

Unsolicited Parent email: I am thankful to you and writing this letter for helping my daughter H. I would prefer to write in hindi to express my feeling about Gateway School.
मैं बहुत दिन से सोच रही थी की आपके प्रति आभार व्यक्त करने के लिए पर असमंजस में थी कि आपको क्या लिखू और कुछ लिखने के लिए शब्द नहीं मिल रहे थे । आपने हर्षिता के लिए जो भी हेल्प की है वो हमारे लिए एक आर्शीवाद से कम नहीं आप जिस तरह से बच्चों को पढ़ाते है वो हमारी सोच से भी बहार है students के साथ साथ parents को भी बहुत सीखने मिलता है । हर्षिता जैसे बच्चों के लिये Gateway School डूबती नैया का सहारा है । कागज़ की कश्ती नदिया पार नहीं कर सकती पर उसी कश्ती को नौका में बैठे किसी की हतेली में रखकर नदिया पार कर सकती है । हमारी help के लिये आपका बहुत खूब आभार प्रकट करती हूँ ।


Gateway is a learning organization in which research, learning and innovation is valued not just for students but for all members of the Gateway community. The team continues to engage in ongoing learning and innovation through inhouse workshops, Book Clubs, R&D projects and off site visits.

Teacher testimonial: “I’m sure the structure that’s in place took years to reach this level, but boy, what a level! It’s the small things that I feel make such a big difference – such as having regular spaces slotted out for sharing and reflecting within homerooms, departments, etc, I’ve heard more than enough about but never seen implemented. As a workspace, there’s such harmony between everyone and a willingness to be flexible and adapt as and when the situation calls for it. This coupled with a hierarchy based on mutual respect instead of fear makes working with others significantly easier. I feel like it makes people automatically more collaborative and open to constructive criticism because everyone wants to improve themselves.”


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Last year’s Parent Contribution to support the vision of the school


Parent survey: The school organizes sufficient initiatives to empower me – the parent - to better understand and support my child’s needs at home more effectively


Parent Survey: The school creates a welcoming environment for parents.



23 workshops on supporting struggling learners conducted for a total of 1088 participants


2 schools continue their systemic school wide support for students with learning challenges


12 interns who were mentored at school this year - ranging from few month to year long internships
40+ external collaborators
Launched our first Summer School Programme with 19 children from in and beyond Gateway.


  • 2 articles published in scholarly journals,
  • 1 Task force, collaborating with organisations across Mumbai, to serve low income schools (GATI),
  • 2 media features on our founder’s journey,
  • 2 music videos featuring our students to spread awareness.

“I came here to know about the special kids, their needs and their education system , but I learnt much more than just that. The whole school atmosphere is pleasant. The people guided me with kindness and it was very informative. Thank you so much for allowing me to visit your school, it was a great experience and this is going to be really helpful for my thesis.”

163 professionals visited Gateway to see practices

Spotlight: Saatvik


Saatvik joins Gateway.
He always has a serious look on his face and rarely smiles.

“We still remember our first day at Gateway when Saatvik exclaimed ‘This is the school I want to be a part of! The very next day I was at his previous school taking his Leaving Certificate.”

Saatvik begins to work on things he struggled with,
like taking others perspective and regulating his emotions.

“The school has groomed him in every aspect - from curative therapies to enabling his freedom of speech and expression. The teachers at Gateway have been amazing mentors, advisors and friends to him, for which we will forever be grateful”

“We have seen Saatvik grow from a shy and introvert
boy to a happy and confident youngster.”

“He learnt the word sarcastic and found it described his sense of humour aptly. Though he still had to learn that sarcastic comments were not appreciated in all situations.”

Saatvik practices his comedy routines on his teachers. He prepares to appear for his IGCSE exam.


Saatvik works diligently and successfully completes his IGCSE certificate with 70%

“Clearing IGCSE seemed a distant dream to us which was accomplished only because of the confidence instilled in him by all of you”

Saatvik shines as a model student - he is learning programming languages, confidently hosting events at school with a witty sense of humor, and has completed 4 internships in a span of two years. He completes NIOS courses.

“To see him happy and laughing has been one of the most rewarding experiences for us. The SLP programme has not only made him outgoing but also more assertive. We have had some breathtaking moments see him speak so well in the grandstand and participate in various activities”

Saatvik graduates and is admitted into the BCA program at Symbiosis in Pune!

At his school farewell, many students share that they will miss his jokes and laughing with him most of all.

Ma’am I just want to say that I am very lucky that I have been a part of gateway school. I can never thank enough all of you and the support staff for whatever you have done for me. I may have troubled y’all at many times but this all has been a part of my learning process. I will always cherish the memories of my time spent at Gateway be it our Sports Day, Annual Day, Art Show and the companionship of my friends and the outings we had. I have become more friendly and make friends in a place where needed. I have learned lot of leadership skills in Gateway and how to work as a Team. My dream is to become a programmer and design codes which can be useful for everyone. Don’t worry ma’am I will keep visiting the school very often.

Saatvik, 2018

Looking Forward

Leveraging Data and Tech for Systematic improvement:

We will be making school wide effort to use data for improvement. At the classroom level, teachers will leverage technology to collect and analyze data on student learning and use this knowledge to improve practices. At the school system level, leaders will be collecting and analysing data at the program level to make better-informed, strategic decisions.
We are also excited to be working on a Teacher Development project in collaboration with Zaya Learning Labs. Together we will be developing a digital tool to support ongoing and personalized teacher development in schools.

Supporting transition of students as they move beyond Gateway:

As more students graduate from our Programs we plan to develop a strong transition plan to support our students in this important phase through community engagement and systematic planning to enable further education, vocational education and internships.

Our first Professional Development Program:

Gateway has always invested heavily in the professional development of our team. With our first Professional Development Program, we now have the opportunity to share our practices with a wider audience. The PDP strives to not only introduce best practices for teaching struggling learners, but also support participants as they apply these strategies in their own settings - by creating professional learning communities, online sharing platforms, and assigning coaches to provide ongoing support. We’re very excited to embark on this journey with 46 external participants, 12 new Gateway teachers, 13 coaches and 16 facilitators.

Integration of Therapies:

While therapies have always played an integral role in our programs, this year we look forward to an even more cohesive integration of therapies as our therapist plan and co-teach with our academic team across the school.

Thank you