Definition of the target group(s)
All children of compulsory school age are entitled to full time compulsory education and it is expected that the schools (when possible) support all pupils regarding their needs.
Support is provided for bilingual children. Bilingual children are defined as children who have another mother tongue than Danish and do not learn Danish until they are in contact with the surrounding society, for example through the school’s teaching.
The definition covers both children who only speak another mother tongue than Danish and children who can speak several languages, including Danish as second language.
Support is furthermore provided for children with dyslexia.
Specific support measures
Support measures for bilingual children in early childhood education
The local authorities are obliged to offer language stimulation training to the bilingual children living in Denmark who are in need of such training. The provision governing this area is the Consolidation Act on Public Day-care Facilities etc. Since August 2004, it has been compulsory for bilingual children to participate in language stimulation training.
According to the Consolidation Act on Public Day-care Facilities etc. bilingual children who are considered in need of language stimulation must attend either 15 or 30 hours of language stimulation training per week depending on their individual needs, status of enrolment in day-care centres etc.
Support measures for bilingual children in school education
The area of bilingual children in the Folkeskole is regulated by the Folkeskole Act. Bilingual children’s Danish language skills are vital for their understanding of the contents of the Folkeskole’s teaching. Not all bilingual children have the prerequisites in the Danish language which are necessary for participating in the teaching at the Folkeskole. Therefore, these children must receive the necessary support.
Bilingual pupils in primary and lower secondary schools are offered training in ‘Danish as a second language’ if so decided by the school leader. The subject ‘Danish as a second language’ is governed by the Consolidation Act on The Folkeskole’s teaching in Danish as a Second Language.
If the bilingual pupil needs basic instruction in Danish, he or she will be referred to teaching in a reception class, teaching in teams or individual instruction. Bilingual pupils who participate in the ordinary teaching, but who are in need of special support, are referred to supplementary teaching in Danish as a second language. The number of lessons is determined in accordance with the need of the individual pupil.
Furthermore, a limited number of bilingual children in primary and lower secondary schools are offered mother-tongue tuition. The provision governing mother-tongue tuition is the Ministerial Order on the Folkeskoles Mother-tongue tuition.
At the asylum centres’ receiving centres, teaching in Danish should provide the refugees with an initial knowledge of Danish language and culture. At the accommodation centres, the children have to participate in teaching corresponding to the one that other immigrants receive in the Folkeskole. The number of teaching hours at the accommodation centres should correspond to the minimum number of hours in the Danish Folkeskole at the equivalent age group.
Support measures for pupils with dyslexia
In 2015, the Danish Ministry of Children and Education presented a new national dyslexia test which will identify pupils and students with dyslexia across educational programmes from the 3rd grade of primary school to higher education.
The Ministry of Children and Education has developed the dyslexia test in collaboration with the National Board of Social Services, Centre for Reading Research at Copenhagen University and the School Research Programme IUP at Aarhus University. The new dyslexia test will contribute to a secure and uniform identification of dyslexia both across municipal boundaries and educational programmes. As a follow-up on the test, the Ministry of Children and Education will develop educational guidance material on efforts targeted dyslexic pupils in primary school.
Furthermore, since January 2013, dyslexic pupils in the youth educational programmes have been equipped with an IT-backpack when they start their studies so that they can get the help they need in order to complete the programme. An IT-backpack can help dyslexic pupils complete a youth educational programme.
Among other things, the backpack consists of a computer with reading and writing supportive software which will make it easier for the pupil to read and write and thereby be able to deal with the academic challenges waiting ahead. The backpack also contains a scanner so that texts can be scanned and transformed into sounds.
The initiative puts focus on dyslexic pupils receiving support from the very beginning of their educational programme. The Ministry of Children and Education estimates that more pupils will be able to complete their educational programme with these backpacks.
For additional information, please consult:
Bekendtgørelse om folkeskolens specialundervisning og anden specialpædagogisk bistand [Ministerial Order on the Folkeskole’s special educational teaching and other kinds of specialist pedagogical assistance], BEK nr 693 af 20/06/2014
Ministry for Children and Education: Additional Information, Bilingual Children.