Most countries still use a categorical approach underpinned by a medical model within special needs education, that considers learners as having deficits that require compensatory measures in provision.

Inclusive education policy and practice activities that use labelling and terminology linked to special needs underpinned by a medical approach, with separate provision for different groups, are not in line with the rights-based approach to inclusive education systems, which focuses on the barriers within the system.

At the same time, countries are building their education systems’ capacity to address and encompass all learners. Countries are moving away from categorical approaches underpinned by medical models, towards other types of categorical approaches that consider wider social or circumstantial factors.

More information on the Legislative Definitions around Learners Vulnerable to Exclusion activity is available in the web area, and in the associated Legislative Definitions report and Policy Brief.

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