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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Separate special education needs provision in early childhood and school education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.2Separate special education needs provision in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of target group(s)

Most pupils who need special education assistance are offered facilities in ordinary kindergarten institutions and mainstream schools. Very few are offered places in special schools or departments. When this is the case it is most often children with complex disabilities. The head teacher, pedagogical leaders and special educators are responsible for the special needs education. Assistants often give special assistance, but they are not responsible for the content of the education.

The National Support System for Special Education (Statped) produce teaching materials and give courses to blind and visually impaired and deaf children and pupils. They also provide online courses for teachers throughout the country.

Deaf and hearing impaired children and young people have the right to receive education in and about Norwegian Sign Language. Norwegian Sign Language is recognized as an official language, and not as special needs education.

National hospitals or rehabilitation centers can have their own schools for children/young people within the institution.

Admission requirements and choice of school

Application is sent from educational-psychological service to the school in question. There is only one governmental special school, and this school offer training to students with congenital deafblindness. The offer is given to a limited number of municipalities.  Pupils who do not receive a government offer can apply for the private providers or they can get offers through the National Advisory Unit on Rare Disorders and municipal /county resource schools with special competency on multifunctional disabilities.

Age levels and grouping of pupils

Separate special education is adapted to the individual pupil’s needs and according to individual teaching plans, independently of age levels.

In the school-year 2022-2023, 7.8% of all pupils in primary and lower secondary school have an administrative decision about special education.


Curriculum, subjects

Early Childhood

The Kindergarten Act and the Framework Plan for Kindergarten (2017) states that the kindergarten shall provide children with opportunities for play, self-expression and meaningful experiences and activities. The kindergarten shall take into account the children's age, level of function, gender, social, ethnic and cultural background. This means that the care and activities provided must be adapted to each individual child and to the relevant group of children. Meeting every child’s need for care, security, belongingness and respect and enabling the children to participate in and contribute to the community are important values that shall be reflected in kindergarten. Kindergartens shall promote democracy, diversity and mutual respect, equality, sustainable development, life skills and good health. The Framework Plan also states that the kindergarten shall adapt their general pedagogical practices to suit the children’s needs and circumstances, including children who may require additional support for shorter or longer periods. If there is reason to believe that a child’s needs cannot be met by the kindergarten’s general pedagogical practices, the kindergarten must inform the parents of their right to request an expert assessment to establish whether the child has special educational needs.

Kindergartens shall ensure that children receiving special needs support are included in the group and in mainstream activities.

Primary and secondary education

Pupils in need of special education are entitled to the same amount (hours) of teaching as other pupils in primary and secondary education. Curriculum, subjects and hours may be adapted to suit individual needs.

Deaf pupils that are entitled to sign language as their first language are entitled to additional hours of education. The main principle for the additional hours is to ensure that the pupils do not lose the mandatory education.

There are four special curricula for sign languages: Norwegian sign language, Norwegian as a second language, English sign language, Eurhythmics and Drama.

Teaching methods and materials

ICT based tools are important for the disabled in their learning and their communication with society.

The National Support System for Special Education (Statped) develops and produces teaching resources especially designed for deaf and visually impaired children and children in the need for alternative communication.  In addition, the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training administrates a grant scheme enabling publishers to produce necessary teaching aid for special education needs. The grant scheme is administrated through a yearly advertisement to which publishers are invited to apply.

Hearing impaired children and pupils in ordinary settings are also mostly supplied with microphones for teacher, microphones for the hearing students, and in many schools/classes also a sound amplifier.

Progression of pupils

If the normal course of education has not been followed, the individually adapted curriculum and its objectives form the basis for formal as well as diagnostic evaluation of the pupil.


Pupils that receive special needs education in upper secondary are divided in two groups. One group consists of pupils aiming to obtain full qualifications and an ordinary diploma. The other group receives special needs education with a view to obtaining a lower-level qualification – a so-called planned basic qualification. The Education Act refers to basic qualifications as any form of education or training that does not lead to full university or college admissions certification or to a full vocational qualification. Basic qualifications are documented in the form of a training certificate and may be planned or unplanned.