Country information for Finland - Systems of support and specialist provision

Development of inclusion

The school administration reforms in the 1990s, when decision-making was decentralised to the municipalities, reduced the number of special schools, while special classes have been founded in mainstream schools. The state maintains seven special schools that provide comprehensive school education. These schools are primarily intended for learners with hearing or visual impairments or with a physical or other impairment.

The state-owned special schools are national development and service centres. They provide expert services for municipal and other schools. They also provide temporary education and rehabilitation for pupils of compulsory school age studying at other schools, in order to support their studies. The schools may also offer rehabilitation to people with disabilities under compulsory school age and those who have completed comprehensive school.

The tasks of state-owned special schools are:

  • to develop basic education and the related rehabilitation, curricula, teaching and rehabilitation methods, teaching aids and learning materials;
  • to provide guidance and information services for learners at other schools, their parents or guardians, teachers and other staff;
  • to steer the preparation of education and rehabilitation plans;
  • to promote learners’ transition into further study, working life and society.

It is the duty of the municipality and the individual school to include learners with special educational needs (SEN) in the mainstream education system. The first alternative to providing special needs support is to include learners with SEN in mainstream classes and, when necessary, provide special needs education in small teaching groups. Only when this is not feasible is the second alternative considered: the provision of special needs education in a special group, class or school.

Inclusion in Finland has developed as follows:

  • Separate special education curricula were abolished. All learners follow the same curriculum, which is individualised through individual education plans. In the curriculum, the concept ‘need for special support’ is used when referring to special education.
  • Learner welfare services are included in the curriculum, and municipalities and schools are obliged to include their services in the curriculum.
  • Development of inclusion and production of models for municipality, school and learner-level planning, organisation and implementation of inclusive special needs education, in co-operation with various interest groups.
  • The statistics on provision, resources and costs of special needs education will be drawn upon to obtain a continuous view on the state of special needs education nationwide and to acquire comparative data on the effects of regional and municipal differences.
  • Several projects are developing the virtual school for SEN, according to the national strategy. These projects include representatives from the private and public sectors, state, municipalities, universities and research centres, both in the humanities and technical areas.
  • There are several projects to prevent the exclusion of learners by developing productive learning models and models to teach and support learners with mental illnesses.

In 1995, an evaluation of the status of special education formed the basis for two projects dealing with qualitative development of special education, running from 1997–2001 and from 2002–2004. The national project for 2002–2004 was to develop the quality of special education. It integrated the operating systems of education in mainstream and special education and in vocational education and training. It aimed to reform the operating cultures and joint guidance of education, instruction and support services (health care and social administration, day care and youth services) by supporting the integration of the service systems at regional and municipal levels. The activities were based on continuous co-operation, evaluation and steering across administrative boundaries. This took the roles, tasks and operating models of different experts into account. It also involved ensuring that instruction and support services were organised in accordance with learners’ age level and abilities, so as to promote learners’ healthy growth and development. Learner welfare services were organised in co-operation with the authorities responsible for implementing social and health care services.

At the beginning of the 21st century, there was much discussion about how to further improve legislation, procedures and pedagogy in order to take even better care of all pupils’ learning and development. On 14 March 2006, the Ministry of Education and Culture appointed a steering group to prepare a proposal for a long-term strategy for the development of special needs and inclusive education. The strategy for pre-primary and basic education was published in November 2007 and put into practice in autumn 2010. The Ministry of Education and Culture prepared the changes in legislation, and the Finnish National Board of Education prepared the changes to the National Core Curriculum for Pre-Primary and Basic Education (2010). The steering group also produced definitions for the key concepts.

The strategy for the development of special needs and inclusive education emphasises the importance of the wide basic education network which supports the right of every learner to attend their nearest mainstream school. The nearest mainstream school refers to a school where a learner would regularly be assigned. In that school, every learner should get sufficient and timely support to reach the goals of basic education. Inclusive education refers to the provision of education in such a manner that all learners’ successful learning and development can be secured.

Inclusion calls for developing both system and operational structures. It also requires the development of an operational culture and pedagogical methodology that will promote all learners’ success in their studies and their positive growth and development. When arranging education for a learner with SEN, the local school’s ability to teach the learner will always be explored first. This involves assessing the resources and support measures required by the school in order to successfully promote learning. If the assessment indicates that the learner’s support needs are particularly demanding, to an extent that it is impossible to provide education at the nearest school, education must be provided where it will benefit the learner.

The strategy for developing special needs and inclusive education proposed a change in practice to focus on much earlier support and prevention. This intensified support should be adopted as the primary form of support before a decision on special support is made. According to the strategy, this would reduce the number of learners in special needs education. The intensified support would promote learning and growth and prevent the accumulation of problems relating to learning, social interaction or development.

When the decision of special needs education is made, it should have stronger status. Furthermore, in addition to medical expertise, the role of pedagogical expertise and planning should be strengthened. The strategy suggested that making early childhood education part of the education administration system would enable children with special needs to proceed more flexibly and safely from early childhood to pre-primary and onwards to basic education.

The strategy stresses the central role of teachers. Developing inclusive education requires heavy investments in teacher education. In Finland, teachers have been trusted to do their best as true education professionals and have therefore had considerable pedagogical independence in the classroom. Schools have likewise enjoyed substantial autonomy in organising their work within the framework of the national core curriculum.

Recent studies show that the new competence requirements arising from societal change emphasise teachers’ ability to meet learners, parents and colleagues as co-operative partners. Teachers cannot cope on their own under the pressures set by increasing requirements. A well-functioning multi-cultural school works as a community, whose results depend on its ability to employ the learners’ individual and special skills to benefit the common good. As a result of the increase in social problems and in the number of learners who need special attention, teachers need both pedagogical and social knowledge and skills to work together when solving problems at school. Teachers are also expected to be open to interacting with their environments. The ‘teachership’ of the future means the ability to teach heterogeneous groups, readiness to actively participate in discussions concerning the direction of education and society and the will to work for development.

Early childhood education and care

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) aims to promote children’s holistic growth, development and learning in collaboration with their guardians. ECEC promotes equality and equity among children and prevents their social exclusion. Knowledge and skills acquired in ECEC strengthen children’s participation and active agency in the society. In addition, ECEC supports guardians in educating their children and makes it possible for them to work or study.

Support for the child’s development and learning is part of high-quality ECEC activities. Each child in need of support is entitled to receive it. The child’s need for support shall be recognised and appropriate support shall be arranged as the need arises, in cross-sectoral co‑operation if necessary. Sufficiently early and correctly targeted support may promote the child’s development, learning and well-being. At the same time, the support may be used to prevent problems from emerging. ECEC is developed in accordance with the principles of inclusion in Finland.

The organisation of support is based on each child’s strengths and needs related to learning and development. The support for development and learning meets the child’s individual needs, as well as the needs of the ECEC community and learning environment. All children must feel accepted as themselves and as members of the group.

Primarily, support is provided through diverse flexible arrangements in the child’s own ECEC or family day care group. When evaluating the size of the group of children, the best interests and support needs of the children and the ability to achieve the goals set for ECEC are considered.

ECEC may include child- or group-specific assistants, who support the child or children and enable their participation in activities. Support can also be partly or fully provided in a special needs group if it is in the child’s best interests.

All staff are responsible for observing and providing children’s needs for support, according to their education, job descriptions and duties. Special ECEC teachers educate children in need of support and consult with and guide other staff. When necessary, social and health care service experts participate in planning, implementing and evaluating children’s need for support.

The individual ECEC plan outlines the support a child needs. The plan includes the responsibilities and division of duties for supporting the child’s development and learning and their implementation and assessment methods.

The implementation and effectiveness of the support is evaluated and the plan revised and changed, if necessary, at least once a year. Records are kept of how the objectives have been achieved, and goals must be revised to correspond with changing needs. The plan must indicate if support is no longer needed and the measures have been discontinued. The need for support is always re-assessed when the child begins pre‑primary education. The National Core Curriculum for Pre-primary Education outlines the regulations on support for the growth and learning of children in pre-primary education.

Pre-primary education

Pre-primary education builds on the basic values of society. These are stipulated in national legislation and international declarations, recommendations and conventions which endeavour to safeguard human rights and global viability. The role of pre-primary education is to promote children’s growth into humane individuals and ethically responsible members of society. It does this by guiding them towards responsible action and compliance with generally accepted rules and towards appreciation for other people. The core role of pre-primary education is to promote children’s favourable growth, development and learning opportunities. It shall support and monitor physical, psychological, social, cognitive and emotional development and prevent any difficulties that may arise. Early childhood education and care, pre-primary education and basic education form an integrated whole, progressing consistently in terms of children’s development.

Children whose conditions for development, growth and learning have been affected by illness, disability or reduced functional ability need special support in pre-primary education. In addition, children who need psychological or social support for their growth receive special support. Children whose development involves risk factors related to learning potential, according to experts in education and pupil welfare services and parents or other guardians, are entitled to special support. In addition, special support in pre-primary education is provided for children who are within extended compulsory education or whose basic education has been deferred for one year, and for children admitted or transferred to special education during pre-primary education.

The physical and social learning environment and the necessary support services in children’s pre-primary education is primarily organised to enable children to participate in group activities as fully as possible.

Children participating in education are entitled to receive sufficient support for growth and learning as soon as the need for support becomes apparent. Categories in the National Core Curriculum for Pre-Primary Education are general support, intensified support and special support.

Support for growth and learning in pre-primary education

Pre-primary education is defined in the Basic Education Act. It is for six-year-olds, and can be implemented in either ECEC centres or schools (Source: IECE – Finland Country Survey Questionnaire; IECE – Finland Example of Provision).

Development and support in pre-primary education comprises objectives agreed together with children’s parents, which uphold basic security and support children’s holistic growth. The primary concern is to support the development of each child’s positive self‑concept and healthy self-esteem and to ensure equal membership of the peer group. Work in pre-primary education should be playful and involve action-based group and individual guidance stemming from children’s developmental level. It should promote children’s cognitive – and in particular, linguistic – and socio-emotional development and their ability to learn new things, and prevent learning difficulties.

Attention must be on early identification of learning barriers and difficulties. Those in education are entitled to receive sufficient support for learning and growth as soon as the need for support becomes apparent. Early identification of support needs requires continuous assessment of children’s growth and learning, and provision of support must be initiated at a sufficiently early stage. This will prevent aggravation and long-term effects of problems. Provision of the right support measures at the right time and level is the key to safeguarding growth and learning.

The support received by children must be flexible, long-term and must change in keeping with support needs. Different forms of support are used both individually and in combination with each other. Support is provided for as long as necessary and at the appropriate level. Particular care is taken to ensure continuing support as a child moves from ECEC to pre-primary education and from pre-primary to basic education.

Support for growth, learning and school attendance falls into three categories in the National Core Curriculum for Pre-Primary Education: general support, intensified support and special support.

Compulsory schooling

As in pre-primary education, support for studies and pupil welfare falls into three categories in the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education: general support, intensified support and special support.

Support measures form a systematic continuum, as shown in figure 2. Particular care is taken to ensure continuing support as a learner moves from ECEC to pre‑primary education, from pre-primary to basic education, and from basic education to secondary education.

The diagram illustrates the types of support available in educational settings in Finland. The graphic layout is presented as a pyramid. There are three different levels of support from top to bottom: •	Special support is based on a decision and includes an IEP.  •	Intensified support includes a learning plan which is compulsory. A multi-disciplinary pupil welfare team deals with the support. A pedagogical statement is available when intensified support is not sufficient. •	General support might include a l

Figure 2. Types of support available in educational settings

General support

Every pupil has a right to high-quality education as well as an opportunity to receive guidance and support for learning and school attendance on all school days. All pupils’ abilities and needs must be taken into account in schoolwork. Caring, concern and a good atmosphere in a school community promote pupils’ development and support good learning.

Teachers are responsible for taking the different abilities and needs of each pupil and the whole teaching group into account. Co-operation with parents and guardians, other teachers and staff members and different experts contributes to success in this respect. The teacher helps pupils to recognise their own resources, learning-related strengths and development challenges. Special attention is focused on pupils’ learning abilities and their opportunity to assume responsibility for setting objectives, planning, implementing and assessing their own learning. Pupils’ self-esteem, study motivation and learning-to-learn skills are consolidated in all learning situations and subjects.

Teaching tasks also include guidance, counselling and pupil welfare. Any support needs in terms of learning and school attendance are met by differentiating instruction, through co-operation among teachers and by modifying teaching groups in a flexible manner. The role of these arrangements becomes pronounced in combined-class instruction. Schools may use remedial teaching, learning plans, part-time special needs education and assistants’ contributions to meet the support needs of teaching groups or individual pupils even before transition to the intensified support stage.

It is also possible to influence pupils’ well-being and learning motivation through morning and afternoon activities, provided that these are offered by the education provider concerned. Planning these to form part of the pupils’ day also makes it possible to increase experiences of safety, security and community spirit.

Intensified support

Pupils who need regular support for their learning or school attendance or who need several forms of support at the same time must be provided with intensified support. This is based on a pedagogical assessment in accordance with a learning plan prepared for the pupil. Intensified support is provided when general support is not sufficient.

Intensified support is planned as a whole for each individual pupil. It is by nature more intense and persistent than general support. Intensified support systematically supports the pupil’s learning and school attendance and is designed to prevent problems from escalating, diversifying and accumulating.

It is possible to make use of all forms of support available in basic education during intensified support, with the exception of special needs education provided on the basis of a decision on special support. Subject syllabi cannot be individualised at the intensified support stage. Conversely, part-time special needs education, individual guidance counselling, flexible teaching groups and home-school co-operation play a more prominent role. In addition, pupil welfare services play a more substantial role in promoting and maintaining pupils’ well-being. Support must be organised according to each pupil’s developmental phase and individual needs in terms of quality and quantity. It is important to ensure pupils have opportunities to gain experiences of success in learning and as group members to support their positive perception of themselves and schoolwork.

During a period of intensified support, each pupil’s learning and school attendance is regularly monitored and assessed. If a pupil’s situation changes, the learning plan is revised to match their need for support.

In accordance with provisions for the individual pupil, initiating and organising intensified support and, where necessary, transition back to general support are based on pedagogical assessment or other work by a multi-disciplinary pupil welfare team. After this process, intensified support measures for the pupil are recorded in the pupil’s individual education plan.

The learning plan during intensified support

A pupil who needs regular support for their learning or school attendance or who needs several forms of support at once receives intensified support based on their own prepared learning plan. The support measures are recorded in the pupil’s individual education plan. A learning plan is always drawn up for a pupil receiving intensified support. Unless there is an evident obstacle to doing so, the learning plan must be drawn up in co-operation with the pupil and their parents or guardians and, where necessary, any other legal representative of the pupil. During a period of intensified support, systematic planning of studies and support measures will support the pupil’s learning, growth and development.

Special support

Special support is for pupils who cannot adequately achieve their growth, development or learning objectives through other support measures. Special support may be part of either general or extended compulsory education. It consists of special needs education based on a decision on special support and other forms of support available in basic education. It can include the whole range of support measures available in basic education.

The purpose of special support is to provide pupils with holistic and systematic support that enables them to complete their compulsory education and builds a foundation for continuing their studies when they leave comprehensive school. Pupils’ self-esteem and study motivation are reinforced, and they are encouraged to assume responsibility for their studies within the limits of their own abilities.

Provision of special support requires education providers to make a decision in writing. Prior to making a decision on special support, the education provider must consult the pupil and their parents, guardians or legal representatives and prepare a pedagogical statement on the pupil. The need for special support must be revised at least after the second year class and before transferring to the seventh year class. It must be reviewed during pre-primary and compulsory education whenever the pupil’s support needs change. For this purpose, a new pedagogical statement is prepared for the pupil. If there is a need for on-going support, the decision to continue special support will be made. If the pupil no longer needs special support, support measures are terminated. In the latter case, the pupil starts to receive intensified support.

Any matters that are significant in terms of the pupil’s legal protection and provision of instruction are determined in the decision on special support. The decision on special support must also determine the pupil’s primary teaching group, any possible interpretation, assistance or other services and, where necessary, divergent teaching arrangements for the pupil. Individualisation of a syllabus requires a decision on special support.

A psychological or medical evaluation may indicate that a pupil cannot be provided with education due to disability, illness, developmental delay or an emotional disorder, or for another special reason. In this case, a decision on special support may be made prior to or during pre-primary or basic education without a pedagogical statement or provision of intensified support for learning. If a decision on special support is made during basic education without providing intensified support, it must be based on a re-assessment of the pupil’s situation, for example as a result of an accident or serious illness.

Support measures may include factors relating to teaching and counselling staff, pupil welfare services, assistants and other necessary services, teaching methods and working approaches, learning methods, and materials and equipment. In addition to the pedagogical statement, other necessary statements, such as a psychological or medical statement or an equivalent social statement, must be obtained to prepare a decision on special support.

Support for learning and school attendance in basic education

The starting points for provision of teaching and support are the strengths, learning needs and development needs of both the whole teaching group and each individual pupil. Learning and school attendance require support solutions based on community spirit and the learning environment, as well as meeting pupils’ individual needs. When planning instruction and support, it is imperative to bear in mind that support needs may vary from temporary to continuous, from minor to major, or from one to several forms of support.

Every pupil must be given an opportunity to succeed in learning, develop as a learner and grow and refine themselves as a person on their own terms. Diverse learners, different learning styles and starting points for learning, as well as learners’ cultural backgrounds, must be taken into account. Special attention must be given to early identification of learning barriers and difficulties.

The school management is responsible for decisions relating to provision and implementation of support and for taking these into account in all year groups and subjects. Pedagogical expertise and co-operation between teachers play an important role in identifying support needs and in planning and implementing support. Where necessary, support is planned and implemented as part of multi-disciplinary pupil welfare work. Pupils and their parents or guardians are provided with information about support measures and given an opportunity to express their views on the provision of support. Each pupil is provided with support at their own school through various flexible arrangements, unless its provision inevitably requires the pupil to be transferred to another teaching group or school. Particular care is taken to ensure continuing support as a pupil moves from pre-primary to basic education and from basic education to the upper‑secondary level or if they change schools during basic education.

Individual education plan

In order to implement a decision on special support issued for a learner, the learner must have an individual education plan (IEP). An IEP is a written pedagogical document based on the approved curriculum. It must indicate the provision of education and other support in accordance with the decision on special support issued for the learner.

An IEP serves to provide persistent support for the learner’s individual learning and growth process. It is a target plan relating to the pupil’s learning and schooling. It covers educational content, pedagogical methods and other necessary support measures.

The plan must be revised as required and at least once per school year to correspond to the learner’s needs. The IEP is revised whenever the learner’s support needs or teaching objectives change.

Studying according to activity areas

Instead of subjects, instruction for people with severe disabilities is divided into functional domains: motor skills, language and communication, social skills, skills in daily activities and cognitive skills. Instruction for learners with other disabilities or serious illnesses may also be organised by activity area for reasons relating to the learners’ health.

Transition period

Additional education

Learners who have completed the basic education syllabus may be provided with additional education lasting one extra school year in accordance with the Basic Education Act. Additional education is open to learners who received their basic education leaving certificate in the same or previous year. There is no national lesson allocation or syllabus for additional education. The curriculum for additional education may include the core subjects common to all learners as part of the basic education syllabus, elective subjects within basic education, other subjects in basic education, vocational orientation studies, or periods of workplace guidance.

Vocational education

Transition from basic education to vocational upper-secondary education is currently under extensive reform. The reform includes further changes to legislation to secure access to a suitable study programme for every young person (Source: Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – Finland Country Report).

Students who need special support can apply to mainstream vocational institutions within the national joint application system or through the related flexible application procedure. They can also apply directly or, in some cases, through the joint application system to educational institutions with special educational tasks. Counsellors in basic education and vocational education and training aim to find a suitable place for each learner according to their wishes.

In vocational education and training, students who need special educational or welfare services receive special education and training. An individual education plan is drawn up for each student receiving special education and training. This plan sets out details of:

  • the qualification to be completed and its scope;
  • the national core curriculum or the requirements of the competence-based qualification observed in education and training;
  • the individual curriculum drawn up for the student;
  • grounds for providing special education and training;
  • special educational and student welfare services required for study;
  • other services and support measures provided for the student.

Each education provider is responsible for organising special education and training services for students who need them.

Upper-secondary education

Special needs education is not mentioned in the current regulations on upper-secondary education (629/1998, 810/1998). However, the Upper-Secondary Schools Act (629/1998) provides that learners with disabilities and other special needs are entitled to assistance services, other teaching and learner welfare services and special aids, as required in their studies.

In its Regulation dated 11 December 2009, the Matriculation Examination Board issued instructions for completing the matriculation examination. These include instructions for learners with dyslexia or other disabilities or illnesses. Every year, about 1,750 candidates present medical certificates to the Board requesting relaxation of the terms for completing the matriculation examination or exemption from completing a specific part of the examination. For example, deaf learners may request exemption from listening comprehension tests.

Quality indicators for special needs education

The planning, provision, evaluation, monitoring and development of special education are included in the overall development plan for education and the curriculum drawn up by each education provider. These plans are based on the relevant national core curriculum. They are carried out in co-operation with those responsible for mainstream education. In vocational education and training, the education providers’ curricula define the organisation of special education and co-operation within the institution. Responsibility for arranging rehabilitation and support services related to special education rests jointly with the educational and social administrations and the health care services of each local authority.

Unlike many countries, Finland does not have any national tests or exams for whole age cohorts to monitor performance trends. Instead, the national-level indicators are drawn from sample-based assessments. The results are mainly used for checking the equity of learning opportunities in different geographical areas or school types, and for learners with different backgrounds, including learners with SEN. Neither the schools nor the municipalities are accountable for the results.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre is a government agency which implements the assessments and co-ordinates national monitoring of learning outcomes (Source: Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – Finland Country Report).

Quality criteria to support the operation of schools

The quality criteria for basic education were issued in the autumn of 2009. The criteria aim to:

  • ensure a high-quality and diverse supply of instruction;
  • guarantee learners’ basic educational and cultural rights, irrespective of their place of residence, native language and financial situation.

The quality criteria are used to produce local-level information about the structural and operational quality of basic education, and to inform decisions about the provision of basic education. The quality criteria determine on what grounds the activities can be analysed and how activities can serve the set aims.

Measures to promote the basic education quality criteria include government subsidies and in-service training promoting regional co-operation in quality assurance, among others. The basic education quality criteria will be updated and expanded to include quality criteria for learners’ morning and afternoon activities.

Intensified and special support in basic education to be supported

Amendments to the Basic Education Act concerning intensified and special support came into force at the beginning of 2011. However, the provisions on learner welfare services and data protection were applied from August 2010. The new statutes supplement provisions on special and other support for learners. The aim is to enhance early, timely and planned pro-active support for learning and growth. Education providers had adopted the revised curricula by August 2011.

Government subsidies fund the implementation of the provisions on intensified and special support. The realisation of the learner’s right to intensified and special support was monitored, and a report requested by the Parliament was submitted to the Education and Culture Committee at the end of 2013. According to this report, municipalities have made progress in accordance with the objectives of the amendments to the Basic Education Act. The differences between municipalities in the implementation of the support are still considerable. The proportion of pupils receiving intensified support has increased. Reforms are considered necessary, but paperwork has increased and there was not enough time for planning. Guardians are well heard and involved, but they also need more information about the support processes. Pupil participation does not appear to be fulfilled in the various processes of support.

According to government analysis, assessment and research activities (55/2018), the educational support model from early childhood to the transition to upper-secondary education mainly functions well. However, more resources and professionals are required, particularly for part-time special education. A recommendation for improvement was regional equality, from the point of view of economic resources and the availability of competent experts.

Support for learners’ emotional and social skills

The values underpinning general education are human rights, equality and democracy and the acceptance of multiculturalism. The school community encounters the challenges of a diverse and differentiated society. Learners have the right to a safe growth and learning environment, but tolerance has not advanced in the expected way. In international terms, young Finns feel that their ability to influence are meagre. It is necessary to enhance the acceptance of difference and equal treatment of individuals. Schools should stress inclusion, well-being, safety and respect for fellow beings.

It is important to prevent bullying, discrimination and racism. Some 2,500 comprehensive schools are applying the KiVa-koulu (cool school) anti-bullying programme. Action to eradicate bullying is on-going, with special emphasis on racist discrimination and bullying. Measures will be taken to strengthen the schools’ role in developing learners’ emotional and social skills and to support learners’ inclusion and communality. Action to combat bullying will be stepped up. Education for tolerance and good conduct will be increased in schools.

Education in hospitals and the education of learners in custody

Arrangements for a pupil’s instruction and necessary support require particular consideration, particularly when the pupil is seriously ill or in a difficult life situation. In this case, basic education may be provided in a hospital school, a reform school, a reception centre, or a prison or other penal institution.

If organising instruction in other ways is not in the best interests of the pupil, regardless of support measures referred to in the Basic Education Act or other legislation, municipalities in which hospitals are located must organise instruction for pupils who are patients in the hospital, as far the pupil’s state of health allows. They must also organise instruction and support for pupils subject to compulsory education who are receiving other specialised medical care. This must take into account the pupil’s health, specific pedagogical needs and treatment and rehabilitative procedures.

Municipalities in which other types of specialised medical care units are located may also organise instruction for pupils receiving care. The goals of instruction for pupils in specialised medical care include maintaining their learning and school attendance, and holistic rehabilitation that supports the pupil’s treatment. Cross-sectoral co-operation between the pupil’s education provider and the municipality in which the hospital is located allows them to agree upon and organise the requisite support for pupils as they are transferred to hospital schools or back to their own schools. Distance learning may also be used in hospital schools. The pupil’s home municipality must pay compensation to another education provider for pupils in a hospital school.

Education of children placed outside their homes is the responsibility of the municipality in which the children are placed. The education of pupils placed in child welfare institutions is the responsibility of the school operating the institution. The home municipality of children placed under the Child Welfare Act must pay compensation to another education provider.

Subject to agreement, the municipality may assign a school in another municipality, a school maintained by a private organisation or foundation that has an authorisation to provide education, or a state school as the pupil’s local school, instead of a school in their home municipality.

 

Last updated 24/03/2020

 

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