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

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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

Definition of the Target Group(s)

Special nursery schools are organised for disabled children:

  • with moderate and severe mental disabilities,
  • deaf,
  • with hearing impairment,
  • blind,
  • with visual impairment,
  • with physical disabilities, including aphasia,
  • with autism, including Asperger’s syndrome, and
  • with multiple disabilities.

Special schools are organised for children and young people holding a statement/certificate recommending special education:

  • disabled children and young people with mild, moderate and severe mental disabilities, deaf, with hearing impairment, blind, with visual impairment, with physical disabilities including aphasia, autism, including Asperger’s syndrome; with multiple disabilities;
  • socially maladjusted;
  • at risk of social maladjustment.

Mainstream nursery schools and schools may establish special classes for disabled children and young people holding a statement/certificate recommending special education. Intellectually disabled children are an exception as special classes are not created for them in nursery schools.

Special nursery schools and schools may provide rehabilitation and education classes for children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities.

The school education system also includes the following types of special institutions:

  • youth education centres - for socially maladjusted children and young people;
  • youth social therapy centres - for children and young people at risk of social maladjustment;
  • special education and care centres - for disabled children and young people;
  • special educational centres - for disabled children and young people at risk of social maladjustment and, as of 1 September 2016, only for disabled children;
  • centres where children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities and children and young people with intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities may follow one-year preschool preparatory classes, full-time or part-time compulsory education (referred to as rehabilitation and education centres).

Youth education centres, youth social therapy centres and special education and care centres are composed of at least one special school. Special nursery schools may also be part of special education and care centres. (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 2 November 2015 on the types of, and detailed operational rules for, public institutions, the conditions to be provided to children and youth in such institutions, and on the level of fees and the rules for charging fees from parents for children attending such institutions; Journal of Law, item 1872).

Special nursery schools and centres may create early development support teams for children.

Admission requirements and choice of school

Decisions relating to the education of children holding a statement/certificate recommending special education in special nursery schools, schools or centres are made by parents (legal guardians).

Statements/certificates recommending special education, issued by committees at public counselling and guidance centres, including public specialised centres, recommend the best forms of education for a given child.

The choice of a type of education (mainstream, integration or special) is, however, made by parents (legal guardians) who under the Constitution of the Republic of Poland have the sole responsibility to make decisions relating to their child, if a court of law has not limited it or deprived them of it.

If a child’s parent (legal guardian) chooses a special nursery school, school or a centre as the place where their child will receive special education, they should apply to the relevant local government unit to provide special education of a particular type in a given kind of institution.

As regards the establishment and management of public institutions:

  • public special nursery schools are established and administered by communes (gmina);
  • special schools of all types, special education and care school centres, special educational centres, youth social therapy centres, youth educational centres and rehabilitation centres are established and administered by districts (powiat).

If the district in the area where a child has their place of residence does not administer any special schools or centres suitable for a given type of disability, including a given degree of intellectual disability, the head of the district refers the child to the nearest district administering such schools or centres. The head of the nearest district where such schools or centres are located may not refuse to admit the child to a school or centre.

Parents may also choose for their children another special nursery school, special school or institution as a place of education, provided that children are admitted there. Consent of the relevant local government unit to provide special education is not required.

Children are provided with special education in:

  • special nursery schools,
  • special schools,
  • youth social therapy centres,
  • special education and care centres and
  • in special educational centres

on the basis of:

  • a statement/certificate recommending special education and
  • a written request from their parents (legal guardians).

There are separate procedures for admission to youth educational centres. These centres take only underage children/young people who have received a court order referring them to such a centre as an educational measure (Act of 26 October 1982 on Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings: Journal of Law No. 2016, item 1654, as subsequently amended)

Statements/certificates recommending special education are not required for admission to a youth educational centre but they should be submitted during an underage person ‘s stay to identify appropriate educational and therapeutic measures on the basis of a developmental needs assessment (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 December 2011 on detailed principles of the referrals, admissions, transfers, release and stay of juveniles in youth educational centres: Journal of Law 296, item 1755)

At the request of parents (legal guardians), rehabilitation centres take children and young people:

  • with severe intellectual disability who hold statements/certificates recommending rehabilitation and education classes;
  • with multiple disabilities, including mild, moderate and severe intellectual disability, who hold statements/certificates recommending special education.

The head of a special school or institution may decide to strike a student from the register in cases listed in the statutes of the school or institution. This is based on a decision made by the teachers’ council, following consultation with the student government. It does not apply to pupils in compulsory education. In duly justified cases, at the school head’s request, such students may be transferred to a different school by the head of the regional education authorities.

There are separate provisions for transfers of underage young people staying in youth educational centres.

A juvenile may be transferred to a different centre:

  • in cases duly justified by the effectiveness of the social rehabilitation or therapy process;
  • on the basis of an assessment of the juvenile’s further stay in the centre, carried out by teachers, class teachers and specialists working with the juvenile.

Age levels and grouping of pupils

Special schools offer the same stages of education as mainstream schools. Like in mainstream education, a special primary school is divided into two stages of education: the first one covering Grades 1 to 3 (early school education) and the second - Grades 4 to 6. The 3-year special lower secondary school is the third stage of education. The fourth stage is upper secondary education in: three-year general upper secondary schools, three-year vocational schools, four-year technical upper secondary schools, three-year special schools preparing for employment and post-secondary schools providing programmes of up to 2.5 years.

Three-year special schools preparing for employment, which lead to the award of a certificate confirming preparation for work, are intended for students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities and with multiple disabilities.

Education in special schools is based on structured activities in classes.

In the case of students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, the duration of classes and breaks should be adjusted to their abilities and needs.

Primary schools operating in particularly difficult demographic and geographic conditions may provide education in combined classes, including the grouping of preschool education classes for children taking compulsory one-year preparatory classes and classes conducted in Grade 1.

One class may include pupils/students of different age, because entry into primary education may be deferred by a year or, in the case of disabled children, by 1 or 2 years (if necessary) and the duration of their education may be extended by one year at each stage of education.

Pupils/students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities are admitted to classes mainly on the basis of their educational needs and psychological and physical abilities and, to a lesser extent, on the basis of their age and years of education.

The number of pupils/students in a special class at each stage of education should be between:

  • 10 and 16 in special classes for pupils/students with mild intellectual disabilities;
  • 6 and 8 in special classes for pupils/students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities;
  • 8 to 10 in special classes for blind and visually impaired pupils/students;
  • 6 to 8 in special classes for deaf and hearing impaired pupils/students;
  • 2 to 4 in special classes for autistic pupils/students including those with Asperger’ syndrome and students with multiple disabilities;
  • 8 to 12 in special classes for physically disabled pupils/students, including those with aphasia;
  • 10 to 16 in special classes for socially maladjusted pupils/students;
  • 10 to 16 in special classes for pupils/students at risk of social maladjustment.

If there is at least one pupil/student with multiple disabilities in a special class, the number of pupils/students in the class may be lowered by 2. In duly justified cases and following consent from the body managing the school, the number of pupils/students in a special class may be even smaller.

Rehabilitation and education classes for children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities can be provided from the beginning of the school year during the calendar year when the child reaches 3 years of age to the end of the school year during the calendar year when the participant reaches the age of 25.

Rehabilitation and education classes are provided individually or in a group (as recommended in the statement/certificate).

Group activities are provided in teams composed of 2-4 participants.

Teaching staff employed in special nursery schools, schools and centres should have appropriate qualifications to work with children and young people with a particular disability, and with those socially maladjusted or at risk of social maladjustment.

(Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 12 March 2009 on detailed qualifications required of teachers and the identification of schools and cases in which teachers who are not university graduates or graduates of teacher training institutions may be employed: Journal of Law 2015, No. 3, item 1264)

Special nursery schools and schools intended for pupils with certain types of disabilities specified in the legislation employ teaching assistants.

Special primary schools may also employ teachers’ assistants and assistants for after-school club tutors.

Curriculum, subjects

The core curriculum for special nursery schools is the same as for preschool education in mainstream and integration nursery schools and alternative preschool education settings.

Special schools for disabled pupils/students (excluding pupils/students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities), for those who are socially maladjusted or at risk of social maladjustment follow the same core curriculum for general education, and schools providing vocational education also the same core curriculum for vocational education, as in the corresponding types of mainstream and integration schools. Therefore, those pupils/students attend the same compulsory classes as their peers outside special education.

This does not apply to the following groups of pupils/students:

  • pupils/students with mild intellectual disabilities attending lower secondary schools who are not required to learn a second modern language (however, they are entitled to);
  • pupils/students with hearing impairment, severe developmental dyslexia, aphasia, multiple disabilities or autism, including Asperger’s syndrome who are not required to learn a second modern language until the end of a given stage of education where such a decision is taken by their school head on the basis of an opinion from a counselling and guidance centre (including a specialised centre), a statement/certificate recommending special education or one recommending individual teaching;
  • pupils/students who do take physical education classes, computer literacy or IT classes, where such a decision is made by their school head on the basis of a certificate confirming their unfitness to participate in such classes issued by a medical doctor; the exemption is valid for the duration specified in the certificate;
  • students of schools providing vocational education who hold a driving licence and who for this reason have been exempt from driving classes by their school head;
  • pupils/students following individualised learning paths.

Similarly, special schools providing vocational education follow the same core curriculum for vocational education as the corresponding types of mainstream and integration schools.

Like in mainstream nursery schools, schools and alternative preschool education settings, the education of children and young people in special nursery schools, schools and centres is based on individual educational and therapeutic programmes which takes account of recommendations made in statements/certificates recommending special education and are adjusted to pupils’/students’ individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities. The rules for developing such programmes and their contents are identical regardless of the type of the institution that pupils/students attend.

Rehabilitation classes are organised for disabled pupils in special nursery schools, schools and classes.

There is no minimum number of hours of rehabilitation classes set for special nursery schools. The number of hours for such classes should be adjusted to children’s individual needs.

The minimum number of rehabilitation class hours for disabled pupils attending special classes in individual types of schools is determined per class.

At the individual stages of education, the number of hours of special classes for disabled pupils, except for classes for pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disability, is:

  • 1 150 hours in primary and lower secondary schools;
  • 960 hours in basic vocational schools;
  • 900 hours in general upper secondary schools and technical upper secondary schools.

The weekly number of hours in each school year per class is:

  • 12 hours in primary and lower secondary schools;
  • 10 hours in basic vocational schools and general upper secondary schools;
  • 8 hours in technical upper secondary schools.

(Regulation of the Ministry of National Education of 7 February 2012 on the outline statutes of public nursery schools and schools: Journal of Law, item 204, as subsequently amended)

Socially maladjusted young people or those at risk of social maladjustment attending mainstream schools are also provided with social rehabilitation, social therapy and other therapeutic classes aimed at the acquisition of life skills and facilitating good functioning within their family and social environment.

Pupils and students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities follow a separate core curriculum for general education in primary schools and lower secondary schools (Annex No. 3 to the Regulation of the Minister of Education of 27 August 2012 on the core curriculum for preschool education and general education in individual types of schools: Journal of Law, item 977, as subsequently amended)

The education of those pupils and students consists in integrating the school’s teaching, educating and care functions, while taking account of specific forms and methods of work and teaching principles. Pupils’/students’ individual development rate should be taken into account in the process of setting the directions of working with them. It is for this reason that the core curriculum does not define separate objectives, tasks and teaching contents for individual stages of education in primary schools and lower secondary schools.

At each stage of primary and lower secondary education, there are separate classes for pupils and students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities:

  • educational classes: functioning within the environment, music and eurhythmics, visual arts, technology, physical education, ethics;
  • rehabilitation classes.

The minimum number of hours in Grades 1-3 of the special primary school for pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (1st stage of education) during a three-year period:

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* for pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (including pupils with multiple disabilities if moderate or severe intellectual disability is one of the multiple disabilities) attending a mainstream school, an integration class in a mainstream primary school or an integration school: 190 hours per pupil.

The minimum number of hours in Grades 4-6 of the special primary school for pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (2nd stage of education) during a three-year period:

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* for pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (including pupils with multiple disabilities if moderate or severe intellectual disability is one of the multiple disabilities) who attend a mainstream primary school, an integration class in a mainstream school or an integration school: 190 hours per pupil.

The weekly number of hours:

  • of compulsory classes for pupils in individual grades is:
  • Grade 1– 18;
  • Grade 2- 19;
  • Grade 3- 20;
  • Grade 4- 24;
  • Grade 5- 25;
  • Grade 6 – 26.
  • rehabilitation classes in each school year -10 per class, and for pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (including pupils with multiple disabilities if moderate or severe intellectual disability is one of the multiple disabilities) attending a mainstream primary school, an integration class in a mainstream school or an integration school – 2 hours per pupil.

The minimum number of hours in Grades 1-3 of the special lower secondary school for students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (3rd stage of education) during a three-year period:

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* for students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (including students with multiple disabilities if moderate or severe intellectual disability is one of the multiple disabilities) attending a mainstream primary school, an integration class in a mainstream school or an integration school – 190 hours per student.

The weekly number of hours:

  • of compulsory classes for students in individual grades is:
  • Grade 1– 27;
  • Grade 2- 28;
  • Grade 3- 29.
  • rehabilitation classes in each school year -10 hours per class, and for students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (including students with multiple disabilities if moderate or severe intellectual disability is one of the multiple disabilities) attending a mainstream primary school, an integration class in a mainstream school or an integration school – 2 hours per student.

A separate core curriculum has been established for three-year special schools preparing for employment, intended for students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities and for students with multiple disabilities.

The minimum number of hours in Grades 1-3 of special schools preparing for employment (4th stage of education) during a three-year period:

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The weekly number of hours:

  • of compulsory classes for students in individual grades is:
    • grade 1– 27;
    • grade 2 – 30;
    • grade 3 – 32;
  • rehabilitation classes in each school year - 10 hours per class.

The number of hours left to the school head’s discretion in individual types of special schools is set by the school head in accordance with the regulations on outline timetables.

The number of teaching hours of religion/ethics, preparation to family life, ethnic / minority / regional language, as well as ethnic / minority / regional history and culture is defined in the relevant regulations on the outline timetables for schools.

The education system also includes special nursery schools and schools based in healthcare and welfare institutions. (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 8 March 2013 on the provision of education and the conditions for, and forms of, special care and educational activities in special nursery schools and schools established within healthcare and welfare institutions. Journal of Law, item 380).

Special nursery schools, special primary schools, special lower secondary schools and special upper secondary schools situated in healthcare institutions provide children and young people with education and special educational and care activities organised during the time agreed with the head of the entity or the hospital department head in line with the recommendations of the responsible medical doctor.

Children become pupils of the nursery school or school organised within a given healthcare institution upon admission to the institution.

Special nursery schools and schools organised in welfare institutions provide pupils with education and special educational activities organised during the time agreed with the head of the entity, and – in the case of nursery schools and schools organised in welfare institutions – taking into account recommendations made by therapeutic teams referred to in the regulations issued under Art. 57 (8) of the Welfare Act ( Welfare; Regulation of the Minister of Social Policy of 23 August 2012 on specialist care services: Journal of Law, item 964).

Special schools in healthcare and welfare institutions follow curricula based on the core curriculum for general education set for a given stage of education and outline timetables set by schools attended by pupils before their admission to a healthcare or welfare institution.

Special nursery schools, schools and centres may provide rehabilitation and educational classes for children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities.

Classes are provided individually or in a group, and are always based on an individual timetable. (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 23 April 2013 on the conditions and methods of providing rehabilitation classes to children and young people with severe mental disabilities: Journal of Law, item 529).

Rehabilitation classes aim to:

  • support children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities;
  • develop their interest in the environment;
  • develop - in as far as their abilities allow it - their independence of other people in everyday life.

In particular, such classes focus on:

  • learning to establish contacts in a way suited to participants’ needs and abilities;
  • shaping the way of communicating with the environment at a level suited to individual abilities of participants;
  • kinesiotherapy and psychomotor education developing gross and fine motor skills, developing orientation in the body and spatial orientation;
  • teaching to gain optimal independence in everyday life;
  • developing participants’ interest in the environment, multi-sensory cognition of the environment; learning to understand its changes; developing skills necessary to function in the environment;
  • developing the ability to co-exist in a group;
  • learning intentional action suited to the age, abilities and interests of participants and their level of activity.

Teachers conducting classes, in cooperation with psychologists and - if necessary - with other specialists working with children and young people, develop individual programmes on the basis of an assessment and recommendations made in a statement/certificate recommending rehabilitation classes, and observation of participants.

Teaching Methods and Materials

Special schools apply the same teaching and educational methods as mainstream schools and particular emphasis is placed on the individualisation of work with each pupil. While teachers are free to choose particular methods and forms of work as well as teaching resources, they are obliged to take account of a pupil’s/student’s specific functioning resulting from his/her disability, social maladjustment or a risk of social maladjustment.

The specificity of educating pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities consists in cross-circular teaching and educating, which is integrated and based on the multi-sensory cognition of the environment throughout the process of education.

Even the least progress made by pupils with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities should be positively reinforced, whereas the lack of progress is not negatively assessed. It is advisable to establish contact with pupils’ families, involve them in rehabilitation activities provided on school premises and, if possible, parents should continue certain elements of these activities at home. It is necessary to organise school rehabilitation activities in a way preparing the local environment to admit and accept pupils and offer them support. Parents’ (legal guardians’) participation in consultations on pupils’ progress and difficulties is very desirable, and the school should support their work with pupils in line with the specificity of a family, its values and traditions.

Teachers are free to choose a curriculum. They may:

  • develop a curriculum individually or in cooperation with other teachers;
  • choose one from a set of curricula developed by other author(s), e.g. from among those available on the market;
  • present a curriculum developed by other author(s) and modified by themselves, together with a justification for the changes proposed.

The curriculum proposed by teachers should be adjusted to the needs and abilities of the pupils/students concerned.

School curricula for general education, training for a specific occupation and general vocational training are approved for use at school by the school head at the request of the teacher(s) concerned and after consultation with the school's teaching council.

Teachers may decide to follow a curriculum involving the use of textbooks, learning materials and resources. They may also decide to teach without textbooks or learning materials and resources.

When choosing textbooks, learning materials and resources for disabled pupils in special education, teams of teachers in Grades 1-3 of the primary school and teams of teachers teaching individual subjects in Grades 4-6 of the primary school or in lower and upper secondary schools take account of the educational needs and psychological and physical abilities of their pupils.

Teams may propose more than one textbook or learning material for:

  • disabled pupils in special education; and
  • disabled pupils participating in classes which are necessary to maintain their sense of national, ethnic or language identity.

Primary school and lower secondary school pupils/students are entitled to receive free textbooks, learning materials and resources. As of 2014/2015 school year, this entitlement covers subsequent pupil cohorts.

Providing textbooks to pupils in Grades 1-3 of a special primary school and of mainstream and integration schools is one of the tasks of the minister responsible for school education. These textbooks are adapted to the needs of disabled pupils. The textbooks are adapted for blind pupils (in the Braille alphabet), those with visual impairment (large print) and for disabled students with learning difficulties and/or communication problems, including intellectual disabilities, deaf, with hearing impairment, autism or aphasia. In Poland, the first adaptations of textbooks in the Polish sign language were made as part of this work. Electronic versions of adapted textbooks are available free of charge on the webpage of the Ministry of National Education.

Schools receive targeted State budget subsidies to provide primary school pupils and lower secondary school students with free textbooks, learning materials and resources. The amount of such subsidies may be increased for disabled students. The value of the index increasing the amount of targeted subsidies is determined in the regulations of the minister responsible for school education (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 20 March 2015 on the level of indices increasing amounts of targeted subsidies for providing schools with textbooks, learning materials and resources for disabled students: Journal of Law, item 441).

Providing co-funding for textbooks and supplementary books for pupils/students who are blind, deaf or with intellectual disabilities is one of the tasks of the minister responsible for school education. The minister performs this task in various ways, adapted to the needs of pupils/students:

  • by adapting textbooks and supplementary books in line with the needs of blind pupils (in the Braille alphabet), those with visual impairment (large print) and deaf (in the Polish sign language), which are subsequently available for downloading free of charge from an IT system created for this purpose;
  • by supplying printed adaptations of Braille and large print textbooks to schools in line with their requests;
  • by providing funding for the purchase of textbooks available on the market as part of the governmental programme “School Starter Kit”.

Progression of Pupils

The rules for the assessment and promotion of pupils in special education are the same as in mainstream and integration schools.

Pupils are assessed throughout the school year. The following elements are assessed:

  • learning achievements;
  • behaviour/conduct (except for post-secondary schools where it is not assessed).

The assessment of learning achievements consists in the identification of the level of, and progress in, the acquisition of knowledge and skills in relation to:

  • requirements set out in the core curriculum for general education or learning outcomes set out in the core curriculum for vocational education;
  • educational requirements specified in curricula followed by schools;
  • educational requirements specified in curricula followed by schools - in the case of additional classes.

In Grades 1-3 of the primary school:

  • marks as part of the mid-term assessment of ethnic or national minority pupils and those belonging to communities speaking regional languages for compulsory and optional classes and classes in ethnic / minority / regional languages, as well as ethnic / minority / regional history and culture are given in accordance with methods set out in the school statutes;
  • marks as part of the mid-year and end-of-year assessment of ethnic or national minority pupils and those belonging to communities speaking regional languages for compulsory and optional classes and classes in ethnic / minority / regional languages, as well as ethnic / minority / regional history and culture, and mid-year and end-of-year marks for conduct are descriptive.

Starting from Grade 4 of the primary school, mid-year marks for conduct and mid-term and mid-year marks for:

  • compulsory classes;
  • additional classes;
  • classes in ethnic/minority/regional languages, as well as ethnic / minority / regional history and culture

are given in accordance with methods set out in the school statutes.

End-of-year and, in post-secondary schools, end-of-term marks are determined according to a six-level grading scale:

  • 6 - excellent
  • 5 - very good
  • 4 - good
  • 3 - satisfactory
  • 2 - admissible
  • 1 - fail

The end-of-year mark for conduct is determined in line with a four-level grading scale: excellent, good, acceptable and inadmissible.

Starting from Grade 4 of the primary school:

  • mid-term marks (given as part of on-going assessment),
  • mid-year and end-of-year marks for compulsory and optional classes and classes in ethnic / minority / regional languages, as well as ethnic / minority / regional history and culture, given to ethnic or national minority pupils and those belonging to communities speaking regional languages, and
  • mid-year and end-of-year marks for conduct

may be descriptive, if allowed by the school statutes.

In such cases, end-of-year marks for classes and end-of-year marks for conduct are determined according to a grading scale.

At the beginning of each school year, teachers inform pupils and their parents or students in post-secondary schools about:

  • educational requirements based on the curriculum which should be fulfilled to receive individual mid-year and end-of-year marks, and end-of-term marks in post-secondary schools; methods of verifying pupils’ learning achievements;
  • conditions and rules of obtaining marks higher than expected in end-of-year assessments and, in the case of post-secondary schools, end-of-term assessments.

At the beginning of each school year, class teachers inform pupils/students and their parents about:

  • conditions and methods as well as criteria for assessing conduct;
  • conditions and rules of obtaining marks higher than expected in end-of-year conduct assessments.

Detailed conditions and methods of school assessment are laid down in the school statutes.

Where disorders and other developmental dysfunctions have been diagnosed, the assessment of a pupil’s conduct should take into consideration their influence on his/her conduct . This is done on the basis of a statement/certificate recommending special education, statement/certificate recommending individual teaching or a statement/certificate issued by a counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre.

If mid-year assessments - and mid-term assessments in post-secondary schools - show that the level of a pupil’s/student’s learning achievements will prevent or hinder them from continuing education in a higher grade, and in a higher term/semester in post-secondary schools, schools should enable such pupils/students to catch up.

Teachers are obliged to adjust educational requirements to both pupils’/students’ individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities, following the same principles as in mainstream and integration schools.

Progress made by pupils in special education is subject to regular assessment according to the same rules as in mainstream and integration nursery schools, schools and alternative preschool education settings.

In the case of pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, descriptive assessment is used at all levels of education. Due to the specific character of the education of such pupils and the individual pace and scope of learning in each case, achievements in individual areas of pedagogic and rehabilitation impact are planned on an individual basis. Periodical multifaceted specialist assessments of pupil performance carried out by teachers and specialists facilitate the modification of individual educational and therapeutic programmes and the adjustment of expected achievements to pupils’ abilities.

Pupils who are disabled, socially maladjusted or at risk of social maladjustment and who attend special schools as well as those who have completed them take the test at the end of primary education, the lower secondary school leaving examination, the maturity examination and examinations confirming vocational qualification according to the same rules as mainstream and integration school students and school leavers.

The rules for promoting and assessing disabled students with normal intellectual capacity and those with mild intellectual disabilities are the same as in the case of non-disabled pupils/students.

Pupils/students are promoted to a higher grade if they have received marks in accordance with specific criteria for all subjects and compulsory classes (except subjects and classes from which they have been exempted). Pupils are promoted to higher grades on the basis of decisions made by their school’s teaching council. Pupils who have not been promoted to higher grades - and to higher terms/semesters in post-secondary schools - remain in the same grade or term/semester.

Primary school and lower secondary school pupils/students, including those in young offender institutions or youth detention centres, who:

  • hold a statement/certificate recommending special education;
  • follow their curricula with at least a one-year delay;
  • obtain grades classified as positive under the school assessment system for all compulsory classes and classes in ethnic / minority / regional languages;
  • are considered capable of studying curricular contents covering two years within one school year

may be promoted to a higher grade also during the school year.

Pupils holding a statement/certificate recommending special education because of their moderate or severe intellectual disability are promoted to a higher grade following decisions made by the school’s teaching council which takes account of recommendations made in an individual educational and therapeutic programme.

Extending the duration of education

Disabled pupils/students in all types of schools and pupils/students in schools within young offender institutions and youth detention centres may have their period of education extended by a year at each stage of education by a proportional increase in the number of hours of compulsory classes.

Decisions to extend the period of education are made by:

  • the school’s teaching council upon approval from the team of teachers and specialists working with the pupil /student and his/her parents’ consent – in the case of disabled pupils/students;
  • the school head after consultation with the school’s teaching council – in the case of pupils/students in young offender institutions or youth detention centres.

Such decisions are made not later than:

  • in the primary school: by the end of February in a given school year, for Grades 3 and 4 respectively;
  • in lower and upper secondary schools: by the end of February in the last year of education in these schools.

Shortening the duration of education

  • The period of education can be shortened for pupils who are socially maladjusted or at risk of social maladjustment and attend vocational schools within youth educational centres, youth social therapy centres, young offender institutions or youth detention centres.
  • The period of education may be reduced to two years on the condition of maintaining at least the minimum number of hours of compulsory classes provided for a three-year education cycle.

Decisions to shorten the period of education for vocational school students who are socially maladjusted or at risk of social maladjustment are made by:

  • the school’s teaching council upon approval from the team of teachers, class teachers and specialists working with the student - in youth educational centres or youth social therapy centres;
  • the school head upon consultation with the school’s teaching council - in young offender institutions or youth detention centres.

Progress made by children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities who participate in rehabilitation classes is also subject to periodical assessment, regardless of the type of educational institution providing such classes.

For each participant in such classes, there is a separate observation sheet where teachers record information about:

  • changes in gross motor skills (posture, locomotion and motor coordination);
  • changes in fine motor skills (coordination of arm movements, visual-motor coordination, manipulation);
  • initiated one’s own activity (non-directed);
  • focussing attention during spontaneous activity (when playing and performing tasks), including the duration of such focussed attention;
  • cooperation in various situations, including its duration;
  • learning new skills (rate, permanency, degree of difficulty);
  • dominant mood and emotions;
  • readiness for contact (kinds and directions of contacts);
  • self-service skills;
  • participation in cleaning activities;
  • problem behaviour (description of problem behaviour and situations where it occurs, teacher’s response to problem behaviour, changes in behaviour);
  • ways of communicating;
  • other significant behaviours.

At least twice a school year, classroom teachers undertake a periodical assessment of the performance of class participants on the basis of class documentation, including individual study programme documentation, and - if necessary - modify individual study programmes.


Certification

All special school leavers, except those with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, receive the same school certificates as pupils/students in mainstream and integration schools.

End-of-year and school leaving certificates for pupils with moderate and severe disabilities, regardless of the type of school they attend, are issued on a special form and include descriptive assessment.

School leaving certificates issued between 2000/2001 and 2011/2012 contain the following annotation on the back page: “The pupil/student has followed a curriculum adjusted to his/her individual abilities and needs on the basis of a statement from the evaluation committee at...(name of the counselling and guidance centre where the committee issuing the statement recommending special education is based). At the written request of parents or an adult school leaver, they may be exchanged for one without such an annotation. If it is not possible to exchange the certificate, a duplicate containing no such annotation is issued.

Lower secondary school students completing classes preparing for work are awarded certificates with the following annotation: "has followed a 'preparation for work' curriculum based on the core curriculum for vocational education in the occupation of...".

Due to their specific functioning, rehabilitation and education class participants are not assessed and promoted, nor do they obtain certificates.