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Initial identification of special educational needs - Belgium (French speaking community)

Development of Integration/inclusion 

Full time permanent inclusion

In the new decree of the 3rd March 2004 organising special education, there is a chapter concerning inclusion. To promote social adjustment and the education of pupils with special needs, temporary or permanent inclusion in a mainstream school for a pupil registered in special education can be organised.

Full time permanent inclusion concerns pupils of the special elementary school in the types 4, 6 and 7. The Government may allow derogation on the basis of an opinion from the general council of concertation of special education.

Full time permanent inclusion means that the pupil follows mainstream school education with support from the special school according to his needs and with free travel between his home and the mainstream school. A pupil registered in the mainstream school and the special school receive 4 periods of support. The pupil must register at the special school on the 15th January, in the same school year as when they plan to start. When a pupil begins at a mainstream school they lose their registration at the school for special education and the costs of subvention are transferred to the mainstream school.

The decision for full time permanent inclusion must be suggested by the:

  • class council
  • guidance service
  • parents
  • teaching team, in agreement with the participation council. The ‘project of educational establishment’ must contain elements which enable the organisation of inclusion.  

When the school has reached an agreement with the parents and the pupil the head teacher of the special school finds a mainstream school willing to collaborate regarding inclusion.

Following this a plan is framed by the class council of the special education, the guidance service and the class teacher of the mainstream school.

The protocol is in writing and includes:

  • the plan for inclusion and the file of the pupil, the aims, the specific equipment needed, travel requirements,  exemption from the mainstream programme if necessary and the method of communication between the 2 schools
  • defining the co-operation between the support team of the special school and the teachers of the mainstream school and also defining how to organise the internal assessment of the full time permanent inclusion.
  • the agreement of the guidance service
  • the agreement of the parents
  • the opinion of the travel commission.  

This protocol must be forwarded to the administration and to the inspection service by 30th April at the latest. The commission for integration and the government make their decisions by June at the latest although in exceptional circumstances the protocol can wait until 15th September giving the government until the 30th September to make a decision.

To continue in mainstream education a positive decision from the teaching team is required thus allowing integration to continue without further process. If one of the persons involved in the protocol propose a termination of the integration and subsequently propose the return of the pupil to special education, the decision can be revoked on the basis of a meeting with all the parties of the protocol and the head teachers of the schools. In exceptionally serious cases the Government may, after careful consideration, end a process of integration during the school year.

The task of permanent assessment concerning the integrative actions is assured by the general council of concertation for special education on the basis of the reports written by the teaching team. The attestation and certificates are awarded by the mainstream school.

Partial permanent inclusion and temporary inclusion

Partial permanent inclusion means than the pupil follows certain lessons in the mainstream school and the remaining lessons in the special school for the whole of the school year. The pupil continues to receive free travel between his home and the special school.

Temporary inclusion means than the pupil follows part or all of the lessons in the mainstream school during a certain period of the school year. The pupil continues to receive free travel between his home and the special school.

Only pupils who have attended special education for a minimum of 3 months may use this method of inclusion. The pupil stays registered in the special school.

The special class in the mainstream school is not considered as inclusive if the specialist teacher of the class is there during all lessons.

Sources:

  • Intégration de l’élève qui relève de l’enseignement spécialisé dans l’enseignement ordinaire G. Magerotte, (integration of pupil from the specialised eduction in the ordinary education)
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