• Theme: Policies and practices
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How are European countries trying to realise inclusive education? Which educational supports do they provide, for whom, how and where?

The ProuD team analysed the inclusive education policies in the five partner countries. The aim is to inspire your reflections and conversations with colleagues and partners in your local community. How would you like to see the policy in your country and/or region evolve? What advocacy work could you undertake - or ask others to undertake - to reach a more inclusive education in your country and across Europe?


About the analysis of policies

The country information related to the wider policy guiding inclusive education implementation was organized under four topics: 

  1. For what? / Why? – what are the guiding principles stated in educational policies orienting procedures and practices in education? 
  2. Who? – who constitutes the target group of inclusive education policies? 
  3. How? – how are the support systems organized for meeting additional needs of students and what are the educational measures available at schools to be implemented in cases of additional support needs? 
  4. Where? – in what contexts are those supports implemented. The grid of analysis also includes a section related to the requirements for the regular education, which drive the needs for professional development of teachers towards the acquisition of knowledge and skills for implementing inclusive education policies.

Latvia - Inclusive education policies

For what? High quality inclusive education for personal development, well-being and sustainable national growth.

For whom? Groups at risk, with learners with special educational needs as the main target.

How? Schools have to organise special educational support, trough the planning and implementation of an individualized education plan.

Where? Special educational institutions and general education schools.

Requirements: Mainstream schools – teacher and assistant work together. The assistant also works individually with learners with special educational needs. Speech therapists work with children with speech problems.

Information retrieved from: 

  • “A student with special education needs in Latvian Educational Institutions – in theory and practice” (Rozenfelde, 2016)
  • Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers, 2018
  • Education Development Guidelines 2014-2020

Belgium - inclusive education policies

For what? 

  • Inclusive education as the first option. 
  • Right to reasonable accommodations, to enrol in a regular school. 
  • Modernized structure and role of special schools. 
  • Continuum of supports.

For whom? All learners. Learners with complex barriers can be referred to an interdisciplinary pupil guidance centre (CLB) for extra support.

How? Development of a vision for quality education and policy for a continuum of supports for all learners. Learners get reasonable acommodations and extra support. There are common and individually adapted curricula.

Where? Regular education and special education if the regular school is not sufficient to answer the learning needs.

Requirements: School internal support team works in collaboration with the CLB to determine the type of support needed. Teaching methods and curriculum can be individualized. There’s a strong collaboration with the whole school community.

Information retrieved from:

Portugal - inclusive education policies

For what? 

  • Inclusion to respond to a diversity of needs and capabilities. 
  • Participation in learning processes and educational community. 
  • Find ways to deal with differences, adjust teaching process and mobilize means.

For whom? Focus on resource mobilisation for special educational needs learners.

How? Teaching methods are based on the universal design for learning and on the multilevel approach (universal, selective and additional measures of support).

Where? The majority of students (99%) attend regular education and a minority (1%) (with complex needs) attend special schools.

Requirements: Each school has a multidisciplinary team to support inclusive education. There are Resource Centers for Inclusion and Information and Communication Technology Resource Centers to support learners, schools and parents.

Information retrieved from: Decree-Law no. 54/2018, 6th July

The Netherlands - inclusive education policies

For what? 

  • Inclusion in mainstream schools. 
  • Enable learners with special needs to attend mainstream classes, budget control for mainstream and special schools, and broadening and strenghtening special schools facilities.

For whom? Application of a specific funding for learners who need extra provisions to attend regular education.

How? In regular schools there are educational provisions for learners in need of extra guidance and support. There’s not an automatic referral of learners with special needs to special schools.

Where? Mainstream schools (with a budget for special facilities and support if necessary) and special schools (with four different categories in respect to children’s needs).

Requirements: There is a collaboration group between mainstream and special schools, the Partnership Group, that decides on the necessary support for learners. There are also special schools independent from this group. 

Information retrieved from:

  • Act on Primary Education
  • Expertise Centres Act (WEC)
  • Appropriate Education Act

United Kingdom - inclusive education policies

For whom? Special educational provisions for those with learning difficulties or disabilities. 

How? There are two broad levels of support for learners with special educational needs (special educational needs support and Education, Health and Care plans).

Where? There are separate education provision: maintained and non-maintained special schools, special academies, independent special schools, special post-19 institutions and specialist colleges.

Information retrieved from:

  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years
  • Special Educational Needs in England: January 2018
Inclusive education policies - synthesis table (English)
Inclusive education policies - synthesis table (Dutch)
Inclusive education policies - synthesis table (Portuguese)
Inclusive education policies - synthesis table (Latvian)

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