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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: 20 February 2024

Definition of the target group

Article 80 of Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE) as amended by Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE), establishes that the people or groups of people and territorial areas that are at a disadvantage due to social, economic, cultural, geographical, ethnic or other kinds of factors must be the target of compensatory actions that reinforce the action of the education system with the aim of avoiding inequalities.

The Law also deals with the compensation of inequalities through specific programmes developed in schools or in geographical areas where educational intervention is necessary. Grants and study aids guarantee the right to education of students with unfavourable socio-economic conditions.

Specific support measures

The educational administrations develop compensatory actions in relation to individuals, groups and territorial areas that are in unfavourable situations. Administrations provide the necessary economic resources and support for this purpose in order to enforce the principle of equality. 

The adjustments affecting the education system are part of the continuous implementation of measures for the attention to diversity developed in schools. For this reason, most of the measures aimed at meeting the educational needs for students in mainstream education can be used to attend disadvantaged students. 

Article 81 of the LOE as amended by the LOMLOE, determines that it is the responsibility of the education authorities to ensure preventive and compensatory action by guaranteeing the most favourable conditions for the schooling of students in a situation of socio-educational vulnerability. The education authorities adopt the necessary measures to act in a preventive manner. 

In schools, geographical areas or social environments where there is a concentration of pupils in a situation of socio-educational vulnerability, the education authorities will develop initiatives to compensate for this problem. These actions include:

School attendance

  • Measures aimed at assuring the most suitable conditions for schooling in pre-primary and primary education: 
    • free education in the second cycle of pre-primary education is established; 
    • the gradual increase of publicly-funded places in the first cycle is promoted, with the aim of raising the rate of students attending school; 
    • a free school place in their own municipality or catchment area is guaranteed to all students;
  • Provision of human and material resources to schools in order to compensate for the situation of disadvantaged students.
  • Curricular support by specialised teachers for students presenting curricular gaps and risk of educational exclusion. That curricular support may be offered according to three different models: 
    • support for instrumental areas or subjects inside or outside the classroom; 
    • creation of specific groups or classrooms for students with serious problems in adapting to school; 
    • possibility of reducing the size of the group in the classroom.
  • Preventive and compensatory actions: 
    • development of compensatory education plans which include actions for taking advantage of the resources of the environment, such as the intercultural mediation services or the opening of school libraries out of school hours; 
    • implementation of programmes against school absenteeism, mainly aimed at specific groups.

Scholarships and study grants

Article 83 of the LOE as amended by the LOMLOE, establishes that students with disadvantaged economic conditions have the right to obtain study grants and scholarships. The Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) establishes, funded from the State General Budget, a general grants system to cover the expenses of: 

  • transport; 
  • urban transport; 
  • residence; 
  • teaching materials; 
  • tax exemption. 

In addition, there are grants and financial support for compensating the lack of work income, as well as other types of grants aimed at keeping young people at risk of dropping out within the system of education and training.

Equal opportunities in the rural world

The education authorities are responsible for providing the necessary resources and organisational systems to meet the needs of schooling in rural areas, in accordance with the provisions of article 82 of the LOE as amended by the LOMLOE: 

  • some areas provide schooling for students in municipalities close to their place of residence in order to guarantee the quality of education, and the education authorities provide free-cost transport, canteen or boarding school; 
  • the schools spread out in nearby municipalities with small settlement groups are grouped together to form one single centre in terms of their organisation, which allows students to stay in their towns or origin. In these schools: 
    • there is staff composed of itinerant teachers to cover the specialities forseen by the regulations; 
    • they count with one single leadership team and their teachers' assembly is made up of all the school teachers that work in the different schools that compose it. Besides, the yearly general programme and the school development plan are the same for all the grouped schools. 
  • adjustment of the criteria for the organisation of elective subjects for secondary education students in schools which, due to their size, may have restrictions on them; 
  • specific teacher training; 
  • provision of learning materials and educational resources on the Internet; 
  • work placements in rural education institutions for university and vocational training students.

Organisational alternatives for itinerant students

Due to families' itinerant work (circus workers, traders, fruit pickers or similar), there are students who cannot attend school regularly. Regional education authorities implement a series of measures to guarantee their schooling: 

  • establishment of supportive itinerant units; 
  • schooling programmes and education support to those students coming from seasonal groups of workers; 
  • provision of a permanent school teacher, who is provided with all the basic teaching resources. 

The schooling of children of agricultural seasonal workers can take place in: 

  • schools of the host area, which are supported by the teaching staff; 
  • prefabricated classrooms conducted by teachers from the programme of compensatory education during the months that the job lasts, creating on this manner a minimum services infrastructure in the area of residence.

Organisational alternatives for hospitalised students

The Autonomous Communities organise different alternatives to allow for education outside the school premises (services, institutions and special units) for those students who, due to medical prescription, cannot attend school and for those students hospitalised for a long period of time.