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


12.Educational Support and Guidance

12.3Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education

Last update: 20 February 2024

Definition of the target group(s)

A series of compensatory programmes and measures in force aim towards the constant support of vulnerable student groups, ensuring equal access to education.  
The target groups that receive such interventions are:

  • Students with learning difficulties that do not fall into the category of students with disabilities and special educational needs
  • Students integrated into the Greek education system without holding the required level of attainment in Greek.

These programmes aim to reduce school dropout rates, prevent social exclusion and improve quality in education. 

In particular, recognizing the importance of pre-school education in children’s psychosocial development but also in acquiring important skills that contribute to their smooth integration in school life and education, the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports with law 4521/2018 established:

the implementation of a two-year compulsory pre-school education from the school year 2018-2019. According to the above legislative provision, the attendance of very young children is  mandatory for all children from the age of four, thus offering to all children aged 4-6 equal access to pre-school education, while contributing to the alleviation of social inequalities.

Specific support measures

Compensatory teaching

Remedial teaching (enischytiki didaskalia) (presidential decree 429/1991) in primary schools is carried out, with priority, for grades A and B students that face learning difficulties and special needs in core basic skills, such as literacy and numeracy.  The subjects taught are Language and Mathematics.  School teachers are responsible for setting up small classes (up to 5 students).  Remedial teaching runs for 1-2 school hours a day and up to 6 hours a week, during or after-school hours.

Ministerial decision 109285/Δ1/07-09-2021 defines the framework of the required proposals and directions regarding the socio-emotional support and holistic treatment of primary school students with possible learning shortages at the beginning of the school year. The aim is both to support children emotionally and alleviate social inequalities, but also to effectively meet the students’ learning needs, which arose during the pandemic when school operation was suspended for significant intervals during the school year 2020-2021.

Via ministerial decision 111095/Δ1/09-09-2021, a special framework was defined for the Kindergarten with «Instructions for Kindergarten teachers at the beginning of the school year 2021-2022» aiming to address issues related to the long absence of students from the physical space of their classrooms due to the pandemic during the school year 2020-2021.

Compensatory education (antistathmistiki ekpaidefsi) (law 4368/2016 and law 4485/2017) includes remedial teaching for lower secondary students and additional teaching support to students of all types of upper secondary schools; remedial teaching and additional teaching support in detention centres; private tutoring offered to detained persons or secondary education classes run by certified recovery organisations of law 4139/2013, as well as alternative remedial teaching for vocational upper secondary school students.
Remedial teaching in lower secondary education aims to: 

-reintegrate students in the process of learning,  

-improve student performance so that students complete compulsory education, 

- reduce early dropouts and

- increase percentages of access in tertiary education.
Ministerial decision 125614/Δ2/21-09-2020 on “Organisation and Operation of Remedial Teaching Centres for the 2020-2021 School Year" defines the instruction time for lower secondary schools, as follows:

  • For grade A: 3 instruction hours for Modern Greek Language, 2 hours for Ancient Greek Language, 3 hours for Mathematics, 1 hour Physics and 2 hours for English.  11 hours in total.
  • For grade B: 3 hours for Modern Greek Language, 2 hours for Ancient Greek Language, 3 hours for Mathematics, 1 hour for Physics, 1 hour for Chemistry and 2 hours for English.  12 hours in total.
  • For grade C: 3 hours for Modern Greek Language, 2 hours for Ancient Greek Language, 3 hours for Mathematics, 1 hour for Physics, 1 hour for Chemistry and 2 hours for English.  12 hours in total.

Additional teaching support in upper secondary education gives students the chance to complete their studies and the additional prospects to increase entrance to tertiary education.   
Compensatory education programmes are implemented in:

  • Compensatory education school centres; these may operate in every lower or upper secondary school unit or in neighbouring units
  • Secondary education classes operating in the framework of certified recovery organisations
  • School centres of compensatory education which may operate in detention centers supported by second chance school programmes
  • In the framework of one-to one tuition offered in detention centers
  • Vocational upper secondary schools.

The subjects taught, selection criteria, number of students and instruction hours for each school term concerning compensatory education are specified with a ministerial decision.
Pursuant to law 4713/2020, the concept of compensatory education includes the remedial teaching provided to students of the third (C) grade of General and Vocational Upper Secondary Schools, Upper Secondary Schools of Special Education and Training, as well as the fourth (D) grade of the Unified Special Vocational Lower and Secondary Schools (ENEEGY-L), in the special courses examined in the nationwide PanHellenic exams, for admission to public Higher Education Institutes. In particular, according to Ministerial Decision 3752/ΓΔ4, this is a special programme of support and preparation of students to participate in the nationally examined special courses that they have chosen and that are not included in the respective timetable programmes. The special courses are:

  1. Freehand/unaided Drawing, 
  2. Line Drawing,
  3. French, 
  4. German,
  5. Italian,
  6. Spanish,
  7. Harmony, Acoustic Ability, Musical Perception/Knowledge.

Within the framework of the action «Α New Start for EPAL», there is provision for the implementation of alternative compensatory teaching in vocational upper secondary schools. In particular, according to ministerial decision 109083/Δ4/07-09-2021 the teaching of "Modern Greek" and "Mathematics" can be provided with the co-teaching of two teachers of the same specialization in the classroom. Alternative compensatory teaching is remedial teaching that aims to improve the students' learning performance and their pedagogical support. It is provided along classes of upper secondary vocational schools through co-teaching during the teaching sessions of the lessons according to the instruction timetable of vocational upper secondary schools.  Co-teaching is offered by the main course teacher and the associate course teacher, who constitute together the teaching team. The primary object of their cooperation is the design and implementation of co-teaching in the respective courses and the differentiation of teaching according to students’ characteristics in order to achieve the building of an optimal learning climate for students in the school community, in line with the objectives of the action "A New Start for EPAL - Support of EPAL School Units ".

School Life Advisor

The institution of the School Life Advisor in secondary schools was established by law 4692 /2020 and implemented throughout the Secondary Education Directorates and in all school units.

  1. The School Life Advisor guides and informs students, parents and guardians on issues of pedagogical treatment in areas that concern the school unit. Such areas are crisis management and prevention of extreme behaviours; learning disabilities, inclusion and integration; students’ opportunities, inclinations and talents; transition to other levels of education and school mobility; counselling and parent groups. The school Advisor, at the same time, contributes in the cultivation of trusted relationships among members of the educational community.
  2. The School Life Advisor is in direct and constant communication with his students, the teachers' board and other educational staff, as well as the parents and guardians. In the context of carrying out their mission, Advisors cooperate with other the support structures and may request their assistance in dealing with individual incidents or special cases. 
  3. The School Life Advisor addresses issues that concern the school unit and the school community that extend to society, through organized social and pedagogical approaches. In doing so, Advisors seek to support and improve educational and social mechanisms, undertaking a preventive and advisory approach in dealing with pedagogical issues that arise in the classroom, in the school life and the wider community and which affect the students’ lives.

Educational priority zones and education for refugees' children

 Within the framework of the principles of intercultural education, the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports, has as its basic principle the promotion of measures aimed at removing inequalities and ensuring equal opportunities in education for all students.
Educational priority zones (ZEP) established under law 3879/2010, are all the Regional Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education that can accommodate reception classes.
Educational priority zones aim to enhance active participation and effective learning for primary and secondary education students who do not hold the required level of attainment in Greek (Roma, foreign, repatriate, refugee, vulnerable group students) and help in their integration into the Greek education system.
Within this framework, ZEP programmes introduce (where possible) differentiated interventions in areas that determine successful performance, such as linguistic, cognitive and socio-emotional development. 
Reception classes (taxeis ypodochis) include a two-cycle programme within the mainstream classes schedule, which is:

  1. ZEP reception classes I  and
  2. ZEP reception classes II .

Following ministerial decision 102635/ΓΔ4/31-07-2020 on “Instructions and guidelines for the establishment and operation of Reception Classes (ZEP) for the 2020-2021 school year in Public Lower Secondary, General and Vocational Upper Secondary Schools of the country":

  1. ZEP reception classes I (taxeis ypodochis I) are intended for students with a minimum or zero level of competence in the Greek language.  These students are entitled to a fifteen-hour intensive Greek language course.  ZEP I Class students also join a few mainstream classes on the following subjects: Mathematics, Physical Education, Music, Information Technology, Foreign Language or any other subject according to the Teachers' Board decision, in cooperation with the competent Coordinator of Education work. Attendance may last one school year with the possibility of an additional one-year extension. 
  2. ZEP reception classes II are intended for students with an average level of competence in the Greek language that may cause difficulties in mainstream class attendance.  For ZEP II students, language learning support (support may be provided in other subjects too) takes place either in the form of parallel complementary tuition or inside mainstream classes.  In any case, the programme’s scope is that students attend most of the teaching hours in a mainstream class, so that they integrate as soon as possible. Attendance lasts up to two (2) school years and in exceptional cases up to three (3) years, according to the Teachers' Board decision, in cooperation with the competent Coordinator of Education work. 

Law 4547/2018 provides a legislative framework for regulating educational services for refugee children in Greece.
Education for refugee children is provided both by school units of primary and secondary education and is integrated in the mainstream education system.  However, taking into consideration the particular needs of refugee population as a result of mobility, the time of arrival, the duration of their stay in hosting structures, as well as the size of the population of pupils, Reception School Facilities for Refugee Education (DYEP) may also be created for educating refugee children. DYEP function in the framework of mainstream education and apply specific study programmes of a limited duration.  Attendance in such hosting structures lasts for one (1) instruction year with the possibility of an extension for one (1) more year.  The duration of attendance in a Reception School Facility for Refugee Education (DYEP) is certified upon completion with a certificate of attendance.
Pre-primary schools (nipiagogeia) are run under the compulsory programme of all-day mainstream pre-primary schools.
Concerning primary education schools (dimotika scholeia), refugee students attend classes as follows:

  • Greek Language (6 hours per week)
  • English Language (4 hours per week)
  • Maths (3 hours per week)
  • Physical Education (3 hours per week)
  • Computer Science (2 hours per week)
  • Arts (2 hours per week).

Concerning secondary education schools, refugee students attend classes as follows:

  • Greek Language (6 hours per week)
  • English (4 hours per week )
  • Maths (4 hours per week )
  • Physical Education (2 hours per week)
  • Computer Science (2 hours per week)
  • Culture and Activities (2 hours per week).

In every shelter facility or reception structure, there is a coordinator for refugee education.
The staff of Reception School Facilities for Refugee Education (DYEP) is permanently appointed, substitute or part- time working teaching staff.   Apart from their usual duties, teachers of DYEP, have to care for:

  • The refugee students’ integration into the Greek education system and their creative interaction with all other students.
  • The special needs of refugee students by practising differentiated and flexible teaching methods.
  • The promotion of educational activities between the reception centres and the neighbouring school units.

According to law 4636/19, refugee minors, during their stay in the country, are entitled inclusion in primary and secondary education school units of the public education system. The competent authorities are obliged to provide the necessary and sufficient means to facilitate the relevant procedure. Integration takes place under conditions, similar to those that apply to Greek citizens and. Convenient measures, in terms of registration have to apply, in case of difficulties in submitting the required supporting documents and for as long as no “removal” measure is carried out, or pending against them or their parents. More specific support is also provided through steering documents and circulars, that specify the current legal framework, providing convenient measures for the registration of children in case of difficulties in submitting supporting documents, providing adequate means and compensatory pedagogical tools to support and facilitate the integration process of these children in Greek public schools.

Intercultural and minority schools

Intercultural schools

Intercultural schools (scholeia diapolitismikis ekpaidefsis), which operate in pre-primary, primary and secondary education aim at the educational and social inclusion of refugee students to Greek schools, by respecting students’ cultural identity and avoiding negative discrimination as a result of cultural diversity.  Intercultural schools apply the same curricula used in public schools, adjusted accordingly to meet the special needs of their students (law 2413/1996).
Intercultural schools are gradually converted (law 4415/2016) into experimental intercultural education schools with the same curricula and teaching methods applyed in experimental schools.  Moreover, there have been efforts that experimental intercultural education schools cooperate with higher education institutions and apply, on experimental basis, innovative programmes in the field of intercultural education.

Minority schools

Minority schools (meionotika scholeia) operate in Thrace for the resident Muslim community.  The education system for minority schools in Greece is founded on the Treaty of Lausanne.  It is aided by the provisions of later educational protocols and is defined by Greek law.
The minority schools curriculum is bilingual, both in the Greek and Turkish language, which are being taught equally in terms of teachining hours and teaching material.  The bilingual curriculum is in accordance with the regulations and the general framework of the curricula existing in all state schools in Greece, while at the same time emphasis is given at the maintenance, and promotion of the language and cultural background of the Muslim students.
The level of education provided to religious minority students depends, on a legal and political level, is based on reciprocity.  Concerning financial support and educational activities the same measures are taken as for Greek public schools.

Detention Center Schools

Law 4763/2020 regulates issues related to the education and training provided in Detention Centers, and, in particular, issues relevant with the operation of educational structures in Detention Centers. More specifically, what is foreseen for each Detention Center and for the Institution for the Education of Juvenile Boys of Volos is the possibility of establishing schools of primary and secondary Education, for example primary schools, lower secondary schools or second chance schools, general or vocational upper secondary schools.