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Belgium-Flemish-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

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Overview Belgium (Flemish Community)

Contents

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and learning in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-Flemish-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Legislation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Glossary

 

In Flanders, as well as mainstream education at the level of elementary and secondary education, special education is provided in separate schools for pupils with disabilities. These have around 50.000 pupils, compared with 1.1 million in mainstream education. The share of pupils in compulsory education who attend a school in special education reaches 5,5%.

From within special education, support is given to mainstream education in the context of integrated education and inclusive education for type 2 pupils. [See 12.1]. It concerns about 15.000 children or 1,1% of pupils in compulsory education.

The equal educational opportunities policy also applies to special education. [See 12.2.2].

Definition of the Target Group(s)

Under the current special-education system, pupils suffering from a disability are divided into 8 education types, based on the nature and degree of the (main) disability within a certain group. This typology is used as the basis on which special education is organised (see 10.6.).

  • Education-basic offer: children whose special educaitonal needs are significant and for who it is evident that the adaptations (a.o. remedial, differentiation, compensation and exemption measures), are disproportional or unsufficient in order to include the pupil in a common curriculum in a mainstream school;
  • Education-type 2: children with a mental disability;
  • Education-type 3: children with an emotional or behavioural disorder;
  • Education-type 4: children with a motor disability;
  • Education-type 5: children admitted to hospitals, residential settings or who are residing in a preventorium;
  • Education-type 6: children who are visually impaired;
  • Education-type 7: children who are aurally impaired or who have a speech or language defect;
  • Education-type 9: children with an autism spectrum disorder who do not have a mental disability.

With the exception of education-types 2 & 5, all pupils of all education types can, subject to a number of conditions, receive support in mainstream education within the framework of integrated education (see GON, integrated education 12.1).

With support, a limited number of pupils suffering from a moderate or severe intellectual disability (with a registration report for education type 2) can be catered for in mainstream primary and secondary education within the framework of Inclusive Education (ION) (see 12.1).

Within secondary education, four education forms are organised which can group pupils of the various education types, according to the final goal, and taking account of the nature and degree of their disability.

Education form (EF)

Goal

Eligible certificate type

EF 1

Aimed at functioning and participating in society in an environment where support is provided, and, if the occassion arises, at employment participation in an environment where support is provided.

type 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 or 9

EF 2

Aimed at functioning and participating in society in an environment where support is provided, and at employment in a working environment where support is provided.

type 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 or 9

EF 3

Aimed at functioning and participating in society and at employment in the regular working environment.

type basis offer, 3, 4, 6, 7 or 9

EF 4

Aimed at functioning and participating in society, whether in an environment where support is provided or not, and at starting, in the context of the common curriculum, of further education or at employment in the regular working environment, whether in an environment where support is provided or not.

type 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 9

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

Age condition

Infants must be at least 2.5 years of age before they can attend special nursery education. The entry dates prevailing in mainstream nursery education (see 4.6.) do not apply to special nursery education (Circular letter BaO/2007/02). Children may be registered in special nursery education until they are 6 years old, or exceptionally until the age of 7 if this is deemed to be in the child's best interest.

In special primary education, pupils must normally have turned 6 years of age before 1 January of the school year in question before they can be registered, but in certain cases also pupils who turn 5 years of age can be accepted. This decision is left to the parents who must make up their mind based on the well-reasoned advice and the information from the class council and the CPG. In principle, special primary education spans 7 years. However, parents may decide that their child should remain in special primary education up to and including the school year which commences the year the pupil turns 14 years of age.

The minimum age to enter special secondary education is 13 years and the maximum age is 21. Derogations on the age limit of 21 may be granted upon advice from the class committee.

Registration

Pupils who wish to register at a school for special education need to be in possession of a registration record consisting of two parts:

  • an attest (certificate) containing information on the education type and/or the education form and the level of education the child must follow;
  • a justification protocol in which the record that had been issued on the basis of a multidisciplinary examination is substantiated.

This particular certificate and the justification protocol are drawn up by a Pupil Guidance Centre (CPG). Both documents are provided to the parents in order to enrol their child in a school for special education. For types 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9, a medical or multidisciplinary examination must also be conducted by a medical specialist.

For pupils attending type 5 education a certificate drawn up by the school head is required. A protocol is not needed.

Equal educational opportunities in connection with enrolment

Since the introduction of the regulations on equal educational opportunities, a school may no longer refuse to register pupils with a valid certificate for a type and form of education offered by the school on the grounds that the school is focusing on a specific target group within that type and form of education. Also in special elementary education a school may refuse a pupil on the basis of the capacity of the school (i.e. if it is physically fully occupied), location, educational form, type, structural component, combination of two or more structural components or the pedagogical unit. Since 1 September 2012, a new system of registration rules has been in force for compulsory education [See 2.1.2 choice of school: rights and obligations].

Geographical accessibility

Special education is usually organised in schools that are separate from mainstream schools; however, they are sometimes linked with other social and educational institutions for disabled people (semi-boarding schools and boarding schools of the Flemish Agency for Disabled People or of GO!).

The special-education provision is not evenly spread across elementary education or secondary education. This is particularly the case for elementary education, education-types 3 (emotional, social behaviour), 4 (motor disabilities), 6 (the visually-impaired) and 7 (the aurally-impaired) and for education forms 1 (integration in a protected living environment) & 4 (preparation for higher education or employment in the ordinary working environment) within secondary education. The parliamentary act on pupils with special educational needs provides a planning procedure. This is meant to regulate the landscape of special education. An example is the planning of the new type 9 which is linked to the completion of an application, advice and decision fase before a new programme may be offered. The procedure is applicable for all types and forms.

The Department for Education and Training decides which pupils qualify for pupil transport. However, the organisation of pupil transport is left to the Flemish transport company De Lijn, an autonomous public corporation. Pupil transport is organised in a cross-network fashion. The unequal distribution of special-education schools means that pupils often spend ages on the bus travelling from home to school and back. To spare their children these daily and lengthy runs under the school-transport system, parents of children attending special education sometimes choose to send their children boarding instead, or, alternatively, the BuO-attest (BuO certificate) issued to some pupils may specify an education type which is available within the pupil's wider environment.

The current regulations provide for pupil transport to the school of the parents' network of choice that offers the education type or education form specified on their child's BuO certificate which is located closest to their home. The freedom of choice of school in special education is certainly broader than in mainstream elementary education. Pupils can freely choose between private education, organised by one of the different religions, community education or official education (run by the municipalities, cities or provinces) or private non-confessional education. The notion of 'reasonable distance' does not apply to special education. All pupils who go to the nearest school in their network of choice are eligible. Transport for eligible pupils is free.

http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/leerlingenvervoer/

WeTwijs - leerlingenvervoer

Begeleidinstraject

In 2007 a manual was distributed among employees of the Pupil Guidance Centres and in schools concerning a new methodology for the guidance of pupils with special educational needs. This methodology is strongly action oriented and involves the school, the PGC, the parents and the pupils in the drafting of a guidance pathway. In the mean time the sector of the Pupil Guidance Centres have, together with the representative organisations of the school organising bodies and the community education, developed action oriented diagnostic protocols. These are a source of inspiration for schools and centres to manage the guidance pathway of pupils in a qualitative way.

Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

Special education is organised at nursery, primary and secondary education level. In elementary education, pupils are classified into eight types on the basis of the nature and severity of the (main) disability of a certain group. At secondary education level, the types can be brought together in four education forms. The pupils are divided into pedagogical units.

The pedagogical unit can consist of pupils who belong either to the same or to different types, and who are temporarily or permanently grouped together with a view to the provision of care and education that is suited to their care needs. Depending on the care activity, subject or component thereof, pupils may be assigned to various different pedagogical units.

The classification of pupils in pedagogical units is a matter for the exclusive competence of the class councils, supported by the CPG. The criteria that are applied depend on the pedagogical choices of the school board, which has complete freedom of choice in the matter.

Curriculum, Subjects

Special secondary education in the four education forms is provided in thirty-two to thirty-six 50-minute teaching periods per week, spread over nine half-days.

Structure and organisation

The organisation varies depending on the education form.

Education form 1

In education form 1, the activities mainly focus on the development of self-reliance, communication possibilities, motor-sensory skills and social training for pupils in the living, working and leisure contexts. All learning and training activities relate to general and social training. EF 1 consists of a single phase of at least four grades.

Education form 2

Education form 2 comprises two phases of at least two grades each.

  • The 1st phase prioritises general and social education and also provides work-related training. At least fifteen teaching periods per week are reserved for general and social education.
  • The 2nd phase prioritises work-related training. At least nine teaching periods per week are reserved for general and social education.

Education form 3

Education form 3 comprises four phases, including an optional integration phase. In EF3 a minimum timetable for all schools applies, with a total of 32 hours (38 hours for the integration phase).

  • The observation phase in principle lasts one school year; as well as general and social education (at least 14 hours), pupils also receive vocational education (at least 16 hours);
  • the education phase lasts at least two complete school years; at least 10 hours of general and social education, 13 hours of vocational training;
  • the qualification phase lasts in principle two complete school years; at least 10 hours of general and social education, 19 hours of vocational training and a work placement experience within the vocational training.
  • the optional integration phase lasts one school year in the form of vocational alternance training; at least 14 hours of general and social education and 24 hours of work experience. 

This final phase may also take place in the form of an alternance vocational training programme (ABO). This initiative receives financial support from the European Social Fund. The integration phase/ ABO is accessible to pupils who have obtained a certificate for the programme in the qualification phase. If they only have a certificate of prior learning or an attestation of prior learning, the class council decides about the pupils' admission. For pupils who are legally absent for a long period of time (and as a result have not successfully completed their first school year in ABO or the integration phase), the class council (if there are adequate grounds to do so), can allow a second school year to be taken in the integration phase or ABO.

In 2002, a new training structure was introduced offering 28 courses that were generally directly derived from professional profiles. Together with SERV and the social partners, professional profiles for all socially-relevant professions were drawn up. On the basis of these profiles, competences, required knowledge and key skills were defined for anyone embarking on a vocational career. This means that the programmes offered within education form OV3, fit into an overall training structure, though retain the specificity of special education. The specificity of special educaiton implies that the course provision can be tailored to individual pupils, based on their individual educational plan. Henceforth, courses of study bearing the same name have the exact same content, regardless of the education form in which they are offered. This is essential if OV3 wishes to remain compatible with labour-market needs and realise its final objective. As a result, there are OV3 courses at assistant level.

During the objectives stage of the individual educational plan, the class council selects a number of pupil-specific developmental objectives that should be pursued over a period of one school year maximum. This applies to both vocationally-oriented and general and social education. The contents of the courses of study offered within special education, were, in terms of general and social education, ASV, defined in the list of developmental objectives.

For the vocationally-oriented section of OV3, the training profiles are indicative of the contents of the curriculum. These training profiles contain the competences pupils must acquire before they can obtain a certificate of a particular training course or a certificate of a complete training unit which leads to employability on the labour market (Decision of the Flemish Government concerning the organisation of special secondary education, education-form 3, of 6 December 2002).

Education form 4

In education form 4, the timetables are exactly the same as those in corresponding mainstream schools, as this education form is required to have a structure identical to that of secondary education.

Circular SO/2011/03/BuSO on the structure and organisation of special secondary education

Developmental objectives

School teams may select developmental objectives from:

  • the developmental objectives which have been defined for a particular educational type or a particular education form;
  • the final objectives or developmental objectives of mainstream Elementary education or mainstream secondary education;
  • the developmental objectives specified for other education types.

have been classified into areas of learning. These areas of learning are largely the same as those in mainstream ElE, elementary education (see 5.2.1). To respond to the specificity of the target group, certain areas of learning have been developed more elaborately or differently. For certain areas of learning in some education types the final objectives for mainstream elementary education have been adopted as developmental objectives. The objectives selected are defined in the individual educational plan. http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/dvo/buitengewoon/buitengewoon_basis/index.htm

For special secondary education, developmental objectives have been defined for:

  • education-forms 1 and 2 - for these forms, a decision with developmental objectives and corresponding vision text have been approved by the Flemish Government. As yet there is no legislative basis for the developmental objectives;
  • education-form 3 - general and social education;
  • education-form 4 - here the same final objectives, developmental objectives, specific final objectives and recognised vocational qualifications apply as those in the corresponding level of mainstream secondary education;

For the regulations on final objectives and developmental objectives: see WeTwijs – final objectives

Social training and the work experience placement

One of the measures designed to bring education closer to the business world is social training and the work experience placement. This varies depending on the education form.

Social training is out-of-school training aimed at enabling the pupil to gain experience with a view to meaningful daytime activities, accompanied working, voluntary work, etc., but is not intended to enable the pupil to acquire professional experience with a view to subsequent paid work. Thus social training does not fall under the heading of work experience placements as referred to in the royal decision on the protection of those on work placement experiences. The social training may take place in institutions that are recognised (or are in the recognition phase) for the intake of disabled adults who do not perform production-oriented work there (e.g. a day centre, an activity home, etc.).

The goal of the work experience placement is to gain out-of-school professional experience oriented towards paid work in a professional context that satisfies each of the five criteria of the royal decision on the protection of work experience trainees: ‘any pupil or student who, as part of a curriculum organised by an educational institution, actually does work for an employer, in similar circumstances to those of the employees working for the employer, with a view to acquiring professional experience.’ Throughout the work experience placement the pupil-trainee has a twofold status; he/she is both pupil and equated to an employee in accordance with the concept of work experience placement or trainee as referred to in the royal decree mentioned above. [See work experience placements for pupils 6.2.2].

Circular SO/2002/11 (BuSO)

Education form 1

For pupils who are 16 or will turn 16 during the school year, a social training or work experience placement of up to 30 days can be organised. For individual pupils, this duration can be lengthened (by 20 days), subject to the discussion in the class council. On the basis of the individual educational plan, the class council may also wait for a later moment (e.g. until the age of 18) for the pupil to start the work experience placement.

The placement may take place in a social workshop or sheltered workshop, or in the normal working world. The social training takes place in an institution that is recognised for the admission of adults with a disability, or may also take the form of accompanied work or voluntary work.

Education form 2

  • In phase 1, work experience placements are forbidden.
  • In phase 2, work experience placements are possible. They must be open to all pupils (see below on qualification phase 3 in OV3). The length of the placement is limited to 30 working days per school year.

The placement institution must be a sheltered workshop or any other company that gives the pupil activities which are appropriate in light of his/her disability and offers him/her the necessary protection and support. Also an apprenticeship in supported employment is possible in education form 2, but only when another form of apprenticeship is simultaneously organised for the pupil in question.

Education form 3

  • In phase 1 (observation) and phase 2 (programming), work experience placements are forbidden.
  • In phase 3 (qualification), work experience placements are compulsory. The work experience placement must be open to all pupils on a zero-discrimination basis. With the exception of the final year, the length is between 5 and 15 working days per school year; in the final year it is between 10 and 30 working days per school year.

The company must have the facilities to ensure that the pupils can mainly carry out activities there that are directly related to the programme being followed. It may not be a sheltered workshop or day centre. An apprenticeship in a sheltered workshop is possible in education form 3, but only when another form of apprenticeship is simultaneously organised for the pupil in question.

Education form 4

No special regulations are provided here, and the work experience placement runs in almost exactly the same way as in mainstream secondary education. Pupils enter the labour market just like any other pupil. However, larger companies are legally obliged to take on at least a few disabled people (depending on the number of employees in the company). For example, people with a visual disability are given work as telephonists.

Extending the length of work experience placement and social training

In OV1, the final year of OV2 and the final year of the qualification phase of OV3, the length of the placement can be extended for individual pupils up to a maximum of 60 working days per school year, in order to make the subsequent transfer to a residential and/or work situation possible. The duration of the social training can also be extended to up to 60 working days. In the first year of the qualification phase of OV3, it can be extended to up to 30 working days per school year for individual pupils on an extended programme based on an individual educational plan. All extensions should always be made on the basis of a decision, with reasons stated, by the class council, and should be reported to the educational inspectorate.

In social training, the class council may submit requests to the educational inspectorate, with reasons stated, for extensions for individual pupils beyond this maximum of 60 working days per school year.

Alternating work experience and learning in education form 2

In OV2, a pupil during the final year of the 2nd phase may, on the basis of an individual educational plan, after the decision of the class council, and if possible in consultation with the parents and the pupil, alternate between a work experience placement and learning at school on a weekly basis.

On-the-job learning

In 2012, new explanatory guidelines were drawn up by the Department of Education and Training and FPS EWSD on on-the-job learning in special secondary education (apart from OV4, which falls within the scope of the guidelines on mainstream full-time secondary education).

On-the-job learning can be defined as 'learning activities aiming at the acquisition of general and/or vocational competencies, in which the work situation is the learning environment'. A distinction is made between two possible forms:

1/ Observation activities in which pupils, individually or in a group, follow the working process without actually taking part in working activities. This can be regarded as an extramural activity.

2/ Work experience placements in which pupils, individually or in a group and in some cases accompanied by the teacher, in the framework of a learning programme organised by an educational institution, actually work for an employer, under similar conditions to the employees working for that employer, with a view to gaining professional experience. Work experience placements can be organised either on an alternance basis or as a block. Pupils fall in these circumstances under the definition of a trainee (Royal Decision 21 September 2004) and are regarded for employment legislation purposes as equivalent to an employee. Forms of on-the-job learning in which the teacher gives some of the practical classes by having pupils take part in the work process must therefore be regarded as work experience placements (for example, this would apply to out-of-school work practice).

A slightly separate form of work is practical classes in another educational institution. These classes should not be regarded as on-the-job learning, because they do not take place in an operational working setting. In this form of work, schools use the premises and in some cases the instructors of another educational institution to give practical classes. One familiar form of this is the 72-hour scheme at the VDAB.

Teaching Methods and Materials

Teaching methods are highly individualised in special education. An action plan needs to be devised for each child. Decisions about teaching methods and materials are left to the school boards.

The individual educational plan contains the developmental objectives, how the multi-disciplinary teamwork should evolve and how social, psychological, orthopedagogical, medical and paramedical assistance can be integrated into the pupil's upbringing and education. This individual educational plan is drawn up by the class council, in consultation with the CPG and, if possible, also in conjunction with the parents.

The individual educational plan is the result of a cyclic, individual educational planning process, in which first of all the initial situation (including the pupil's educational and training needs) is defined, developmental objectives are selected, their realisation is prepared and the planning and strategy is implemented before the entire process is evaluated. Aside from process evaluation, an assessment of the pupil's progress is carried out to asses whether or not the developmental objectives pursued are achieved. This evaluation then forms the starting point for the new initial phase of the next planning period. (Decree of 18 January 2002).

Progression of Pupils

Assessment and guidance of pupils are strongly interwoven. In special education assessments play a largely formative role.

Class councils, assisted by the pupil guidance centre ( CPG), decide on class composition, whether a certain pupil must remain in a particular pupil group and whether pupils progress to different classes or to a certain educational type or education form.

Depending on whether or not the education is organised in a way that cuts across grade and class distinctions, the composition of the class council is determined as a function of a class or a pedagogical unit formed for one or more subjects and/or educational activities. The class council is composed of members of the teaching staff, the support staff, and the medical, special education, paramedical, psychological and social staff, who make arrangements for the instruction and educational activities for one or more pupils.

Certification

In certain cases, pupils in special elementary education can also be conferred a getuigschrift (certificate) which has the same value as a certificate obtained in mainstream Elementary education.

In special secondary education the following proofs of study can be obtained:

  • Education form 1: attest BuSO tot sociale aanpassing (social adaptation attestation of special secondary education)
  • Education-form 2: attest BuSO tot sociale aanpassing en arbeidsgeschiktmaking (social adaptation and employability attestation of special secondary education)
  • Education-form 3: the class council awards certificates after taking the advice of the qualification committee:
    • at the end of the qualification stage:
      • a getuigschrift van de opleiding (certificate of the training programme) (provided they successfully completed the training programme in question)
      • a getuigschrift van verworven competenties voor een afgerond geheel (certificate of acquired competences for an accomplished unit) within a training programme (if they successfully completed the unit in question)
      • an attest van verworven bekwaamheden (certificate of acquired competences)
    • for pupils who do not qualify for the above:
      • an attest van beroepsonderwijs (certificate of vocational secondary education)
    • following the (optional) integration stage (ABO, alternance vocational training – see 12.2.4):
      • successfully: a getuigschrift alternerende beroepsopleiding (certificate of alternating vocational training)
      • unsuccessfully or in the case of an early drop-out: attest alternerende beroepsopleiding (certificate of alternating vocational training)
      • (as well as all certificates and attestations from the qualification phase)
  • Education-form 4 (pupils can be integrated into mainstream education with support): certificates and diplomas just like in mainstream SO.

In education forms 3 and 4, parents or adult pupils may appeal against the decisions of the class council.