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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: 21 March 2024

Definition of the target group(s)

Special education constitutes a number of education services for students with disabilities and/or special education needs with a medical diagnosis.

The state ensures and continually improves the compulsory nature of special education emphasizing on the fact that it constitutes an integral part of compulsory and free of charge public education, provided to disabled individuals of all ages and education level.

Pursuant to law 3699/2008, students with disabilities and/or special educational needs are considered students manifesting significant learning difficulties during an entire or limited period of their school life due to:

sensory, mental, cognitive, developmental, psychological and neuropsychological disorders, that affect school adaptation and the school learning process, and that are based on an interdisciplinary evaluation.

This category of students includes individuals presenting mental disabilities, sensory impairments in vision and hearing, mobility disabilities, chronic incurable diseases, speech disorders, special learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia), attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity, diffuse developmental disorders (autism spectrum) and multiple disabilities.

Students with special educational needs also include students with complex cognitive emotional and social difficulties, delinquent behaviour due to abuse, parental neglect and abandonment or due to domestic violence. The category of students with special educational needs may also include students with one or more special mental skills and talents.

Students with low school performance associated with external factors, such as linguistic or cultural particularities do not fall under the category of students with special educational needs.

Specific support measures

The education policy on the instruction of students with disabilities and/or special educational needs targets their integration into mainstream schools by providing suitable support structures and services.

Students’ disability and special educational needs are examined and ascertained by: 

-the Disability Certification Centres (KEPA), the Supreme Health Disability Certification Committees of law 4058/2012

-the Centres for Interdisciplinary Assessment, Counseling and Support (KEDASYs), 

-the Community Centres for the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents, 

 -the Centres for Mental Health. 

The Disability Certification Centres, the Supreme Health Disability Certification Committees, the Community Centres for the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents and the Mental Health Centres have no competence over education and school issues which fall exclusively within the competence area of the Centres for Interdisciplinary Assessment, Counseling and Support (KEDASYs).

KEDASYs hold the exclusive responsibility for the placement, enrolment, transfer and attendance in an appropriate school unit of students with disabilities or/and special educational needs, as well as for the suitable context of individualized support such as parallel support or attendance in a school integration class of mainstream education.

Evaluation reports are accompanied by a Personalized Education Programme, which includes key axes and general guidelines and is completed in collaboration with the parent or guardian of the student with disabilities or/and special educational needs or the students themselves, if possible. The final evaluation report and the main points of the personalized education programme are communicated to the parents or guardians. As regards the time of re-evaluation, this is determined by KEDASYs according to the type and degree of the student’s identified educational needs and learning difficulties. If the re-evaluation time is not specified, the reports are permanently valid.

Based on the individual evaluation and the recommendation of KEDASYs, the education of individuals with disabilities and/or special educational needs may take place in a mainstream school, where the following schooling options are available.

Specifically, students may attend:

  • An ordinary mainstream school classroom, in the case of students with mild learning difficulties. Students are supported by the classroom teacher, who cooperates on a case by case basis with KEDASYs and with the Coordinators of the Education Work of general and special / inclusive education.
  • A mainstream school classroom, with concurrent support-inclusive education by special education teachers, when this is imperative by the type and degree of the special educational needs.
  • Specially organised and suitably staffed integration classes, operating in the general and vocational education schools. Integration clases offer two types of programmes:
  1. Combined mainstream and specialised programmes (up to 15 teaching hours weekly), as determined by the competent KEDASY for students with milder special educational needs.
  2. Specialised group or individualised programmes of extended hours, as determined by the competent KEDASY for students with more severe special educational needs, which are not accounted for by separate special education schools, depending on the kind and degree of needs. The specialised programme may be independent from mainstream programmes, in accordance with the students’ needs.

Integration classes aim at creating a fully inclusive school environment for students with special educational needs. Teachers of integration classes support students inside their school environment, whilst working closely with classroom teachers to differentiate activities and teaching practices and introduce adjustments into the learning content and teaching environment (law 4386/2016). This is achieved through the implementation of special education programmes, teaching and learning content adjustments and the use of special equipment, including e-learning equipment, software, logistics and other solutions provided by KEDASYs.

The progress of special education students attending primary and secondary schools of general and vocational education, diagnosed by a competent public body, in the second foreign language may not be assessed for school grade promotion or school exit, upon the request of those exercising parental care and guidance.

In pre-primary education integration classes, pupils are supported by nursery teachers (specialisation PE61 or PE60) trained in special education for pre- primary schools. Likewise, in primary education integration classes, pupils are supported by teachers (specialisation PE71 or PE70) trained in special education. 

In secondary education integration classes, students are supported by teachers with the specialisations PE02, PE03 and PE04 trained in special education. Teachers of other specialisations may also be placed in integration classes for students with visual or hearing impairments.

Parallel support is provided in pre-school and primary education by teachers with the specialisation PE60 and PE70 trained in special education, PE61 and PE71. In secondary education, parallel support is provided by teachers with the specialisation PE02, PE03 and PE04 trained in special education. If these teachers are not sufficient in number, other teachers with the specialisation PE60, PE70, PE02, PE03 and PE04 may also take part in these programmes. These teachers are obliged to participate in training and specialisation programmes implemented by the competent authorities for teacher training.

Not self-served or autonomous students attending general education schools or integration classes are supported by specialised assistant personnel depending on the disability and special educational needs. In special cases, where there is a medical diagnosis by a state hospital a nurse may be also placed to support a student.

In cases of co-housed or neighbouring schools, integration classes are conjoined with a maximum of 12 pupils per integration class.

On the basis of expert opinion by the competent KEDASY, blind students and students with impaired vision may attend classes of general education schools, supported by the class teacher and accordingly by members of the special educational staff (EEP) with the specialisation PE31 or members of the special assistance staff (EBP).

By virtue of law 4823/2021, the primary aim of the Centers for Interdisciplinary Assessment, Counseling and Support (KEDASYs) is to support school units and the Special Vocational Education and Training Workshops in order to ensure equal access to education to all students, independently and to ensure psychosocial development and progress.

KEDASYs are responsibel for:

  • exploring and evaluating educational and psychosocial needs

  • focused educational and psychosocial interventions and actions of vocational guidance

  • supporting school work in total

  • informing and training

  • raising social awareness.

KEDASYs conduct individual evaluations and issue assessment reports – diagnoses on the following situations:

  1. When relevant needs are made obvious after actions undertaken to explore educational and psychosocial needs. In these cases, students for whom there is evidence for special educational needs or students facing other kinds of psychosocial difficulties undergo further evaluation by KEDASYs. Especially if it is found necessary after the completion of a short supporting programme.
  2. After a recommendation of the Committees of Interdisciplinary Support, when it is found that students need further evaluation and diagnosing, despite the short supporting programme they had at school.
  3. At the recommendation of the students’ educational support team, in school units where there are no Committees of Interdisciplinary Support, proposed after an applied short support programme.
  4. At the request of a parent to the competent KEDASY.

KEDASYs also examine students at the request of the teachers' board.

KEDASYs support school units for the preparation and implementation of short- term intervention programs, the specialization of the main axes of students’ Personalized Educational Programmes as well as the support and monitoring of the educational and psychosocial progress of students.

Operation of the Committee of Interdisciplinary Support (EDY)

Educational evaluation and support of students and the school community, within the school’s premises, is undertaken by the Committee of Interdisciplinary Support, which operates in every school unit and is part of the School Network of Educational Support (SDEYs).

SDEYs are founded upon decision of the Regional Director of Education and are constituted by school units and training workshops of primary and secondary general, special and vocational education. The purpose of SDEYs is to promote co- operation, as well as to coordinate the work of school units, so as to ensure the equal access to education for all students and promote mental health.

A Special Education School Unit (SMEAE) is the support centre of every School Network of Educational Support (SDEY).

The Committee of Interdisciplinary Support consists of the following members:

  1. the school head, as president, with a deputy his legal deputy in his duties as a director,
  2. one (1) teacher of pre-school or primary or secondary education who serves in an integration class or in parallel support -inclusive education, or with equivalent specialisations in special education (law 3699/2008).
  3. one (1) psychologist and
  4. one (1) social worker

The Committees of Interdisciplinary Support also (Ministerial Decision 17812/Γ6):

  • conduct evaluations of the difficulties and possible educational, mental and social or other relevant impediments in student learning.
  • support the teachers in issues like pedagogical response to the diversity of the student population.
  • support the school community in issues of equal access and in tackling phenomena like early school leaving and school violence.

Other supportive measures include:

Braille, which is officially recognized as the writing method for blind students.

The Greek Sign Language is recognized as the first language of the deaf and hard of hearing students and Modern Greek is recognized as their second language, which is received and pronounced in written form, while its oral perception and expression constitutes an additional social choice of deaf students. Greek Sign Language and Modern Greek are recognized as equal to each other, and, therefore, as appropriate language pedagogical approach they are considered as bilingual education.

For autistic students with or without reason, Modern Greek is recognized as the official language, which is received and pronounced in its oral form, in its written form and/or in the form of symbols-images. A desirable condition for the placement of teachers and special educational staff (EEP) in special school units for autism, in addition to other qualifications, is the specialization and training of teachers in modified-assisted forms of communication.

Pursuant to law 3699/2008, the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports establishes an advisory committee which will monitor the physical accessibility of disabled people to the educational and administrative structures of the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports and wich additionally will monitor the digital accessibility to educational materials and websites.