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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education

Belgium - French Community

12.Educational support and guidance

12.3Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of the target group(s)

The increase in the number of immigrant pupils (first- and second-generation) has prompted reflection about their specific needs, in particular in terms of learning French. Educational choices relating to their specific situation have been reframed within the broader context of citizenship and intercultural education.

Reinforcement of the learning language (DASPA support device)

The "DASPA" decree of 7 February 2019 has the following objectives :

  • ensure the reception, orientation and optimal integration of newly arrived pupils and pupils assimilated to newly arrived pupils into the French Community's education system ;
  • offer academic and pedagogical support adapted to the teaching profiles of the newly arrived pupils and those assimilated to newly arrived pupils linked to difficulties relating to mastery of the language of instruction and school culture ;
  • offer a stage of intermediate schooling accompanied by gradual integration before these pupils are eventually integrated into a year of study.

To achieve these objectives, the decree provides for the possibility for schools to organize a Reception, Integration and Schooling of Newly arrived pupils and Assimilated Pupils (DASPA = Dispositif d’Accueil et de Scolarisation des Primo-arrivants): this is an educational structure aimed at the reception, integration and schooling of newly arrived and assimilated pupils in ordinary education.

The duration of the DASPA course is between one week and one year. This period may be extended by a maximum of 6 months.

Courses in the language and culture of origin

Article 6 of the Decree on the Missions of School defines the following objective: ’To prepare all pupils to be responsible citizens, capable of contributing to the development of a democratic, supportive, pluralistic society that is open to other cultures’. The government of the French Community recommends intercultural education, with the aim of covering all kinds of learning taking into account the multicultural reality and different origins of the children. Instead of rejection through fear of differences, such education aims at acceptance of others through respect for particularities.

In order to facilitate the integration of migrant children, the French Community has established partnership agreements with Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and China. These bilateral cultural agreements allow volunteering schools to benefit from the presence of one or more teachers coming from these countries. The Partnership Charter, which was previously a common charter for all partner countries, has since July 2006 taken the form of bilateral Charters which make it easier to reflect the specific characteristics of each country.

In September 2015, a call for projects was issued to all pre-secondary and secondary schools, inviting them to develop intercultural education activities with the following main objectives :

  • to involve pupils in activities educating them in cultural diversity ;
  • to combat racism and stereotypes ;
  • to provide training in citizenship ;
  • to develop more harmonious co-existence within society.

Schools are encouraged to affirm, develop or imagine an intercultural dimension in the context of their courses during the 2015-2016 school year. Those schools whose plan is approved will receive financial support under certain conditions.

Disadvantaged pupils

Significantly increased human and financial resources are allocated to schools on the basis of objective and uniform socio-economic criteria, with the aim of promoting additional educational activities in schools taking in disadvantaged pupils (differentiated staffing). Additional resources are allocated on the basis of the institution’s intake.

A socio-economic index that takes several statistical parameters into account (income per inhabitant, level of qualifications, unemployment rate, activity rate and proportion of recipients of the monthly minimum guaranteed income, professional activities and standard of housing) is allocated to each statistical area. The school’s index figure is calculated on the basis of the indices for the statistical areas in which the pupils in its intake live.

Aid to pupils in difficulty

This relates not to the difficulties inherent in the learning process itself, but to the more significant difficulties which impede the learning process in the context of the educational facilities used in the classroom. The provision of aid to pupils in difficulty and based on taking those difficulties into account is a growing area of concern within schools.

Inclusive education

Reasonable accomodation

In the decree of 7 December 2017 on Reasonable accomodation (décret "Aménagements raisonnables" du 7 décembre 2017), which has been in force since the start of the 2018-2019 school year, it is foreseen that any ordinary school pupil with one or more special needs is entitled to appropriate reasonable accommodation, provided that his or her situation does not make it essential to register to specialised education. Needs may be related to disorders such as: stuttering, color blindness, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, dysorthographia, dysphasia, dyspraxia, high intellectual potential, Asperger's syndrome, dysexecutive syndrome, attention deficit disorder with/without hyperactivity. 

The reasonableness of the accommodation is assessed, among other things, in light of the financial and organizational impact, the impact of the accommodation, particularly in terms of supervision, the frequency and duration of the accommodation and the impact on the quality of the students’ life.

Inclusive classes or establishments

Specialized education can be organized in the form of a class or an inclusive establishment.  It is composed of one or more inclusive classes.  Inclusive establishments have existed on an experimental basis since the 2017-2018 school year.

An inclusive class is a group of students with special needs enrolled in specialized education of type 2 with or without autism or type 3 for students with autism, located in a regular school.

 

Specific support measures

Reinforcement of the learning language (DASPA support device)

The stay in a DASPA (Dispositif d'Accueil et de Scolarisation d'élèves Primo-Arrivants) lasts from one week to one year (with a possible extension of 6 months). During this period, the pupils benefit from specific support allowing them to adapt to the country’s socio-cultural and educational system and to be guided towards the level and stream of education that suits them best.

Schools which have obtained authorisation to organise a DASPA receive additional teacher periods.

The Course of Adaptation to the Language of Instruction may be taught during the school’s normal opening hours. It can also be provided in addition to the 28 weekly periods. The course to adapt to the language of instruction is aimed as much at integrating the pupils into the school system as at their acquisition of the French language. A specific continuing training programme has been offered to all teachers giving lessons to adapt to the language of instruction in all networks.

Language and culture of origin courses

Courses in the language and culture of origin in pre-secondary and secondary education are intended for pupils of foreign origin whose parents wish them to participate, and courses in cultural openness, which can be integrated into the timetable and hence become part of compulsory activities, for all pupils in the class (in pre-secondary education) or for all pupils attending the course(s) concerned (in secondary education).

In order to facilitate the integration of migrant children, the French Community has established partnership agreements with Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and China. These bilateral cultural agreements allow volunteering schools to benefit from the presence of one or more teachers coming from these countries. The Partnership Charter, which was previously a common charter for all partner countries, has since July 2006 taken the form of bilateral Charters which make it easier to reflect the specific characteristics of each country.

Language and culture of origin courses (LCOs) in pre-secondary and secondary education consist of two types of course :

  • courses for the acquisition of the language and culture, taught by the LCO teacher, and aimed at children of foreign origin; these courses are optional and are organised outside the compulsory timetable ;
  • courses in cultural openness, which can be integrated into the timetable and hence become part of compulsory activities, for all pupils in the class (in pre-secondary education) or for all pupils attending the course(s) concerned (in secondary education); these courses are taught in collaboration by the LCO teacher and the class teacher (in primary education) or the teacher responsible for the course concerned (in secondary education).

The website for Education in the French Community presents useful information for interested teachers, including teaching resources.

Disadvantaged pupils

Additional educational measures, including those set out in the decree on differentiated staffing, have the following main goals :

  • to reinforce all pupils’ command of basic knowledge and skills, and of the French language in particular ;
  • to combat failure, the repetition of years and backwardness at school ;
  • to enable the rapid detection of pupils encountering difficulties at school, organise immediate remedial measures and implement differentiated educational measures ;
  • to prevent dropping out, and associated anti-social and violent behaviour.

Particular attention must be paid to adaptation to the French language for pupils whose command of it is insufficient to enable them to adapt successfully to activities in the class in which they are enrolled.

Synergies with local and regional associations working in the local area and partnerships between different sites benefiting from differentiated staffing are encouraged. In this context, additional human and financial resources may be combined and used jointly by the sites in question.

Aid to pupils in difficulty

Remedial measures were the subject of particular attention by members of the inspectorate during the 2009-2010 school year. Various structural and/or educational measures were recorded. Thus, in ordinary secondary education, the vast majority of schools use part of the personnel resources allocated to them to organise remedial periods; these are most commonly devoted to mathematics, French and the chosen modern language. In many primary schools – particularly those benefiting from additional staffing – personnel resources are allocated to a remedial teacher who works outside or within the class, in collaboration with the class teacher. Apart from the use of specific resources, some schools have set up interesting initiatives such as the creation in some primary schools of ‘need groups’ working on the basis of the results obtained in formative assessments.

School-reintegration services (Services d'Accrochage Scolaire - SAS) can help students in crisis, welcoming them temporarily (Decree of 15th December 2006 amending the decree of 12th May 2004).

Inclusive education

Reasonable accomodation

The reasonableness of the accommodation is assessed, among other things, in light of the financial and organizational impact, the impact of the accommodation, particularly in terms of supervision, the frequency and duration of the accommodation and the impact on the quality of the students’ life.

The arrangements can be material, organizational or pedagogical. They are set up for the benefit of pupils with specific needs, attested by a diagnosis made by specialists and are the subject of consultation between the stakeholders involved.

The accommodations put in place to support the student in his or her learning are also necessary during the assessments. As part of the external certificative evaluations are concerned, a modified version can be obtained at the time of the test.

These arrangements concern the form of the test itself or the passing of the test’s procedures. The list of authorized software is updated annually and included in the organization circulars for common external tests.

Inclusive classes or establishments

The primary objective for students participating in this type of project is social and relational inclusion in order to acquire various skills in an ordinary school environment.

For each pupil integrated into ordinary pre-primary, primary and secondary education, support is provided by specialised teaching staff, for example :

  • speech therapist ; 
  • childcare worker for care ;
  • physiotherapist ;
  • ergotherapist ; 
  • teacher for sign language translation ; 
  • teacher of Braille translation ; 
  • mathematics teacher in charge of explaining the graphics in the maths lessons (visually impaired) ;
  • educator ;

The type of support will be adapted to each student, to each situation. It is quite possible to divide the support periods for a student between several functions. Support for integration students may include a coordination period, provided this is specified in the protocol.