Country information for Estonia - Assessment within inclusive education systems

Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are pupils who, upon the recommendation of an external multi-disciplinary advisory team, receive enhanced support or special support. This occurs when the general support provided by the school does not produce the desired results for the learner’s development.

A special educational need is identified through:

  • pedagogical-psychological assessment;
  • repeated and more accurate observation of the learner’s behaviour in different conditions;
  • gathering information about the learner and their upbringing;
  • medical and speech therapy examinations.

The school head appoints a person to organise co-operation between support specialists and teachers to support the schooling and development of learners with SEN.

The person responsible for co-ordinating the schooling of a learner with SEN supports and instructs the teacher in identifying SEN. They make suggestions to the teacher, parents and school head regarding further educational work, the application of measures to support the learner’s development or conducting further investigations. As such, they co‑operate with teachers and support specialists.

If the measures applied do not achieve results, then the school – with the parents’ approval – can apply for additional support from the counselling centre or medical specialists.

According to the external advisory team’s recommendation and with written parental consent, the school provides enhanced support or special support to the learner.

Enhanced support is applied to a learner who, due to a permanent learning difficulty, psychic or behavioural disorder or another health condition or disability, needs at least one of the following services:

  • a constant specialist support service and an individual curriculum in one, more or all subjects;
  • a constant specialist support service and part-time studies individually or in a group;
  • a constant specialist support service and individual support during studies in the class;
  • studies in a special class.

Special support is applied to a learner who, due to their severe and permanent mental disorder, intellectual or mental disability or multiple disabilities, needs:

  • disability-specific organisation of studies, study environment, study methodology, study aids and a constant specialist support service, combined with social and/or health services in order to be able to participate in studies;
  • part-time studies individually or in a group or constant individual support in a class or studies in a special class.

An external advisory team can:

  • assign a suitable curriculum for a learner with special needs;
  • recommend that the learning outcomes prescribed in the national curriculum for basic schools be replaced or decreased or exemption be given from studying a compulsory subject;
  • recommend the need for support specialists;
  • recommend the conditions needed for inclusive study at school and for implementing such study. The external advisory team’s recommendation is entered in the education information system.


Last updated 26/03/2020

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