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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Educational support and guidance


12.Educational support and guidance

Last update: 27 November 2023

The legislative framework for educational provision in Malta is the Education Act  provides the legal basis for the setting up of the National Curriculum Framework for All (NCF).

The NCF specifies the supportive infrastructure that is needed by all learners to develop their full potential and for educators to implement the curriculum effectively. This supportive infrastructure implies effective student support services varying from the personal to the curricular.

The underlying principles in the provision of these services are that they:

•    Be inclusive and address the needs of all learners;

•    Be personal/pastoral in nature;

•    Address the learners’ educational entitlement and development;

•    Address the learners’ current abilities with full respect to diversity;

•    Facilitate educators’ knowledge and skills to effectively address the learners’ needs;

•    Be effective in re-integrating learners into mainstream education in the event of the need of temporary withdrawal.

Although these principles are to be the promoted by all personnel involved in providing education in Malta, it is the  National Schools Support Services (NSSS) within the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation that strives to enhance the holistic development of all children. NSSS provides equitable and high-quality services focusing on the physical, social, emotional, psychological, cultural and behavioural development of children within an inclusive-oriented culture, aimed at eliminating challenges and barriers, to help children reach their full potential. Amongst its objectives, this department must ensure:

•    The provision of counsellors, social workers, psychologists and other professional according to the needs of students and their families;

•    The resources required for inclusive and special educational programmes and for other schemes related to individual educational needs;

•    The supply and the coordination of vocational and career guidance services, including the implementation of programmes aimed at achieving improved school-workplace links and assist in the transition stages, including those from school to work.

The development of policy along the years is evidenced in the policy documents listed below. These aim to include children with special educational needs within mainstream education system rather than in special schools. These policy documents are:

•    Inclusive Education Policy (2000);

•    Inclusive and Special Education Review (2005);

•    For All Children to Succeed (2005);

•    Special Schools Reform (2009);

•    Education for All: Special Needs and Inclusive Education in Malta (2014).

•    Respect for All Framework (2014)

•    A Policy on Inclusive Education in Schools: Route to Quality Inclusion (2022)

•    A National Inclusive Education Framework (2022) 

The latest of these policy documents, A Policy on Inclusive Education in Schools: Route to Quality Inclusion and A National Inclusive Education Framework, were developed within the context of the Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024 (MEDE, 2014) and the National Curriculum Framework for All (MEDE, 2012).

This policy also draws on several international commitments to the provision of education for all to which Malta is a signatory, namely, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). It is in the context of The Council Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030), which establishes as its first strategic priority improving quality, equity, inclusion and success for all in education and training. This policy also adopts a whole-school approach philosophy of how schools are to develop conducive learning environments for all stakeholders supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Ensure Inclusive and Equitable quality Education and Promote lifelong Learning opportunities for all (UN, 2015). This policy views individual differences as opportunities for enriching learning (UNESCO, 2005). Hence, it offers flexibility to schools to transform existing pedagogical, personal and professional beliefs, attitudes and discourse, as well as re-design processes and practices in a manner that respond effectively to all learners’ needs and social realities. 

An important aspect of the education system in Malta is that students attending State and Church schools receive their compulsory education (from 5 years up to 16 years of age) for free irrespective of their socio-economic, cultural and familial background. Moreover, a large range of free courses is available at post-secondary, tertiary and ‘adult’ level to promote the concept of lifelong learning.

Career guidance services are available for all learners to help them in their curricular and career choices. The guidance services aim to:

•    Promote guidance in support of the education of students;

•    Facilitate the transition of students from primary to secondary, from secondary to post-secondary educational institutions to other educational institutions and/or work;

•    Transitions co-ordinators supports learners with special needs for this important step in collaboration with the career guidance services;

•    Provide curricular guidance regarding subject options and choice of courses, at different levels;

•    Provide information through various activities, seminars both at school and at systems level, through the organisation of career seminars, exhibitions and orientation visits, information leaflets;

•    Provide job exposure to Year 10 (14/15-year-olds) students;

•    Promote staff development in the field of guidance;

•    Participate in research projects related to guidance which include an annual Tracer Study;

•    Organise seminars and talks for parents regarding personal development, educational achievements, educational issues and developments;

•    Organise seminars, talks and preventive programmes on guidance-related topics.

These services are provided throughout the educational system.