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Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

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Overview Poland

Contents

Poland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Poland:Historical Development

Poland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Poland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Poland:Political and Economic Situation

Poland:Organisation and Governance

Poland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Poland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Poland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Poland:Organisation of Private Education

Poland:National Qualifications Framework

Poland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Poland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Poland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Poland:Funding in Education

Poland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Poland:Higher Education Funding

Poland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Poland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Primary Education

Poland:Organisation of Primary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Poland:Assessment in Primary Education

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Poland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Higher Education

Poland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Poland:First Cycle Programmes

Poland:Bachelor

Poland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Poland:Second Cycle Programmes

Poland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Poland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Poland:Adult Education and Training

Poland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Poland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Poland:Main Providers

Poland:Main Types of Provision

Poland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Poland:Teachers and Education Staff

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Management and Other Education Staff

Poland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Poland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Quality Assurance

Poland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Educational Support and Guidance

Poland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Poland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Poland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Poland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Mobility in Higher Education

Poland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Poland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Poland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:National Reforms in School Education

Poland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Poland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Poland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Poland:European Perspective

Poland:Legislation

Poland:Institutions

Poland:Glossary

Geographical accessibility

The main dividing line between areas of good and poor pre-school education accessibility has run so far between urban areas and big cities on the one hand and rural, sparsely populated areas on the other hand. Nursery schools and schools cannot be established in some sparsely populated areas due to low numbers of children. Thus, demographic and geographical factors have had significant influence on access to individual levels of education, including pre-school education. At the same time, communes have very rarely chosen to establish and operate preschool education units or centres, as one of the options available, as close to the child’s place of residence as possible.

Pursuant to the School Education Act, if the distance between the child's home and the school or nursery school exceeds 3 km in the case of 5- and 6-year olds, the commune (gmina) is obliged to provide free transport to the nursery school or school with pre-school classes.

In the school year 2015/2016, the overall rate of participation in pre-school education was 70.5% for children aged 3, with 81.9% % in urban areas and 54.8% in rural areas, and 83.9% for children aged 4, with 90.7% in urban areas and 74.5% in rural areas.. For children aged 5, the overall rate was 100%, with 102.8% in urban areas and 96.9% in rural areas. The rate for urban areas exceeded 100% as in many cases parents of children living in rural areas enrolled them in nursery schools in towns or cities where they worked. In the school year 2015/2016, pre-school education institutions were attended by 21.0% of 6-year-olds, including 20.5% in urban areas and 21.6% in rural areas. The remaining 6-year-old children already started their compulsory education in the first grade of primary schools. (Data from the School Education Information System (SIO))

The issue of no access to preschool education is gradually being resolved. In many cases, admission to a specific nursery school poses a problem, as indicated by the admission process in nursery schools at the beginning of 2015. Despite earlier concerns, places were still available in nursery schools in many communes. This results mainly from the expansion of the preschool education infrastructure.

Moreover, as compared to 2013, the number of children participating in preschool education decreased by ca 60,000 in 2014, with the participation rate in preschool education for 3- to 5-year-olds increasing simultaneously by more than 5 percentage points.

The difference between 2015 and 2014 is even more significant: the number of children in preschool education decreased by nearly 96,000 again. At the same time, the participation rate in preschool education for 3- to 5-year-olds increased by nearly 5 percentage points. This reflects demographic trends, i.e. declining populations in successive cohorts, and the creation of new places for preschool education.

In the school year 2015/2016, the overall rate of participation in preschool education for children aged 3 to 5 was 84.2%, with 91.0% in urban areas and 75.9% in rural areas.

The 2015 amendments to the School Education Act reestablished the responsibility of heads of regional education authorities (REA) (kurator oświaty) for overseeing activities of local government units with regard to the network of schools and nursery schools.

The council of a commune may determine the network of public nursery schools, preschool classes in primary schools and other types of preschool education settings upon receiving a positive opinion from the head of REA. The head of REA assesses whether the network designed provides places for all children concerned who live in a given commune to participate in one-year preparatory pre-school education, and for 5-, 4-year-old and – as from 1 September 2017 – also 3-year-old children to participate in preschool education.

As from September 2017, a place in a preschool education institution will be provided to each child aged 3 to 6 years.

Admission requirements and choice of ECEC institution

Children are enrolled in public nursery schools (przedszkola) on the basis of provisions of the School Education Act (amendment of 2013, in force as of 18 January 2014). Decisions are taken by parents who, in most cases, choose institutions within the area of their commune (gmina). The age of a child is the main criterion: children must have reached 3 years of age. In special cases, younger children of 2.5 years of age may be enrolled upon the consent of the head of a nursery school (change introduced by an amendment to the School Education Act in 2003).

The amendment to the School Education Act provides that the procedure of admission to public nursery schools is initiated at the parents’ request submitted to the head of a chosen institution (the request can be submitted to a maximum of 3 nursery schools). In nursery schools which are particularly attractive for parents, if the demand exceeds the number of places available, an admission procedure includes up to 3 stages, depending on the needs.

At the first admission stage, the nursery school admits children living within the jurisdiction of a given commune who are required to participate in pre-school education, i.e. 5-year old children, and 4-year old children and – as from 1 September 2017 – also 3-year old children who will have a statutory right to preschool education. When the number of children from the commune exceeds the number of places available, at the second admission stage the nursery school takes into account criteria laid down by national legislation (for the first group) which concern a difficult family situation or health problems of a child (statutory criteria of the same weight). Finally, when the number of children in a difficult situation is still higher than the number of places available, at the third (final) admission stage the nursery school takes into account criteria defined by the commune (for the second group) which refer to the needs of the family and local community or, where necessary, a financial criterion. (These are local criteria, defined by the commune, and their number cannot exceed six. A fixed number of points is assigned to each of them.)

Public nursery schools which still have places available upon admitting all children from a given commune are allowed to admit children from other communes, at their parents’ request. Where necessary, for applicants from outside the commune, they may apply admission criteria referring, first of all, to a difficult family situation or health problems of a child, and then to the needs of the family and local community and, where appropriate, a financial criterion.

Pursuant to the 2013 amendments to the School Education Act, where the commune does not provide places to all children who are obliged or have the right to participate in preschool education, it is required to organise an open competition for non-public nursery schools (and, subsequently, other non-public preschool education providers). A non-public nursery school selected through a competition receives a grant from the budget of the commune which is equal to 100% of current expenditure per pupil in public nursery schools managed by the commune, and on this basis charges fees and provides free-of-charge education and care of the same duration as nursery schools managed by the commune, etc.

Other non-public nursery schools apply their own criteria for the admission of children.

Age levels and grouping of children

The age criterion is most often used to group children. Most nursery schools are divided into three grades (classes for 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds). A combination of different age-groups is also possible when other criteria are taken into consideration: children's needs, interests and abilities in mainstream nursery schools, and the extent and type of disability in special nursery schools.

It is also possible to group children of different ages (a so-called ‘family group’) for educational reasons to promote individual development. In rural areas, mixed age groups are also created for demographic reasons (a small number of children); nursery schools in rural areas have on average two grades (5-year olds and other children) or one class only.

The number of children in one class/group cannot exceed 25, except in integration and special nursery schools and special pre-school classes where the limits are lower. The number of children ranges from 15 to 20, including 3-5 disabled children, in integration nursery schools and classes, and between 6 and 16 in special nursery schools or pre-school classes, depending on the type of disability. Classes in pre-school education units and centres are provided in groups of 3 to 25 children.

As a rule, two teachers working in shifts supervise one class (the first one until 12 a.m., and the second one from 12 a.m). They can either work with one age group or accompany children during the entire four-year period in a nursery school (depending on the organization, traditions and the head's decision).

Integration nursery schools and mainstream nursery schools with integration classes additionally employ additional teachers who have been trained in special education, as well as specialists in rehabilitation.

For 6-year old children who, due to their health problems, are entitled to follow an individualised learning programme at home on the basis of a certificate from a counselling and guidance centre, home-based classes are provided for 4 to 6 hours or more per week. Such classes are taught on the basis of the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 9 September 2014 on the procedures for providing individualised one-year compulsory pre-school preparatory classes and individual tuition for children and youth.

Individualised one-year pre-school preparation is organized in the form of activities conducted by one or more teachers in direct contact with the pupil. The activities are carried out in the child’s place of residence, in particular at home or in an education and care institution, or in the nursery school if the child’s health permits.

Moreover, at the parents’ request, the head of a public or non-public nursery school to which the child has been admitted may take a decision allowing the child to follow the one-year pre-school preparation outside of a nursery school, a preschool class or another preschool education setting. This is commonly referred to as ‘at-home education’.

Such a permission may be granted if the request is accompanied by:

  1. a certificate from a counselling and guidance centre;
  2. a statement from the parents that conditions are provided for the child to follow the core curriculum for preschool education.

Organisation of time

The core curriculum recommends the following timetable for pre-school education and care in pre-school institutions: one fifth of the total time should be devoted to play, one fifth to outdoor activities, one fifth to educational activities, and the remaining two fifths should be devoted by teachers to care and organisational matters.

The organisation of time in pre-school institutions is regulated in the form of a timetable established by the nursery school head, taking into consideration parents' expectations. In general, classes are organised in such a way as to enable children to spend some of the play time in the garden every day. The teacher in charge of a given class prepares a detailed timetable for his/her group on the basis of the general timetable, taking into consideration the needs and interests of children.

Nursery schools are open throughout the school year, except for breaks established by the managing body at the request of nursery school head who takes into consideration parents' needs. Pre-school classes in primary schools are also open throughout the school year, except for breaks established by the school managing body. As mentioned earlier, other preschool education settings include pre-school education units and centres. Classes in pre-school education units take place on some of the weekdays throughout the school year, and classes in pre-school centres are offered on all weekdays throughout the school year, except for breaks established by the school managing body.

Organization of the day and week

The minimum working time for nursery schools and pre-school classes in primary schools is 5 hours a day. Most nursery schools work around 9 hours a day and are open 5 days a week. During the day children participate in activities organised or proposed by the teacher and engage in play activities in the classroom or in the garden. The duration of structured activities depends on the age of children: around 30 minutes for 5- and 6-year olds, and around 15 minutes for younger children, i.e. 3-to 4-year olds.

As mentioned above, classes in pre-school education units take place on some days of the week, and classes in pre-school education centres are offered every day. The minimum working time for these two types of alternative pre-school education settings is 3 hours per day and 12 hours per week. This depends on the number of children participating in preschool education in such settings (the larger is the number of children, with the maximum being 25, the higher is the weekly number of hours.) According to the above-mentioned regulation, the body managing a given unit or centre adopts organisational arrangements, in particular ensuring healthy and safe conditions for educational activities.