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People involved in assessment - Austria

Issuing of a decision for a SEN

The competent authority for the issuing of a decision is the District School Board. The decision has to contain a statement if a child with SEN has been detected. The District School Board is also responsible for deciding if and to which extent the respective pupil is to be instructed according to a syllabus of a different type of school. The school conference is responsible for deciding if and in which subjects the pupil is to be instructed according to the syllabus of a different grade.

If a child with SEN has been detected the child has the right to be supported with all available means, either in primary school or special school.

Within the school system two institutions are mainly responsible for the diagnosis of a child’s condition and the consultation of the parents:

The District School Board draws on various expert opinions for the decision whether or not a SEN is issued.

In any case it has to obtain a “special needs opinion” which in most cases is issued by a teacher from a special school or a Special Education Centre. The diagnosis tools are compiled by the respective experts at their own discretion. Some Austrian provinces have a set of proven means for diagnosis to assess performance, social conduct, intelligence, linguistic and motor abilities, sensual perception etc.

The District School Board may only obtain a psychological expert opinion with parental consent.

The Special Education Centres (Head or teachers at a special school or from the District School Board) issue special needs opinions as a basis for decision-making whether a child will receive a SEN or not.

This expert opinion contains the findings about the type and repercussions of the child’s disabilities. The expert opinion should also contain measures for the best possible support for the child. If the issue of school attendance is also to be clarified in terms of medicine, an expert opinion will be commissioned to school doctors or public health officers.

The application for a SEN and a comprehensive pedagogic report of the class teacher (primary school) or the subject teachers (secondary school) is sent to the District School Board, which commissions the Special Education Centre and (with parental consent) the school psychologist with an expert opinion.

In some Austrian provinces the class teacher is obliged to fill in an observation form or development plan (in Carinthia) before applying for a SEN, which can already contain specific information about the strengths and deficiencies of the child.

Application form: 

http://land.salzburg.at/landesschulrat/service/apsdaten/spf_beobachtungsbogen2002.pdf

Application for a SNE, example of Salzburg: 

http://land.salzburg.at/landesschulrat/service/apsdaten/spf_beobachtungsbogen2002.pdf

The circular note of the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (containing definitions, delimitations, time of determination, change of syllabus, development and control) about Special Educational Needs can be downloaded at http://www.cisonline.at/html/rs15.htm

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