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Initial identification of special educational needs - Poland

In Poland there are Psychological and Educational Services Centres (PESC) where teams of experts issue opinions on:

  • Existing needs for special education including directing children to remedial classes for severely mentally disabled pupils
  • Existing need for individual teaching for children who are not able to come to school on a regular basis due to their health problems 

These teams recommend the form of special education to be provided in mainstream schools, inclusive schools or classes, in special schools or classes or in special educational centres.

Assistance for children with special educational needs in Poland comprises guidance and counselling, outpatient’s services, care and assistance in school, education and care in special schools and nursery schools. Guidance and counselling services are provided by PESC. Their tasks include the following:

  • Recognising the state of psychological and physical development of children and young people aged 3 to 18 (and over), and registering children with SEN living in their area;
  • Medical diagnosing (physical development and its impairments), psychological diagnosing (intellectual development, psychometrics, functions of analysers, personality), educational diagnosing (advancement in learning, the scope of deficiencies) and social diagnosing (situation and living conditions in the family);
  • Delivering opinions concerning the form of educational and remedial or correctional and compensatory assistance for children with various disorders as well as directing disabled children to special schools and establishments or other special education institutions;
  • Carrying out medical examinations for children and young people who attend special schools and nursery schools in order to reconsider, if necessary, the possibility of sending some of them back to their original mainstream schools (correcting first diagnoses);
  • Undertaking preventive treatment activities, these including guidance for teachers and parents, measures designed to influence the environment;
  • Organising therapeutic centres. 

All persons receive assistance from PESC free of charge and on a voluntary basis. 

Results of psychological, pedagogical and medical examination, carried out by specialists attached to a given centre or external experts, serve as the basis for an opinion qualifying children and young people for suitable forms of special education that can be applied in general schools, integration schools or classes or in special schools or classes, or as individual teaching arrangements.

Special education in Poland comprises the following groups of children with special educational needs:

  • Children with slight mental disability;
  • Children with moderate or severe mental disability;
  • Deaf children;
  • Children with hearing impairment;
  • Blind children;
  • Visually impaired children;  
  • Physically disabled
  • Chronically ill;
  • Psychiatric children;
  • Autistic children and children with multiply disabilities;
  • Children with social and behavioural problems.

The principles and procedures for qualifying Children with SEN and young people for additional support and the rules for directing children to suitable schools and establishments are defined in the Regulation of the Minister of Education of 12 February 2001. But it is up to the parents if and to what extend they want to proceed with the opinion.

The opinion issued by specialists from PESC contains diagnosis, suggestions for the best form of special education (mainstream, integrated class/school or special school) and recommendation of the best teaching methods for the examined pupil. An important part of such recommendations is assessment of pupil’s school achievement. It covers methods and organisation of monitoring pupils’ progress as well as organisation of external examinations. The recommendations referring to teaching/learning process and assessment are very important especially for mainstream teachers and enables them to properly organise the education process for pupils with SEN.

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