Country information for France - Teacher education for inclusive education

Initial teacher education

The law of 28 July 2019 (Law no. 2019-791 of 26 July 2019: Pour une école de la confiance), notably dedicated to inclusive schooling reinforcement, states that inclusive education is part of initial teacher education.

Up to 2019, training programmes could include an introduction to inclusive education at the start of training (immediately after the bachelor’s degree, during the first year of the master’s degree) and in-depth training modules at the end of the training period (second year of master’s degree and/or during the first years of teaching) for primary and secondary school teachers and chief educational advisors (CPEs). The training focused on developing skills in two areas: diversity of learners and working in teams. Common core courses in the Higher National Institute for Teaching and Education (Instituts nationaux supérieurs du professorat et de l’éducation: INSPE) covered, among other things:

  • pupils’ learning;
  • common knowledge and skills based approach;
  • methods of assessment;
  • methods of educational differentiation and support for exceptional learners;
  • teaching the values of the Republic;
  • guiding learners and preventing violence in schools;
  • fighting all forms of discrimination and teaching gender equity;
  • taking into account the diversity of audiences including learners with disabilities. (see Eurydice, National Review, France, Chapter 9.1.)

Article L. 721-2 of the Education Code now specifically states that French initial teacher education institutions (INSPE) also plan training courses on learners with special educational needs:

The Higher National Institutes for Teaching and Education organize trainings to raise awareness about gender equity, fight against discrimination, handling of information, environmental protection and respect and ecological transition, schooling of learners with special educational needs including learners with disabilities and gifted learners and non-violent resolution of conflicts. (Article L. 721-2, Code de l'éducation)

A mandatory module on inclusive education should be defined in the upcoming months (2020), setting a national hourly volume.

With regard to common lessons, an order of the ministers responsible for national education and higher education specifies the terms of reference for the contents of specific initial training regarding the schooling of children with disabilities. (Article L. 721-2, Code de l'éducation)

Support assistants (accompagnant d’élèves en situation de handicap, AESH) now benefit from a mandatory initial training. All new support assistants at the département level receive 60 hours training on adaptation to the job.

Continuing professional development

Beginning teachers and experienced teachers can access career-long professional learning opportunities regarding inclusive education and special educational needs. At the start of the new school year, teachers are advised of the upcoming training courses on inclusive education available in their département or académies.

A policy implementation guideline was published in September 2019 (professional learning for inclusive education handbook) to ensure and foster national coherence on inclusive education professional learning opportunities. It outlines local and national training programmes for support assistants, primary and secondary school teachers and teacher educators or members of the school staff on the principles of inclusive education.

The 2019 school start circular Pour une École inclusive (Circulaire de rentrée n° 2019-088) urged académies and départements to include inclusive education programmes in their training plan. They were asked to design three training programmes:

  • co-operation between support assistant (AESH) and teachers (three hours training)
  • learning supports for learners with SEN (six hours training)
  • supporting and implementing co-operative inclusive projects (intended for inspectors in charge of school adaptation and disabled learners’ education).

The 2019 school start circular also outlined the role of two categories of inspectors to help build a local training offer on inclusive education and foster inclusive education at different levels:

  • the département level: National Education Inspectors in charge of School Adaptation and Disabled Learners’ Education (inspecteurs de l' éducation nationale chargés de l'Adaptation scolaire et de la Scolarisation des élèves handicapés, IEN-ASH) ;
  • the académie level: National Education Inspectors and Rector’s Technical Advisor in charge of School Adaptation and Disabled Learners’ Education (IEN-CT ASH – ‘CT’ stands for ‘conseiller technique auprès du recteur’). Since 2009, a technical advisor has been appointed to the Rector of each académie (i.e. educational district, there are 30 across France) to define the regional implementation of the national inclusive education policy.

Regarding teachers’ continuing professional development, an online platform, Cap école inclusive, was created in September 2019. It is currently being developed and promoted as an online tool to meet teachers’ needs for professional training on learners with SEN and inclusive education. It gives concrete and immediate answers to practical educational problems. Teachers can log in and download adaptation guidelines based on the learners’ identified needs (e.g. reading difficulties, speaking skills difficulties, concentration difficulties). The M@gistère website also offers online courses to train teachers on specific educational needs or disorders (e.g. autism, gifted learners, specific learning disabilities) as part of départments and académies training plans.

Specialist teachers

Teachers can avail of upskilling or training opportunities to support learners with SEN as part of their on-going professional development. However, teachers who wish to become specialist teachers can apply for the Certificate of Pedagogical Competence in Inclusive Educational Methods (certificat d'aptitude professionnelle aux pratiques de l'éducation inclusive, CAPPEI).

The reform of training for specialist teachers lead to the creation of the CAPPEI in 2017. It is an intern training and certification, meaning every specialist teacher must pass the national teacher qualification and get experience in a mainstream class before applying.

Teachers wishing to acquire the CAPPEI and become specialist teachers receive professional training following four stages (CAPPEI circular of 14 February 2017, 1. Training structure):

  • Common core curriculum (144 hours, six mandatory modules):
    • Ethical and social issues
    • Legislative and regulatory framework
    • Knowledge of partnerships
    • Relationships with families
    • Special educational needs and educational solutions
    • Resource person
  • Advanced courses (two in-depth module (2 x 52 hours), candidate’s own choice)
    • Major learning difficulties (module 1)
    • Major learning difficulties (module 2)
    • Major difficulty in understanding school’s expectations
    • Psychological disorders
    • Specific language and learning disorders (i.e. French equivalent for SLD)
    • Cognitive or intellectual functions disorders
    • Visual disorders (modules 1 and 2)
    • Hearing disorders (modules 1 and 2)
    • Autism spectrum disorders (modules 1 and 2)
    • Motor functions disorders and debilitating diseases (modules 1 and 2)
  • Professionalisation course (52 hours, one module, candidate’s own choice)
    • Teaching in Adapted General and Vocational Education Sections (SEGPA) or Regional Adapted teaching establishments (EREA)
    • Working in special assistance networks for learners in difficulty (RASED) in primary school: educational-oriented support or relationship-oriented support
    • Co-ordinating a Local Unit for Educational Inclusion (ULIS)
    • Teaching in a Teaching Unit (within a medical-social/healthcare establishment or externalised in a mainstream school)
    • Teaching in a prison setting or Closed Educational Centre (CEF)
    • Working as a schooling reference teacher or secretary of the départementale commission for adapted education orientation
  • For four years following CAPPEI graduation, teachers can access an additional 100 hours of professional training, through National Initiative Modules (modules de formation d’initiative nationale dans le domaine de l’adaptation scolaire et de la scolarisation des élèves handicapés, MIN), specifically dedicated to inclusive education.

The reform of specialist teacher training aimed to make specialist teachers into ‘resource people’ for other teachers. The trainees get 300 hours of training organised into modules distributed over several periods while being assigned to a specialised position of their choice. During their year working in a specialised position, they are supported and monitored by trainers, district teams and an appointed mentor.

The National Institute of Advanced Training and Research for the Education of Young People with Disabilities and Adapted Teaching (INSHEA) is identified as a resource and support centre for the CAPPEI training. In co-operation with Higher National Institutes for Teaching and Education, the INSHEA maps the académie, inter-académies and national CAPPEI training offer.

MIN are mainly implemented by the Higher National Institutes for Teaching and Education and by the INSHEA. The INSHEA is particularly qualified to organise MIN on very specific topics such as sign language, Braille, teaching in prison settings, etc.

MIN are national training modules on inclusive education. Priority is given to new CAPPEI graduates who benefit from a right to access 100 hours of MIN professional training for four years after they graduate. However, MIN are also intended for teachers, support assistants, school psychologists and school leaders who wish to achieve inclusive education qualifications, usually if the local offer does not meet their needs.


Last updated 28/04/2020


Share this page: