Better mainstreaming for pupils with special needs

Summary

Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, Flemish schools can only refer a pupil to the special education system (BuO) if they can demonstrate that they made adequate efforts to mainstream the pupil into normal classes

New decree aims to keep more special needs students in regular education system

Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, Flemish schools can only refer a pupil to the special education system (BuO) if they can demonstrate that they made adequate efforts to mainstream the pupil into normal classes. That is the result of a new decree approved by the government last week.

Buitengewoon onderwijs, or special education, is for pupils who are mentally disabled or who have learning or behavioural disorders. However, many pupils in special education today could study in the regular education system if they receive the proper assistance. The new measure demands that schools provide “reasonable adjustments”, like software for students with dyslexia. If schools think it is unfeasible to keep the student with the rest of the class, they must provide an extensive explanation as to why. A team of 109 pedagogical experts are on hand to assist the schools in mainstreaming students.

 

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.
1

million school-going children in 2013

30

million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013

11

percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma