Definition of the target group(s)
The Act on National Public Education defines the following groups of children and pupils needing special support within the category of children and students requiring special attention:
- children, pupils with special education needs,
- children, pupils social, learning and behavioural difficulties.
Children/pupils with special educational needs: children/pupils in need of special support who fall into one of the following eight categories based on expert opinion:
- children/pupils with a physical disability
- children/pupils with (visual, auditory) sensory impairment
- children/pupils with intellectual disabilities
- children/pupils with speech impairment
- children/pupils with multiple impairments
- children/pupils with autism spectrum disorder
- children/pupils with other psychological developmental disorders
- children/pupils with behavioural regulation disorder
Children/pupils with social, learning and behavioural difficulties are children and pupils needing special support who, based on the expert opinion of the expert committee significantly underperform compared to their age, or have social relationship problems or learning and/or behaviour regulation deficiencies, or their integration into the community or personal development is impeded or shows irregularities but do not qualify as students with special education needs.
Specific support measures
Provision for SEN pupils within mainstream education together with pupils not needing special education may contribute to their successful education and integration in their communities. Mainstream schools also teaching SEN pupils have to ensure that SEN pupils are fully integrated and are able to make progress together with other pupils. The Guideline for the kindergarten and school education of children and pupils with special educational needs supports inclusive education in mainstream schools and at the same time provides a framework and tasks for schools to develop their local curricula and practice. It also defines the amendments that may be made to the content of subjects to suit the needs of the various groups of SEN pupils, which should be observed by mainstream institutions as well.
Laws allow the preparation of an individual development plan for SEN pupils if required, and based on this the possibility of individual progress.
Public education institutions providing inclusive education can use the special and pedagogical services of Integrated Special Education Methodology Institutions (ISEMI), as well as the help of institutions assigned for operating the network of mobile special educational professionals and mobile conductors. An ISEMI can be established for helping the inclusive education of children, pupils needing special education together with other children, pupils. The ISEMI, fitting to its aims, may also perform some of the tasks of the pedagogical assistance services in addition to the expert committee’s tasks. Furthermore, it can perform the tasks of the family support service and school health care, as well as within the frame of the institution an institutional unit performing kindergarten, primary school or secondary school tasks has to be operated. For the tasks performed within the ISEMI, individual institutional units that are independent from organisation and professional aspects have to be established.
The acts on National Public Education and VET serve the provision for children, pupils with special educational needs by means of providing extra services and regulations allowing preferential treatment for SEN pupils:
- SEN children, pupils are entitled to receive a pedagogical, special educational and conductive pedagogical provision according to their states within the frame of the special support. Provision according to the special support has to be given in compliance with the expert opinion of the expert committee.
- The organisational frame of development, as well as the applied special methods and tools in the kindergarten and school education of SEN children, pupils together with the others in an inclusive manner are always determined by the individual needs of SEN children.
- The school providing for SEN pupils may allow a period of more than one academic year for meeting the curriculum requirements of a school year.
- When calculating the average headcount of classes, groups, SEN children/pupils are taken into account as two or three children, depending on the type of their disability. I.e. the separated classes organised for them can have a maximum headcount of 7-15 pupils, whereas in the case of inclusive education the obligatory use of the above multiplier ensures the relatively lower number of pupils in the class.
- The institutions participating in the education of SEN children, independent of whether education is provided separated from or together with pupils without any impairment have to provide obligatory health and pedagogical rehabilitation activities for pupils in addition to the obligatory number of classes determined for all schools, whereas in the case of severe and permanent disorder of the cognitive functions or the development of behaviour that cannot be traced back to any organic cause, developmental classes have to be organised. Depending on the type of impairment, the number of classes for rehabilitation purposes is 15-50% of the number of obligatory classes, whereas the timeframe of developmental classes is 15% of the obligatory classes. Timeframe can be regrouped in the different grades and classes during the academic year, among the weeks.
- In accordance with the expert opinion of the SEN diagnosis and rehabilitation committee, school heads may exempt SEN pupils from assessment in some subjects or subject parts. In the secondary school leaving examination pupils may choose another subject instead of the concerned subjects as specified by the examination rules.
- At exams, SEN pupils are provided longer preparation time, and all the tools they needed during learning (e.g. computers, typewriters) and may take an oral exam in writing or a written exam orally if needed.
- SEN pupils may be allowed to learn in a form of education that provides advancement fitting to the individual features and development of SEN pupils, and individual progress.
Legislation also involves children, pupils coping with social, learning and behavioural difficulties in the group of those entitled to receive special care, and these children are entitled to participate in developmental classes. Developmental classes can be implemented within the frame of parenting advice, kindergarten education, school education, and dormitory education.