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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.3Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education

Last update: 30 March 2024

Definition of the target group(s)

With regard to their own autonomy, there is a set of organisational and curricular options that allows schools to adopt appropriate solutions to all their students’ specific contexts and needs, improving learning, combining flexible management of basic curricular matrices of basic and upper secondary education and training provision (Decree-Law No 55/2018, 6 July) with the provisions included in the Legal Framework for Inclusive Education (Decree-Law No 54/2018, 6 July in its current version). 

To this end, since 2020, we cannot restrict target groups, but rather consider a range of universal measures that each school should consider to help all students with a multilevel approach.
However, support measures geared towards certain target groups are identified, namely: 

  • migrant students recently arrived to the Portuguese educational system
  • children and young people who are beneficiaries or seekers of international protection.

Specific support measures

Linguistic support measures for migrant students

To promote the educational success of migrant pupils who have recently entered the Portuguese education system, there is support for learning Portuguese as a subject and as a school language. There is Portuguese as a non-native language (PLNM) in the first, second and third cycles of basic education, as well as science-humanities courses, specialised artistic courses in upper secondary education and vocational courses.
The DGE supports schools and teachers on its dedicated website.

Despatch No 2044/2022, 16 February, establishes the rules to ensure support for students whose mother tongue is not Portuguese. 

Support measures for refugee children and young people

As a result of measures previously adopted to speed up the integration of children and young people who are beneficiaries of, or applicants for, international protection into the education system, there are extraordinary measures to accommodate this target group in school clusters/non-clustered schools (AE/ENA), namely the development of language learning in the host country and, in the first phase of integration, the attendance of teaching activities that the school considers appropriate for the student without the student being disconnected from the group/class.

These extraordinary measures focus on:
a)    granting equivalences of foreign qualifications and/or a place in a given school year and educational provision
b)    gradual integration within the Portuguese curriculum and consolidation of Portuguese language learning
c)    school social support
d)    On its website, the DGE provides documents on these educational measures regarding refugee children and young people.

Support measures for student’ academic success 

Support measures for students in basic and upper secondary education include, among others:

1.    implementation of literacy and intercultural projects.
2.    support from mediators.
3.    strengthening of study support measures.
4.    additional support included in the student’s timetable.
5.    specific tutorial support.
6.    differentiated pathways which include dual certification courses equivalent to the completion of compulsory education and integration into working life (education and training courses for young people).

For basic education students, measures promoting academic success and combating school dropout have been adopted. These include:

  1. assistance in the classroom, emphasising collaborative experiences and practices.
  2. continuing study support in the first cycle of basic education, alongside other supplementary curriculum activities.
  3. monitoring students who progress to the second and third cycle with a grade below 3 in Portuguese and Maths in the previous school year.
  4. the adoption of different pathways, such as alternative integrated education and training pathways and programmes adapted to the student’s profile and characteristics under exceptional conditions that are duly justified by the school and approved by the relevant educational administration services.

According to Legislative Order No 10-B/2018, schools are entitled to additional timetable credit to provide specific tutorial support to students in the second and third cycles of basic education who have had to repeat a grade two or more times during their time at school. Tutorial support, in the terms indicated above, is permanent monitoring of students to find suitable solutions to the specific problems of each student, facilitating and supporting study, their integration into class and the school, following school rules and school life.

For students who have shown learning difficulties at any point in basic education in any subject there is a pedagogical plan that contains recovery strategies to overcome the problems detected.

Strategies for learning and inclusion for all students struggling to access the curriculum include consolidating credit hours granted exclusively to the Multidisciplinary Support Teams for Inclusive Education (EMAEI).
For upper-secondary students, whenever learning difficulties are detected, measures are taken to prevent school failure and dropout, via the following:

  • Referral to educational provision that is adapted to the student's profile, after the redefinition of their school pathway, resulting from the opinion of monitoring and guidance teams.
  • Implementation of a modular system, as an alternative to the regular education curriculum for students over 16.
  • Encouraging both student and parent or guardian to choose the school whose educational project that best suits the student’s pathway and motivations for learning.

During the 2020/2021 school year, given the exceptional nature of the pandemic, specific tutorial support was extended to upper secondary school students who had been retained the previous school year. This measure was extended in 2021/22 (cf. Plan 21/23-School +; Teaching and learning area, specific action 1.6.1).

Support measures for educational success at school

National programme for the promotion of school success (PNPSE)

Framework and aims

Created by the Council of Ministers Resolution no. 23/2016, 23rd March, PNPSE falls within these guidelines and strategic priorities of public educational policy, with the intent to mobilise Portuguese society to a continuous struggle against school failure and educational inequalities.

During the 2020/21 school year, cognisant of the social and educational inequalities accentuated by the pandemic and lock-down, the Ministry of Education, through the PNPSE Mission, invited school clusters/non-clustered schools to design personal, social and community development plans (PDPSC). The aim of this was to promote improvements in social, physical and emotional well-being, consolidating family and community involvement in educational dynamics and promoting quality learning. 

PDPSC has continued in the 2021/22 school year, as part of School+ 21|23 Plan, offering a support measure for schools in the areas "Teaching and Learning" and "Supporting Educational Communities" (specific actions 1.6.3. and 2.1.2). The PDPSCs focus priority intervention on stimulating socio-emotional intelligence and personal development, family and community involvement, and the development of reading, writing and communication skills.

For more information on  PNPSE, see Subchapter 14.2 - National reforms in School Education.

Programme for Priority Intervention Educational Areas (TEIP 3)

The TEIP 3 Programme was created by Legislative Order No 20/2012, 3 October, aiming to improve the quality and effectiveness of the educational system and create conditions for students’ academic success, key issues of the educational system.

The main objectives of TEIP 3 Programme are:

  • To improve the quality of learning, reflected on the students’ achievement.
  • To combat indiscipline, early school leaving and school absence.
  • To create conditions for guidance learning and qualified transition from school to working life.
  • To promote coordination between school, social partners and training institutions from the education territory.

The TEIP 3 programme is designed exclusively for schools in underprivileged areas, with high rates of early school-leavers, associated with exceptionally poor school failure rates. 

Throughout the development of TEIP3, school clusters/non-clustered school were challenged to build and implement multi-year improvement plans (PPM), based strongly on evidence and the knowledge that the organisational units have about local situations, by consolidating their autonomy and adopting positive discrimination measures.

In line with recommendation in Decree-Law No 55/2018, 6 July, the focus is on three intervention areas:

Area 1 - School culture and pedagogical leadership.

Area 2 - Curriculum management.

Area 3 - Partnerships and community.

Measures include cooperation between teachers, thus promoting more diverse and personalised pedagogy; the use of student-centred pedagogical approaches; interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work creating a more integrated curriculum, and participation and involvement of parents/guardians and local partners in the development of educational dynamics to promote school and educational success.

Due to changes in educational communities, such as greater migratory flows and increased number of mother tongues in schools not yet covered by the programme, in July 2021, 10 new units were included in the programme. 

Currently, 146 units are covered by the measure, representing about 18 % of Portuguese schools. 

Monitoring and evaluating plans are key aspects of the Priority Intervention Educational Areas Programme intervention model. This is the responsibility of schools and the programme coordinators. Two reports are produced regarding this (biannual and annual), which are useful for schools as contributions to their self-regulation. This seeks to promote internal reflection upon the work done and goals achieved, as well as identifying successful interventions and others that need to be rejigged every school year.

The monitoring process involves encouraging the sharing of practices, the dissemination of important projects, training using experts in areas identified as priorities and close monitoring to support individual school clusters/non-clustered schools having more difficulties.

In relation to the 10 new school clusters that joined the programme in 2021/2022, they were helped to prepare an annual improvement plan, focussing on the issue of recovery of migrant students. As the programme is under review, the improvement plans were extended for two more school years (2021/2022 and 2022/2023), with a review of improvements underway in each school clusters/non-clustered schools, with reformulation of the plan through an addendum during each year.

In July 2023, legislation was published creating the fourth generation of the Programme for Priority Intervention Educational Areas (TEIP4) and establishing the respective guidelines (Despatch No 7798/2023, 28 July). Taking into account the date of publication of this legislation, it was decided to maintain the 146 TEIP OUs in the TEIP3 programme during the 2023/24 school year, with an extension of the respective addenda submitted in 2022/23.

More information available at:

TEIP Programme

Legislative Order No 20/2012, 3 October

Legislative Order No 10-B/2018, 6 July

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 90/2021, 7 July

Despatch No 7798/2023, 28 July