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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Special education needs provision within mainstream education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.1Special education needs provision within mainstream education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of the target group(s)

 The Pre-school and School Education Act gives a legal definition to "special educational needs". These are educational needs of a child or student are needs, which may occur in:

  • sensory disorders, 
  • physical disorders, 
  • multiple disorders, 
  • intellectual difficulties 
  • language-speech disorders, 
  • specific disorders of ability to learn, 
  • disorder of autistic spectre, 
  • emotional and behavioural disorders.

Additional support for personal development

For the support and integration of children with special educational needs, the normative acts provide lots of measures. The kindergartens and schools are obliged to accept children and students with special educational needs. In a group in a kindergarten and in a class in a school may be taught up to 3 children and students with special educational needs. In the cases, where on the territory of the populated place there is not another group or class, which may provide the same education, the number of the children and students in a certain group or class may be larger.

Children and students with special educational needs are provided with additional support for personal development. It is provided by kindergartens, schools, personal development support centers and specialized service units. Additional support is provided based on an assessment of their individual needs. It is carried out at the request of parents or guardians by a support team created by order of the director of the kindergarten or school for a specific child or student.

For children and students for whom there are indications that they have special educational needs, the team includes a psychologist, a speech therapist, a resource teacher, and for children and students with hard of hearing or visually impaired - a hearing and speech rehabilitator or a teacher of children and visually impaired students, the teachers in the kindergarten group/classroom teacher and the teachers who teach the student at school.

Cognitive development, communication skills, social skills, physical development, adaptive behavior, mental reactions, family functioning are evaluated. The assessment for a child or student who does not speak Bulgarian is carried out in the language he speaks best, and if necessary, a translator provided by the parent is used. The parent expresses in writing in the evaluation card his agreement or disagreement with the assessment of individual needs and with the decision on the proposed additional support for the personal development of the child or student.

The parent may request a re-evaluation. The team then prepares a support plan, determining the type and forms of training, as well as the specific activities for the additional support. A team of psychologists or pedagogical advisors, speech therapists, social workers and resource teachers work for its implementation in kindergartens and schools. The parent also participates in the work of the child's or student's team. In the case of more than 3 children or students with special educational needs in a group at the kindergarten or in a class at the school, when the children and students have different needs, a teacher's assistant who is not a pedagogical specialist is also appointed. The support team monitors and evaluates the development of each specific case.

Additional support for personal development shall include:

  1. work with a child and student in a concrete case;
  2. psycho-social rehabilitation, hearing and speech rehabilitation, sight rehabilitation, rehabilitation of communicative disturbances and in physical disabilities;
  3. provision of accessible architecture general and specialized supportive environment, technical means, specialized equipment, didactic materials, methods and specialists;
  4. provision of training in the special school subjects for the students with sensory disabilities;
  5.  resource support.

Students with special educational needs can study in all forms of education - day, evening, combined, distance form or in a dual system. The form of training is chosen by the student or his parent on the recommendation of the personal development support team. On the basis of the school curriculum, an individual curriculum is developed for students in an individual form of education, and it may contain only part of the subjects defined in the framework, standard or school curriculum.

In order to make curricula and learning content accessible to these students, the law provides

  1. providing support for personal development to ensure continuity during their transition through the various stages and levels of education;
  2. adaptation of the educational content according to their individual needs;
  3. provision of aids and specialized technologies in the educational process;
  4. provision of therapeutic support and rehabilitation;
  5. provision of training according to curricula in special subjects for children and students with sensory disabilities;
  6. use of appropriate training materials and teaching aids.

In addition to kindergartens and schools, support can be provided in Personal Development Support Centers and specialized service units.

At the Regional support centres of the process of inclusive education, regional teams are founded for support of personal development of children and students with special educational needs. In the team shall be included resource teachers, special pedagogues, including from the centres for special educational support, psychologists, speech therapists and other specialists in case of need, as well as representatives of the regional educational offices. Head of the team is  the representative of the relevant Regional educational office.

This team carry out an assessment of the individual needs of additional support for the children and students with special educational needs, where not team can be forms in the kindergarten or school. They shall organize a repeated assessment of the individual needs in case of lack of consent of the parent with the assessment or with the proposed additional support. This team support and organize in case of need provision of methodical support for work with children and students with special educational needs to the kindergartens, schools and support centers for personal development.

They inform the parents for the possibilities for continuation of the education or for acquiring vocational qualification by the students with special educational needs after VII and X grade. This is the authority that could postpone from obligatory training in I grade children with special educational needs, but not more than 1 school year.

In addition to general education schools, vocational and specialized high schools, students with sensory disabilities can also study in special schools. Regional support teams for personal development carry out an assessment after a parent's application and refer for training in special schools. The activity of special schools is aimed at training, ensuring successful social integration and professional realization of children and students with sensory disabilities, preparation for inclusion of children in integrated education and resource support.

In these schools, children are taught according to curricula for general education subjects, when the training is not based on individual curricula and curricula for special subjects for hard of hearing or visually impaired students. Curricula and curricula for vocational education and training according to the Vocational Education and Training Act and the state educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications in professions are also applied.

In special schools nursery groups may be opened in compliance with the requirements of the Health Act, as well as pre-school education may be organized and conducted in compliance with the state educational standard for pre-school education.


For the students with special educational needs, who are trained in an individual school programme, the assessment shall be an indicator for the level at which they have achieved its competencies. They shall be assessed only by quality indicator, which may be: "achieves the requirements", "copes with …" and "meets difficulties". Where it is found that the students have achieved the requirements of the school programme in a school subject of the school learning plan, a mark of quantity indicator shall be put and this school subject and the training in an individual school programme shall be terminated.

A student with special educational needs shall not repeat the grade. For his training when he has annual mark "poor (2)" in a school subject, upon estimation of the support team for personal development, in the following grade may be developed an individual school programme in the relevant school subject or shall sit an examination for a change of the mark in this subject.