Pupils participate in full-time compulsory education:
- in a school within a given catchment area;
- in another school (for example, a non-public or public school chosen by the pupil and his/her parents);
- outside of school upon the consent of the head of the school within a given catchment area (so-called ‘education at home’ or ‘home-based education’);
- through participation in rehabilitation-and-education classes in a school (for pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities);
- through participation in rehabilitation-and-education classes outside a school (for pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities);
- by following an individual programme in a rehabilitation and education centre (pupils with intellectual disabilities combined with other disabilities);
- by attending a school at a Polish diplomatic mission abroad;
- by attending a school abroad on the basis of bilateral agreements between the relevant local government units;
- by attending a school at a diplomatic mission of another country in Poland;
- by attending a school in a different country (depending on the country where the pupil attended school, the learning outcomes achieved are subject to different recognition procedures laid down in Polish legislation).
Disabled and ill pupils who would have difficult access to school or are unable to take part in school classes at all may follow an individual learning path, based on a relevant certificate. Such a certificate allows them to take home-based classes or individual classes at a school or other institution. Pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 9 August 2017 on the individualised programme for the compulsory preschool preparatory year and individualised teaching for children and young people (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 9 sierpnia 2017 r. w sprawie indywidualnego obowiązkowego rocznego przygotowania przedszkolnego dzieci i indywidualnego nauczania dzieci i młodzieży)), the weekly number of individual teaching hours in the primary school is:
- 6 to 8 hours for grades I to III;
- 8 to 10 hours for grades IV to V;
- 10 to 12 hours for grades VII to VIII.
Outstandingly gifted pupils may follow an individual learning programme. They study a chosen subject or group of subjects under the supervision of the appointed schoolteacher or academic teacher. The school assessment system includes specific rules for the assessment of results achieved by such pupils and for presenting them on school certificates.
At their parents’ request, pupils can also follow full-time compulsory education outside the primary school; for example, at home where they are taught by their parents. However, this arrangement should be formally endorsed by an appropriate permission (granted by the head of the school in the catchment area for the pupil’s place of residence). The school head grants permission after consultation with a public counselling and guidance centre which issues its opinion. In order to assess non-formal learning outcomes, pupils in so-called home education are required to take qualifying exams in the school within their catchment area, which enables them to complete the individual education stages and, ultimately, finish the primary school.
Art Schools – primary education level
Art schools in Poland enable children and youth with particular artistic abilities to undertake individualised training in specific fields of art. In parallel to general education programmes, art education forms a separate system which is supervised by the minister responsible for culture and national heritage. The administration of some schools and the supervision of all art schools are the responsibility of the Department of Art Schools and Cultural Education in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the Art Education Centre (Centrum Edukacji Artystycznej). Pursuant to the legislation in force, such schools and educational institutions may also be administered by local government units and other entities, but the State, represented by the minister responsible for culture, remains the key entity in this sector.
In addition to higher education institutions of art studies, the art education system in Poland comprises schools at the primary and secondary (post-primary) levels. Overall, it includes the following types of public and non-public schools and other educational institutions:
- art schools providing art education only;
- art schools providing general education and art education (with the general education component based on the national core curriculum and rules applied in general education schools);
- art centres where young people can develop their artistic abilities and interests;
- boarding schools providing art education and care to pupils studying outside their place of residence.
The following types of art schools provide in parallel general education and art education:
- General 1st grade music schools providing general education (8 years): general education subjects are based on the core curriculum for the primary school.
- General 2nd grade music schools providing general education (6 years): general education is divided into the lower level (grades I and II), corresponding to grades VII and VIII of the primary school, and the upper level (grades III to VI), corresponding to grades I to IV of the general secondary school. The eighth-grader exam is conducted after grade II. Education leads to both a vocational diploma of Musician and a maturity certificate upon passing the maturity exam (at the end of secondary education)..
- General ballet schools (9 years) providing general education at the level from grade IV of the primary school up to grade IV of the general secondary school. The eighth-grader exam is conducted in grade V. (At the next stage of education, corresponding to the education cycle in general post-primary schools, ballet school students can obtain a vocational diploma of Dancer and a maturity certificate.)
There are also types of art schools which do not provide general education. Children and young people attending primary schools can acquire knowledge and skills in the area of arts in two types of schools:
- 1st grade music schools (4- or 6-year programmes), with no vocational qualifications awarded at this level; and
- schoolsof dancearts (9-year programmes), where students obtain the qualifications for the occupation of Dancer upon completion of the full education cycle.
Art education at the secondary level is described in Chapter 6, section ‘Art education – post-primary education level’.
Two Acts, The Law on School Education (ustawa – Prawo oświatowe) and The Teachers’ Charter (ustawa – Karta Nauczyciela), set the legal framework for art education at the primary and secondary education levels. They provide the basis for detailed arrangements laid down in regulations of the ministers responsible for culture and national heritage and for school education.
Number of art schools and pupils / students in the school year 2020/2021:
(1) 1st grade art schools:
- providing general education and art education: 53 schools attended by nearly 10,000 pupils;
- providing art education only: 406 public and non-public schools attended by around 52,300 pupils.
(2) 2nd grade art schools:
- providing general education and art education: 126 schools attended by 14,400 students;
- providing art education only: 126 schools attended by 10,100 students.
Source: ‘Education in the 2020/2021 school year’ (data in Polish and English).