All kindergartens and schools have in-house counselling service in place. It is tasked to take part in addressing pedagogical, psychological, and social issues. Their main responsibility is to participate and take on comprehensively the educational, psychological, and social challenges of children in kindergartens or schools. They cooperate with all in the learning process, parents, and if necessary, with relevant outside institutions. They aid individuals and groups in supporting the best development of all children, regardless of their circumstances or their socio-economic or cultural background. The post of a counsellor is open to professionals qualified as psychologists, pedagogues, social workers, special and rehabilitation pedagogues, and inclusive pedagogues.
Definition of the target group(s)
The rules specify groups of children and students eligible for assistance or special measures given their personal, socio-economic or cultural backgrounds:
- Members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities have the right to education in their mother tongue and the provision of education in ethnically mixed areas. Rights are specified in detail by the relevant act on the special rights of members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities
- Members of the Roma community are specified as a special group with special rights defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. The special rights are specified by the Roma Community in the Republic of Slovenia Act and, in education, by the Kindergarten Act and Basic School Act
- Migrants or foreigners as defined by the Strategy to include children and students migrants in education and training 2007, the migrant students may be divided into several groups:
- Former migrants with Slovenian citizenship
- Persons without Slovenian citizenship but with a permanent or temporary residence permit
- Asylum seekers and persons under international protection
- Citizens of EU member states
- Children of Slovenian workers abroad or emigrants (with or without Slovenian citizenship) who returned to Slovenia.
Children of foreign citizens who reside in Slovenia have the right to basic and upper secondary education under the same conditions as their peers of Slovenian citizenship. The same applies to citizens of other EU member countries, Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship, and refugees.
The principle of reciprocity applies to foreign citizens. The law specifies the right of access to the Slovenian education system for migrant students on Organisation and financing of education, Basic school education,Gimnazije, Vocational and technical education, Temporary protection of displaced persons Foreigners, International protection, as well as other implementing instruments. See chapter 15.
- Students with learning difficulties with the adapted provision of the Basic School Act
- Children in hospital care may attend preschool and basic school education in a hospital as specified by relevant law
- Disadvantaged children in line with education objectives specified by the Organization and financing of education Act receive support and assistance provided by kindergartens or schools.
Specific support measures
Members of the Italian and Hungarian national communities
Medium of instruction at kindergartens and schools for members of the Italian national community residing in ethnically mixed areas in Slovenian Istria is Italian. Slovenian language is a school subject.
In Prekmurje, where members of the Hungarian ethnic community live alongside the majority Slovenian population, the provision of kindergartens and schools is parallel, namely in Slovenian and Hungarian languages (bilingual).
Schools outside the ethnically mixed must organise learning of Italian or Hungarian language for students who are members of the Italian or Hungarian national community, but only if at least five students decide to attend.
Education programmes are adapted (timetables, subject-curricula, knowledge catalogues).
Schools issue bilingual certificates and other documents.
Two preschool teachers attend a kindergarten group 6 hours per day, concurrently.
Given the adapted timetable (additional subject), the weekly workload of students may be extended by two hours compared to mainstream schools.
At basic and upper bilingual secondary schools, the organisation of classes and groups is subject to more favourable norms and standards compared to mainstream schools.
In the first three grades of bilingual basic schools, two teachers are present at all times, one speaking Slovenian and the other Hungarian.
In schools with the Italian medium of instruction, students and teachers use textbooks and other learning materials in Italian. In bilingual Hungarian and Slovenian schools, they use textbooks and other learning materials in Hungarian and Slovenian languages. The funding for development and subsidising the prices of textbooks and learning materials are allocated by the state.
Members of the Roma community
Regular system actions for better inclusion of Romani students in the educational process are:
- Co-funding activities in basic school education
- Funding for material costs for Romani students
- Co-funding the work of Romani assistants
- Co-funding activities in preschool education.
The most important recent measure was the classification of the Romani assistant post. In the school year 2021/2022, the first Romani assistants assumed their positions in kindergartens and/or schools. They are tasked among others for:
- Assisting children to overcome emotional and language barriers
- Establishing and maintaining contact with parents
- Cooperating with education staff in activities for better interaction between Romani and other children
- Cooperating with education staff in developing and undertaking actions for improved outcomes for Romani children
- Undertaking activities for parents and children in the environment in which they live
- Promotion of education within the Romani community.
The so-called multifunctional centres as contact points for various educational and other activities for Romani families are essential settings of support. Currently, seven such centres are operating in Slovenia.
In 2021, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the National programme of measures for Roma from 2021 to 2023. This programme document determined key goals and actions for improving the socio-economic situation of the Romani community and their members, for creating an environment for better social inclusion of them and for empowering them. Among others, it pursued the aim of increasing the inclusion of Romani children in preschool education, facilitating the path to the completion of basic school and inclusion in continuing education.
The same year and after the relevant council of experts had been acquainted with it, the minister responsible for education approved the Strategy of education of Romani from 2021 to 2023.
To help leadership and education staff in kindergartens, the relevant council of experts adopted the appendix to the Kindergarten curriculum for pursuing activities with Romani children and guidelines for the provision of basic school for Romani students.
Integration of Roma children into kindergartens:
- The majority is placed in regular classes
- Kindergartens organise a group for Roma children only, or
- Educational units are set up in settlements of Roma communities.
The child-adult ratio in kindergarten groups including Roma children is more favourable (age group 1– 4 children per 1 adult, age group 2–7 children per 1 adult).
Roma culture is one of the optional subjects in basic school.
In basic schools, norms and standards to organise a class with at least three Roma students are more favourable than those for regular classes (max. 21 students). In grade 1 of two teachers stay in a class to deliver lessons for a longer time.
Basic schools may employ an additional teacher or school counsellor to offer Roma children learning and other assistance. Schools with more than 45 Roma students can employ two extra members of the education staff.
Students with learning difficulties
Basic schools adapt methods and forms of teaching to individual students; students may take remedial lessons and other forms of individual or group support.
The council of experts for general education adopted 2008 the teaching concept of “Learning difficulties in basic schools”. The document determined five levels of assistance:
- Assisting teachers in lessons, remedial lessons and after-school classes
- Assisting by counselling service
- Additional individual and group assistance
- Seeking opinion and assistance from the external professional institution
- Providing the programme of modified implementation and additional professional support.
Schools can modify the undertaking of obligations for talented students, students as prospective sportsmen, students who are preparing to take part in international competitions of knowledge or other international education, sports or cultural events or exchanges, newly arrived foreign students and for students in other rationalised situations. Schools structure the modifications with the personal educational plan in which they in cooperation with the student and parents determine the modified classes, rights and obligations.
Upper secondary schools can decide to extend for two years at most the status of upper-secondary students for individuals in parallel programmes, top sportsmen, students who fail to complete a year or discontinue education for early parenthood, and longer or frequent absence for health reasons.
Based on the Strategy for the integration of migrant children into the education system (2007), the Guidelines for the education of migrant children were adopted in 2009 and amended in 2011). The document defines strategies, adjustments and methods of cooperation and integration of migrant children and their parents given assisting kindergartens and schools in planning the education work with children foreigners.
In pre-school, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary and higher education, refugees have equal status to Slovenian citizens.
Teachers in kindergartens implement activities according to the relevant curriculum to improve the speaking competences of children whose mother tongue is not Slovenian.
Individuals under temporary protection under 18 years of age have by the relevant law the right under the same conditions and requirements as they apply to Slovenians to inclusion and completion of short upper-secondary and upper-secondary vocational and general education to attain officially recognised qualification in public and private schools that receive public funds.
To help integrate and undertake activities with children and young people who come from a war zone and require help in integrating into kindergartens and schools and to create an inclusive environment in which they can learn to respect diversity teachers can find help in the Guidelines for integration of children and young people under temporary protection in educational institutions.
Parents under temporary protection are entitled to apply for a decrease in payment by parents for a kindergarten (subvention) under conditions that apply to foreigners by relevant law on kindergartens and law on rights for public funds. s and by law on the rights to public funds. Parents under temporary protection who are entitled to financial help or allowance do not have to pay for kindergarten.
Schools organise classes or a course in the Slovenian language for students with a first language other than Slovenian and migrant students, namely at the time of inclusion.
In agreement with parents, basic schools may adapt teaching methods, dates of knowledge assessment and number of grades to the needs of migrant studentsTeachers may assess the knowledge in terms of the student's progress. The measures of adjustments apply for two school years. At the end of the school year in which a pupil was first enrolled in a basic school in the Republic of Slovenia, he or she may progress to a higher grade even if they did not receive final marks in all subjects.
In upper secondary education, the subject-curriculum of Slovenian language for foreign students was adopted, as well as the rules on the organisation and implementation of the intensive course of Slovenian and additional lessons in Slovenian for upper secondary students whose home language is not Slovenian or who had not completed basic education in the Republic of Slovenia.
Students who seek asylum are entitled to a free school meal and they may borrow textbooks from the textbook school fund free of charge.
For several years now and in agreement with the country of origin, the Ministry of education has been supporting the provision of basic school remedial classes in the respective home tongue and culture for children residing in Slovenia whose mother tongue is not Slovenian.
The state allocates funds for learning Slovenian for foreigners included in regular basic school and upper-secondary education, and under certain requirements for lessons of the first language which is not the medium of instruction.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched a web portal with information for foreign nationals to learn about life and work in Slovenia and all other information about free courses in the Slovenian language and Slovenian history, culture and constitutional arrangement for third-country nationals.
Migrant children have support provided also by associations and other non-governmental organizations. For example, Slovene Philanthropy set up two programmes for migrants: a programme for helping and supporting to facilitate integration and a programme for Young migrants. The programmes provide psychosocial support, help in integrations, advocacy, foster care for underage unaccompanied children, and others.
Children in hospital care
Education and lessons in hospitals are provided in smaller groups or individually.
In hospital classes of preschool education, the education staff implements the curriculum of mainstream kindergartens.
The basic school education programme in hospital school classes is extended to include supportive relaxation or therapeutic activities that help prevent the negative consequences of hospitalization and enable children to better cope with the disease during their stay in the hospital.
The norm for setting up basic school classes in hospitals is 12 students if they can move and 6 students if they are on bed rest.
Education staff in hospital classes cooperate with doctors and other medical staff as well as parents and respective kindergartens or schools.
Teachers of hospital classes give to the respective school a pedagogical report and give recommendations on how to pursue educational work after discharge from the hospital.
In agreement with the student’s principal school and individual plan, the hospital organises and provides individual learning support to students, as well as other forms of education and counselling.
Education in hospital classes is organised according to the Concept of education of students in hospital care that was approved by the Council of experts of the Republic of Slovenia for general education in 2013.
Children from a lower socio-economic background
Children whose parents submit a statement of social vulnerability of the family, issued by the social work centre, have priority in admission to kindergartens.
Counselling service at a kindergarten or school assists in identifying and providing possible support and assistance to the family of the child or student (e.g. assistance in locating scholarships, resolving financial issues, organizing learning space at a school, providing school textbooks and learning aids, organizing and coordinating additional assistance to children whose parents are unable to provide the necessary support, etc.).
Schools may organise individual or group assistance.
A kindergarten and a school cooperate with the competent social work centre.
Students can apply for income-related meal subsidies (price decreased or free). Students in foster settings have the right to free snacks, and basic school students to free lunch, as well.
Upper-secondary students can apply for state-subsidised transportation tickets.
Parents with more than one child enrolled in residence halls for upper-secondary students can apply for co-funding payment by parents.