• Theme: Policies and practices
  • Media:Images - Text

How are European countries supporting teachers' professional learning for inclusion?

In the scope of the ProuD project, the policies adopted in the five partner countries concerning teachers’ professional learning for inclusion were analysed.

Latvia - Policies on Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion

Teacher qualification - requirements: There are two groups of programmes leading to higher pedagogical education and teacher qualification: academic (pedagogy followed by professional higher education study) and professional (first and second level professional higher education study programmes).

Performance profile of teachers at the end of initial training: Consists of four parts: pedagogy and psychology, content of specific subjects and methodology of teaching, pedagogical practice and development of the qualification thesis, and general education courses.

Knowledge, attitudes and skills: there is no standard curriculum of pedagogical sciences. However, all pedagogy students have to acquire knowledge in psychology, special pedagogy and medicine to integrate learners with special needs in mainstream schools.

Professional development: Professional development is compulsory for teachers at all education levels. There is no regulation on this, however, the Requirements for CPD focus on inclusive education contents. Curriculum includes development of general skills of pedagogues.

Strategies to increase schools’ capacities in supporting professional development: Local governments support school teams to provide educational opportunities to all children. School teams are supported in getting involved in long and short-term projects, organizing continuing education for teaching staff and pedagogical methodology work. 

Incentives for all teachers to engage in professional learning activities: There are two types of training for teachers: teachers can form the training of modules from different programmes or they can teach another subject or work in another education level. This gives them the right to teach without the higher pedagogical education. 

Information retrieved from: 

  • Requirements for CPD
  • Law on Local Governments, Chapter 2, paragraph 17, 1995–2013: likumi.lv/doc.php?id=57255

Belgium - Policies on Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion

Teacher qualification - requirements: Universities offer teacher education programmes at graduate and bachelor level for ECE, preschool, primary and secondary education. 

Performance profile of teachers at the end of initial training: Two sets of competence should be attained: a professional profile and basic competences. These include: design of powerful learning environments, coping with diversity, communication and implementation of care broadening initiatives. 

Knowledge, attitudes and skills: Domain of inclusive education topics. Domain of specific competences, such as: dealing with learners with behavioral and learning problems, dealing with giftedness and dealing with diversity.

Professional development: Schools and teachers are responsible for their own professional development, according to their own needs. Priority topics for inservice training programmes are set by the government, who also finances them.

Strategies to increase schools’ capacities in supporting professional development: Each school develops an annual professional development plan. Strategies: regular professional dialogue and reflection on learning and teaching; Stimulation of internal and external sharing; encouraging of professional development initiatives; school inspection; mentoring and counselling; and cyclical process of quality assurance.

Government initiatives for professional development: There are pilot projects aimed at streghtening teacher training in three areas: professional knowledge and didactics, flexible training programmes and diversity. There are also free seminars on several topics. The government also subsidizes a free magazine with materials often used in professional development programmes.

Incentives for all teachers to engage in professional learning activities: Some diplomas of Advanced Bachelor programmes give school staff a wage supplement. All schools get a budget to pay for teacher training. Every school has an amount of school days per year which have to be dedicated to training. 

Information retrieved from:

  • Policy Paper Education 2019-2024
  • The reference framework for educational quality
  • “Pilot projects to strengthen teacher training” (Sep2021-August 2023)  

Portugal - Policies on Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion

Teacher qualification - requirements: All teachers whether they work in public, private or cooperative establishments need to have a Master’s degree to access the profession.

Performance profile of teachers at the end of initial training: Includes two components: professional and ethics (development of learners’ autonomy and full inclusion) and development of teaching and learning (meaningful learning concerning the objectives of the curriculum, developing core competencies).

Knowledge, attitudes and skills: Generic and introductory approach to inclusion related issues, understanding and supporting all learners and families. In a great part of inclusion units, these subjects are optional. 

Professional development: Teachers are encouraged to do some regular training. Priorities to professional development: promotion of school success, basic and secondary education curriculum, the guiding principles conception, operationalization and assessment of learning.

Strategies to increase schools’ capacities in supporting professional development: There’s no specific mechanism to engage teachers in professional development. There are monitoring mechanisms to evaluate schools’ inclusive practices: self-assessment processes of schools (to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability) and external evaluation of schools (to support capacity building, self-evaluation and participation of the community and to evaluate inclusive practices).

Government initiatives for professional development: There have been several training sessions for inclusive education school leadership teams and online courses on inclusive education. 

Incentives for all teachers to engage in professional learning activities: Inservice training can be implemented by higher education institutions, school clusters in training centres, training centres of scientific or professional associations and by central or local administration centres. These are accredited and allow progress in teaching careers.

Information retrieved from:

  • Decree-Law no. 79/2014
  • Decree-Law no. 240/2001
  • Decree-Law 22/2014
  • Dispatch No. 778/2019
  • Decree-Law No. 55/2018, 6 July
  • Decree-Law No. 54/2018
  • Law 31/2002, 20 December
  • European Agency, Country Policy Review and Analysis, Portugal, p. 29

Netherlands - Policies on Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion

Teacher qualification - requirements: Involves four years of teacher training. Primary school teachers qualify in higher education institutions; secondary school teachers have two forms of qualification (lower secondary and full qualification).

Performance profile of teachers at the end of initial training: Allignement with standards of competence as in the Education Professions Act - basic knowledge and skills linked to teachers’ four roles: interpersonal, pedagogical, organizational and expert role in subject matter and teaching methods.

Knowledge, attitudes and skills: It is comprised of an introduction to teaching learners with special needs and an optional course in special educational needs. It is intended to focus more on effectively supporting students with additional support needs in mainstream schools and to better use research-informed ways of teaching.

Professional development: School boards have to employ competent staff and enable their competences’ improvement. Teacher professionalization is supported by a national programme, which has the aim to prepare all teachers to adapt lessons to learners’ needs.

Strategies to increase schools’ capacities in supporting professional development: There’s freedom to decide how to reach attainment targets. There’s no standard curriculum for all schools. Higher Education Institutes have developed a set of requirements for curricula development. Primary and secondary schools are inspected to evaluate how they adapt teaching to individual needs of learners, in mainstream and special schools. Schools decide the professional development that is needed.

Government initiatives for professional development: Government may provide extra financial initiatives for continuing professional development, may advice to take into account current policies for inclusive education. 

Incentives for all teachers to engage in professional learning activities: Each school receives a sum of money for each employed teacher, which each school decides how to spend. High Education Institutes and private companies offer several training opportunities. Clusters of schools also develop training programmes. 

Information retrieved from:

  • Education Professions Act

United Kingdom - Policies on Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion

Teacher qualification - requirements: Academic qualification and professional accreditation of Qualified Teacher Status and passing an induction period. There are several routes for teacher initial training, having to meet the Teachers’ Standards (teaching and personal and professional conduct).

Performance profile of teachers at the end of initial training: Aligned with Teachers’ Standards, a teacher must: set high expectations, promote students’ good progress and outcomes, demonstrate subject and curriculum knowledge, plan and teach structure lessons, adapt teaching, make accurate and productive use of assessment and manage behaviour effectively.

Knowledge, attitudes and skills: There is no prescribed curriculum. However, initial teacher training must enable trainees to demonstrate meeting the Teachers’ Standards. It was recommended the development of a framework of core content, including content on Special Educational needs and disabilities. 

Professional development: The professional development needs are determined by each teacher, in the context of performance management and the school development plan.

Strategies to increase schools’ capacities in supporting professional development: Teacher recruitment and retention strategy has several priorities: help leaders to create supportive school structures, support teachers at their early career stages, and ensure teaching remains attractive. 

Government initiatives for professional development: There are materials published on a government online portal.  These materials are related to: autism spectrum disorders; dyslexia/specific learning difficulties; speech language and communication difficulties; behavioural, emotional and social difficulties; and moderate learning difficulties.

Incentives for all teachers to engage in professional learning activities: There are mandatory qualifications for teachers working as special educational needs coordinators. Teachers may undertake Masters level academic study focusing on inclusive practice. Fees can be paid by the government if the whole Masters is completed.

Information retrieved from:

  • Teachers’ Standards
  • Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training  
  • Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy
  • Early Career Framework, 2021  
Policies on Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion - synthesis table

Related Materials:

What do you focus on to improve your attitudes, knowledge and skills for an inclusive pedagogy? The self-refective tool assists you as an educational professional to think about your own practice.…

  • Thema Thema:
  • Duurtijd Duurtijd: 0- 0min
  • Media Media:

What do you focus on to improve attitudes, knowledge and skills for an inclusive pedagogy that teaches all learners? How do you ask local partners and policy makers to support this process? A thre…

  • Thema Thema:
  • Duurtijd Duurtijd: 0- 0min
  • Media Media:

How are European countries responding to inclusive education? For what, for whom, how and where are educational supports being implemented? An analysis of the inclusive education policies from par…

  • Thema Thema:
  • Duurtijd Duurtijd: 0- 0min
  • Media Media: