Definition of the target group
Children and young persons who are impaired in their development in a way that they cannot meet the demands of the regular kindergarten, primary and secondary schools are to be helped by appropriate remedial interventions as part of the special educational measures. The primary aim is to allow children with educational impairments to remain in the class to which they belong by virtue of their age or to integrate them into a regular class. Alternatively, they have the option of attending a special school. Developmental problems or impairments can take the form of mental handicap or severe impairment of the sensory organs (e.g. blindness, deafness etc.) (see Ordinance on Remedial School Measures).
Special education also includes children who are not yet of school age. The right of young persons to special education normally expires when they reach the age of 21 (end of their 20th year of age); in the case of young persons who were assigned to special education before the end of their 20th year of age and who still require the special measures, their right to such measures extends to the end of their special education, though no longer than the end of their 22nd year.
Admission requirements and choice of school
The only special school in Liechtenstein is the Special Educational Day School at the Remedial Education Centre (HPZ) in Schaan. The Special Educational Day School is an officially recognised but privately-run school. It looks after children and young people who require more assistance than can be provided (perhaps temporarily) within the remedial capacities of the regular school - for instance, in the case of severe speech problems or profound cognitive impairment.
Children with special educational needs can also be catered for in other schools in Switzerland and Austria (accession to the Inter-Cantonal Agreement on Social Institutions). Parents do not have to pay for their child to attend a special school. If the child attends a boarding school, parents can be asked to pay a daily contribution of 10 Swiss Francs for meals if the child is a day pupil, or 15 Francs if the child is a boarder (Ordinance on Remedial School Measures).
Attendance at a special school can also be combined with a residential option or with assistance on a daycare basis. An individual may also attend two different settings. For example, a pupil may attend the normal school for two days a week and a special school for the other three days (part-time integration).
Age levels and grouping of pupils
The Special Educational Day School is divided into foundation, middle and upper school levels and also has a kindergarten focusing on speech therapy and two introductory classes. In the last two years of the upper level the focus is on preparation for entry into the world of work. Classes are normally structured according to the type of special educational need and/or the type of disability. Children and young persons of different ages frequently attend the same class. There are usually between five and eight children in each class.
Curriculum and subjects
Lessons at the Special School are dependent on the extent of support required and are based on the framework plans for the special educational sectors and on the national curriculum. Planning for the individual child’s remedial needs is based on observation of the child’s developmental process.
Teaching methods and materials
Based on their expertise in remedial education, the remedial teachers (supplementary and special school staff) are generally free as to the choice of teaching methods.
There is a general presumption that the work in the special schools sector must be based on scientifically established principles corresponding to current norms of remedial education.
Progression of pupils
There is no national ruling on promotion for pupils of special schools. This depends on the individual progress of each pupil.
There is no formal school leaving certificate at the Special Educational Day School.