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Poland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream 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)

Both difficulties faced by children in the process of education and their special talents provide the basis for support according to their needs. The notion of special educational needs is very wide - they are defined by children’s needs.

Psychological and educational support provided in nursery schools, schools and other educational institutions consist in:

  • assessing pupils’ individual developmental and educational needs and physical and psychological abilities; and
  • addressing these needs.

Special educational needs result, in particular, from:

  • disability
  • social maladjustment
  • risk of social maladjustment
  • special talents
  • specific learning difficulties
  • verbal communication disorders
  • long-lasting illness
  • crisis or traumatic situations
  • school failure
  • family situation (financial situation of the pupil and his/her family, free time activities, social background)
  • difficulties with adaptation due to cultural differences or to the change of educational environment, e.g. upon return from abroad.

This list of special educational needs is non-exhaustive.

To be able to fulfil the requirements of the core curriculum or develop special talents by achieving the best possible learning outcomes going beyond the core curriculum, pupils with learning difficulties and those with special educational needs require additional support in the process of education.

The measures taken by educational institutions are aimed not only at improving children’s and young people’s learning achievements but also at supporting individual cognitive, emotional and social development of each child; this may be done, for example, by assisting parents and teachers in solving teaching and educational problems and by developing their educational skills in order to increase the effectiveness of psychological and educational support provided to children and young people.

Psychological and educational support is provided on the basis of an assessment of a child’s developmental and educational needs carried out by a teacher working with the child, class teacher or a specialist.

This kind of support can be initiated by parents or pupils themselves as well as by other people familiar with the child’s problems or those of his/her family:

  • the head of the school/institution
  • a teaching assistant
  • a Roma education assistant
  • a nurse in an educational setting or a school nurse
  • a probation officer
  • a family assistant.

Psychological and educational support can also be recommended in:

  • an opinion issued by a counselling and guidance centre;
  • a certificate given by an evaluation committee in a public counselling and guidance centre.

The provisions of the School Education Act define the notion of specific learning difficulties as learning difficulties experienced by pupils who fulfil the intellectual norms, but who have problems with learning the contents taught due to their specific perceptive, physical and cognitive characteristics which are not related to any neurological problems.

Specific learning difficulties are identified and confirmed in a statement / certificate by specialists employed in counselling and guidance centres.

Statements/certificates confirming specific learning difficulties are issued by:

  • public counselling and guidance centres; and
  • non-public counselling and guidance centres established under Art. 82 of the School Education Act and employing specialists with qualifications required of those working in public counselling and guidance centres.

Statements/certificates confirming specific learning difficulties may be issued to a pupil by a counselling and guidance centre, including specialised centres:

  • not earlier than after Grade 3 of the primary school;
  • not later than upon completion of primary education;
  • in duly justified cases, it can also be given to pupils in lower and upper secondary schools.

The education system provides special education to children and young people who are:

  • disabled: with mild, moderate and severe mental disabilities, deaf or with hearing impairment, blind or with vision impairment, with physical disabilities including aphasia, autistic including Asperger’s syndrome, with multiple disabilities;
  • socially maladjusted;
  • at risk of social maladjustment

requiring special organisation of teaching and learning processes and working methods (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 24 July 2015 on the conditions for providing education and care to disabled and socially maladjusted children and youth or those being at risk of social maladjustment; Journal of Law, item 1113).

The term “multiple disabilities” refers to one of the following types of disability:

  • deafness;
  • impaired hearing;
  • blindness;
  • impaired vision;
  • physical disability;
  • intellectual disability;
  • autism,

as combined with at least one more of the above-mentioned types of disability.

Children are provided with special education on the basis of a certificate recommending special education.

Certificates are issued by evaluation committees in public counselling and guidance centres, including specialised centres.

Children and young people with severe mental disabilities are provided with rehabilitation classes (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 Laws, item 529).

Children are provided with individual or group rehabilitation classes on the basis of a certificate issued by a public counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre.

Particularly gifted children and young people may follow:

on the basis of a permission given by the head of a school.

Permission is granted:

  • at the request or with the consent of an adult learner or of a child’s parents;
  • after consultation with the school's teaching council and a public counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre;
  • upon completion of at least one year of education, or after the learner’s mid-year evaluation and in duly justified cases.

Children and young people whose ill health hinders them in, or prevents them from, attending a nursery school, another form of childhood education or school are provided with individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes or individualised teaching (Regulation of the Minister of Education of 28 August 2014 on individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes for children and individualised teaching for children and young people: Journal of Law, item 1157).

Children are provided with individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes or individualised teaching on the basis of a certificate issued by a counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre. Individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes or individualised teaching are provided for a fixed period of time specified in the certificate.

At the request of an adult learner or a learner’s parents and on the basis of a medical certificate enclosed with the application and stating that the child’s or learner’s health allows them to attend a nursery school, another preschool education setting or a school, the head of the school/institution ceases providing such activities and notifies of this fact the following entities:

  • the centre where the evaluation committee issuing the certificate is based;
  • the body managing a given nursery school, form of childhood education or school.

The school education system provides early support for the child’s development. This involves integrated preventive treatment, diagnostic and therapeutic activities intended to stimulate the functions that are responsible for the psychomotor development and communication of young children with developmental dysfunctions.

Early support for the child’s development is provided:

  • from the time when a disability is detected until the time of entry into school education;
  • on the basis of a statement / opinion recommending early support for the child’s development.

(Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 11 October 2013 on the provision of early support for the child’s development: Journal of Law, item 1257)

Statements / opinions recommending early development support are issued by:

  • evaluation committees in public counselling and guidance centres;
  • evaluation committees in non-public counselling and guidance centres.

In giving opinions recommending early development support, evaluation committees are required to apply the regulations for evaluation committees, except for the provisions on the remit of an evaluation team.

(Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 18 September 2008 on certificates and opinions issued by evaluation committees in public counselling and guidance centres; Journal of Law No. 173, item 1072)

A commune (gmina; the lowest-level local government unit) may provide free transport from the place of residence to the school/institution for the child receiving early development support and their guardian, and – where necessary – free care for the child during transportation.

Specific support measures

Each educational institution (nursery school, alternative preschool education setting, school or other establishment) is obliged to provide counselling and guidance (educational and psychological support) to children and young people attending them, as well as to their parents and teachers in line with their individually identified needs. The education system also offers such support through counselling and guidance centres.

Counselling and guidance in public nursery schools, schools and other establishments is provided by.

  • teachers,
  • class teachers,
  • specialists, in particular psychologists, pedagogues, speech therapists, educational therapists and career advisors.

In collaboration with the school managing body, school heads make decisions concerning the employment of teachers and specialists providing psychological and educational support, in line with the needs previously identified.

When identifying the need to provide a pupil/student with psychological and educational support, teachers, class teachers or specialists immediately offer such support during the coursework with the pupil and notify their coordinators that it is provided to the pupil:

  • the pupil’s class teacher - in the case of schools and institutions within which a school operates;
  • the head of the nursery school or institution - in the case of nursery schools or institutions which do not comprise a school.

The head of the nursey school, school or institution may also appoint another person whose tasks will cover support planning and coordination.

These tasks focus on identifying the forms of support, its duration and the number of hours for each form.

The need to provide psychological and educational support to a pupil/learner is communicated to his/her parents or to an adult learner.

Support offered by public institutions in the school education system is free of charge and provided on a voluntary basis.

When planning to provide a pupil/learner with psychological and educational support, the class teacher or the head of a nursery school or institution cooperates with the pupil’s parents or with the adult learner and - depending on the pupil’s or adult learner’s needs - with:

  • other teachers, tutors and specialists working with the pupil/learner,
  • a counselling and guidance centre,
  • a nurse in an educational setting,
  • a school nurse,
  • a Roma education assistant,
  • a teaching assistant,
  • a social worker,
  • a probation officer.

Activities as part of psychological and educational support are planned and coordinated by a team of teachers, tutors and specialists working with pupils who have a certificate recommending special education. The coordination of support is one of the tasks of class teachers or other staff indicated by the head of a given school. The team meets whenever necessary.

Schools and nursery schools provide psychological and educational support during the coursework with their pupils and in the following forms:

  • classes developing talents,
  • specialist remedial and compensatory classes, speech therapy, social therapy and other therapeutic activities,
  • workshops,
  • guidance and counselling sessions.

Schools provide psychological and educational support during the coursework with pupils/students and in the following forms:

  • therapeutic activities,
  • classes developing talents,
  • remedial and support classes,
  • specialist remedial and compensatory classes, speech therapy, social therapy and other therapeutic activities,
  • in the case of lower- and upper secondary school students, education and career planning classes,
  • workshops,
  • guidance and counselling sessions.

Classes developing talents:

  • are organised for particularly gifted pupils;
  • are provided using active learning methods;
  • may not have more than 8 participants;
  • are organised as 45-minute-periods;
  • are delivered by teachers, class teachers and specialists possessing qualifications required for individual types of classes.

Remedial and compensatory classes:

  • are organised for pupils with developmental disorders or specific learning difficulties;
  • may not have more than 5 participants.

Speech therapy classes:

  • are organised for pupils with speech disorders causing communication disorders and hindering the learning process;
  • may not have more than 4 participants.

Social therapy and other therapeutic activities:

  • are organised for pupils with dysfunctions and disorders adversely affecting social functioning;
  • the number of participants cannot exceed 10;
  • a period of specialist classes lasts 60 minutes; however, in duly justified cases, the duration may be shortened provided that the periods add up to the total weekly number of hours set for such classes for the pupil;
  • classes are conducted by teachers, class teachers and specialists possessing qualifications required for a given type of activities.

Therapeutic activities:

  • are organised for pupils with single or multiple disabilities requiring the organisation and process of learning to be adjusted to their special educational needs and needing long-term specialist assistance;
  • are organised as early as at the beginning of the school year;
  • can also be attended by pupils from other schools, upon approval from the body managing a given school;
  • the inclusion of a pupil in therapeutic activities must be documented by a statement/certificate issued by a counselling and guidance centre to confirm the pupil’s need for such assistance;
  • the teaching process in therapeutic classes is based on the curriculum implemented in a given school, and their forms and methods are adjusted to pupils’ developmental and educational needs, as well as to their psychological and physical abilities;
  • education is provided until gaps in learning outcomes, as defined in the general education core curriculum for a given stage of education, are bridged or until the dysfunction which is the reason for providing a pupil with that kind of support has been mitigated or eliminated;
  • activities are provided by teachers offering the corresponding classes;
  • may not have more than 15 participants.

Educational support and remedial classes:

  • are organised for pupils with learning difficulties, in particular in meeting educational requirements specified in the core curriculum for general education at a given stage;
  • may not have more than 8 participants;
  • are organised as 45-minute periods;
  • are delivered by teachers, class teachers and specialists possessing qualifications required for a given type of activities.

Education and career planning courses:

  • are organised to support pupils and students in making their education and career choices;
  • are provided using active learning methods;
  • are provided by teachers, class teachers and specialists, in particular by career advisors.

Psychological and educational support is also offered to pupils’ parents and teachers in the form of:

  • counselling and guidance sessions,
  • workshops,
  • training sessions.

In organising psychological and educational support, school heads cooperate with:

  • counselling and guidance centres, including specialised centres,
  • pupils’ parents,
  • in-service teacher training institutions,
  • other nursery schools, schools and institutions,
  • non-governmental organisations and other institutions working for families, children and young people.

Counselling and guidance sessions, workshops and training sessions are conducted by teachers, class teachers and specialists.

As regards alternative preschool education settings, their managing body identifies:

  • objectives and tasks of a single nursery school or a group of nursery schools;
  • a method of implementation, taking account of pupils’ individual development support and support to families in the process of educating children and preparing them for school, and in the case of disabled children - with particular emphasis put on the type and degree of their disability;
  • the scope of teachers’ tasks covering:
    • pedagogical observation aimed at the identification of children’s developmental needs and abilities, and of their readiness for school in the year preceding the school year when children may enter school;
    • cooperation with specialists providing psychological and educational support, as well as health care.

Teachers conducting classes in alternative preschool education settings provide guidance and advise parents on working with children.

Teachers are free to choose textbooks, learning materials and resources, programmes, methods and ways of teaching. However, they should take account of individual developmental and educational needs, and psychological and physical abilities of pupils with special educational needs.

Teachers are obliged to adjust educational requirements to both individual developmental and educational needs, and psychological and physical abilities of pupils holding a statement/certificate confirming specific learning difficulties or any other statement/certificate confirming the need for such adjustment issued by a counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre.

Educational requirements are also adjusted on the basis of:

  • statements/certificates recommending special education and arrangements provided for in a pupil’s individual education and therapy path;
  • statements/certificates recommending individualised teaching;
  • the identification of that kind of need by teachers and specialists working with the child;
  • a medical doctor’s opinion on a pupil’s limitations in performing specific physical exercises during physical education classes.

Among other things, the following adjustments can be made in methods and forms of working with children to address their needs resulting from difficulties or developmental problems:

  • adjusting the method of communicating with children;
  • extending working hours when necessary;
  • dividing the material into smaller segments, reducing the number of tasks to be performed, and increasing the number of exercises and revisions;
  • frequent references to concrete examples and the application of a heuristic method promoting multi-sensory cognition;
  • using additional teaching resources and equipment;
  • repeating rules applicable in the classroom, setting clear limits or boundaries and ensuring that they are respected..

Mainstream nursery schools and alternative preschool education settings provide special education to disabled children.

Mainstream schools of all types provide special education for socially maladjusted children and young people or for those at risk of social maladjustment. (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 24 July 2015 on the conditions for providing education and care to disabled and socially maladjusted children and youth or to those being at risk of social maladjustment; Journal of Law, item 1113).

Education and care for disabled children and young people is provided in mainstream nursery schools and schools and alternative preschool education settings, which are situated as close to their place of residence as possible, in accordance with the provisions of Art. 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities whereby the ratifying signatories are required to ensure inclusive education at all levels. (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities drawn up in New York on 13 December 2006 Journal of Law 2012, No. 3, item 1169)

The number of children in a mainstream nursery school class may not exceed 25. (Regulation of the Ministry of National Education of 21 May 2001 on the outline statutes of public nursery schools and schools: Journal of Law No. 61, item 624, as subsequently amended)

Generally, the number of pupils in Grade 1 (as of 1 September 2014), Grade 2 (as of 1 September 2015) and Grade 3 (as of 1 September 2016) in mainstream primary schools is 25.

Should a pupil living within the catchment area of a school be admitted to Grades 1, 2 (as of 1 September 2015) or 3 of the primary school (as of 1 September 2016) within the period between the beginning and the end of classes, the school head, having informed the parents’ council, divides the class if the number of pupils is over 25.

The school head may depart from such divisions, thus increasing the number of pupils above 25 (however, not more than by 2 pupils):

  • at the request of the parents’ council, and
  • upon the consent of the body managing the school.

The number of children in alternative preschool education settings is from 3 to 25. (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 31 August 2010 on alternative preschool education settings, conditions for creating and organising such settings and the way in which they operate: Journal of Law No. 161, item1080 and 2011, No .143, item 839)

No number of pupils/students has been set for mainstream Grades 4-6 of primary schools or for lower and upper secondary schools.

Mainstream nursery schools and schools of all types may create integration classes and special classes.

An integration class in a nursery school or school is a class where disabled pupils holding statements/certificates recommending special education learn and receive education together with their non-disabled peers. The number of pupils in an integration class is from 15 to 20, including 3-5 disabled pupils. Upon the consent of the body managing a given nursery school or school, the number of pupils, including disabled ones, in an integration class may be lower.

An integration school (nursery school) is a school which has integration classes only. Mainstream schools and nursery schools with integration classes are those with both mainstream and integration classes.

Special classes in nursery schools and schools are created only for disabled pupils holding statements/certificates recommending special education, with the exception of children with mild intellectual disability for whom such classes are not created in nursery schools.

The number of pupils in special classes in mainstream nursery schools and schools varies depending on the type of disability and is equal to the number of pupils in such classes in nursery schools or special schools.

Providing special education in nursery schools, alternative preschool education settings and in mainstream and integrated primary or lower secondary schools is an educational task of communes (gmina), i.e. the lowest local government level.

Nursery school and school heads, heads of institutions or persons managing alternative preschool education settings are responsible for the implementation of recommendations made in statements/certificates recommending special education.

The body managing a school or an institution is responsible for its operation; this includes:

  • providing conditions to organise the teaching and learning process and use methods as required in the work with children and young people receiving special education;
  • ensuring that the school or the institution is provided with teaching aids and equipment indispensable for full implementation of curricula and education programmes, conducting tests and examinations, and performing other statutory tasks.

Nursery schools, alternative preschool education settings, schools, classes and centres provide the following to children in special education:

  • the implementation of recommendations contained in statements/certificates recommending special education;
  • working conditions, specialist equipment and teaching and learning resources which are suitable for their individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities;
  • activities suitable for individual developmental and educational needs, rehabilitation classes (for disabled children and young people), social rehabilitation classes (especially for socially maladjusted children and young people) and social therapy classes (for children and young people at risk of social maladjustment) as well as classes focussing on psychological and educational support, including specialist activities;
  • integration with their peers, including non-disabled children;
  • preparation of pupils for independence in adult life.

Disabled children in preschool education follow the same core curriculum as their non-disabled peers (Annex No. 1 to the Regulation of the Ministry of National 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)

Disabled children whose intellectual development corresponds to their age or those showing mild intellectual disability follow the same core curriculum for general education in primary, lower and upper secondary schools of a given type as their non-disabled peers (Annexes 2, 4-6 to the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2012 on the core curriculum for preschool education and general education in particular types of schools: Journal of Law item 977, as subsequently amended) and the core curriculum for individual occupations in schools providing vocational education. (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 7 February 2012 on the core curricula for individual occupations: Journal of Law No. 61, item 184, as subsequently amended)

Pupils/students with moderate or severe intellectual disability follow a separate core curriculum for general education. Their education in mainstream primary schools and lower secondary schools is provided in line with outline plans for primary and lower secondary school pupils and students with moderate or severe intellectual disability.

Children and young people with severe intellectual disability attend compulsory one-year preschool, compulsory education and compulsory education in the form of group or individual rehabilitation and education classes. These classes can also be organised in mainstream nursery schools and schools.

Special education for disabled and socially maladjusted students or those at risk of social maladjustment in mainstream and integration schools can be provided until the end of the school year in the calendar year when they reach:

  • 18 years of age – in the case of primary school pupils,
  • 21 years of age - in the case of lower secondary school students,
  • 24 years of age - in the case of upper secondary school students.

An individual educational and therapeutic programme is developed for each pupil holding a statement/certificate recommending special education. The programme takes account of recommendations made in statements/certificates recommending special education and is adjusted to each pupil’s individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities.

An individual education and therapeutic programme is developed:

  • by a team of teachers and specialists working with the pupil/student;
  • after a multifaceted specialist assessment of the pupil’s/student’s performance;
  • where necessary, in cooperation with a counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre; .
  • jointly with parents or an adult disabled student if they wish so.

At their request, parents and adult students receive a copy of the individual education and therapeutic programme.

An individual educational and therapeutic programme identifies:

  • the scope of, and adjustments to be made in, in the preschool education curriculum and educational requirements to address pupils’ individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities, in particular by applying appropriate methods and forms of working with the pupil/student;
  • integrated activities undertaken by teachers and specialists working with the child or pupil/student, including;
  • a disabled pupil/student: rehabilitation activities,
  • a socially maladjusted pupil/student: social rehabilitation activities,
  • a pupil/student at risk of social maladjustment: socio-therapeutic activities;
  • forms and periods of providing psychological and educational support to pupils and the number of hours for each type of support;
  • support offered to children’s or pupils’-students’ parents and, depending on the needs, the scope of cooperation with a counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre, an in-service teacher training institution, non-governmental organisations and other institutions working for families, children and young people; in the case of nursery schools, alternative preschool education settings, mainstream and integration schools and classes, these also include special education and care school centres, youth education centres and youth social therapy centres;
  • rehabilitation, social rehabilitation and social therapy classes and other activities in line with pupils’ individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities, and – in the case of secondary school students – also activities involving educational and career guidance and the way in which these activities are organised;
  • the scope of cooperation between teachers and specialists and pupils’/students’ parents in the implementation of tasks relating to the organisation of special education provided by the educational institutions attended by these pupils/students.

Such programmes are developed for the period for which a statement/certificate recommending special education is issued, which cannot, however, exceed the length of a given stage of education.

The implementation of individual educational and therapeutic programmes and progress made by pupils/students in special education are regularly monitored by a team of teachers, class teachers and specialists working with them. The team meets to discuss pupils’ progress. The work of the team is coordinated by the class teacher or other teachers and specialists working with the child or pupil/student, appointed by the head of the nursery school, school or institution or the person managing an alternative preschool education setting.

Team meetings may be attended by:

  • parents or adult learners;
  • a representative of a counselling and guidance centre, teacher’s assistant or a teaching assistant, at the request of the head of the nursery school, school or institution or the person managing the alternative preschool education setting;
  • other persons, in particular a doctor, psychologist, pedagogue, speech therapist or other specialist, at the request of or upon the consent from the parents of a pupil/student or a child or from an adult learner.

The team conducts a periodical multi-specialist assessment of pupil/student performance.

The assessment of pupil/student performance:

  • is conducted as often as necessary, but at least twice in a school year;
  • where necessary, in cooperation with a counselling and guidance centre, including a specialised centre;
  • takes into account the assessment of effectiveness of the psychological and education support provided;
  • provides the basis for any adjustments in the individual educational and therapeutic programme which may be necessary.

Parents and adult learners may participate in:

  • the team’s meetings;
  • the development of the programme;
  • adjustments made to the programme;
  • assessment.

Rehabilitation classes are offered to disabled pupils, regardless of the type of school they attend.

Rehabilitation classes:

  • involve therapy and rehabilitation activities;
  • are adjusted to the child’s disability;
  • are provided by teachers and specialists trained to work with children with a given type of disability and conduct a given type of classes;
  • may be conducted individually or for a group of children depending on their needs.

Rehabilitation classes should include in particular:

  • learning spatial orientation and movement, the Braille alphabet or other alternative methods of communication - in the case of blind pupils;
  • learning sign language or other alternative methods of communication - in the case of deaf pupils or those with aphasia;
  • activities developing social skills, including communication skills - in the case of autistic children or pupils, including those with Asperger’s syndrome.

The minimum compulsory number of class hours in schools, depending on their type, is laid down in the relevant regulations.

The minimum number of rehabilitation class hours for disabled pupils attending mainstream or integration classes at individual stages of education is:

  • 190 hours per pupil/student at the 1st (Grades 1-3 of the primary school), 2nd (Grades 4-6 of the primary school) and the 3rd stage of education (lower secondary school) and in vocational schools;
  • 180 hours per general upper secondary school student;
  • 240 hours per technical upper secondary school student.

The minimum weekly number of hours for each school year is 2 per disabled pupil (Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 7 February 2012 on outline timetables in public schools: Journal of Law No. 61, item 204, as subsequently amended)

Rehabilitation classes for disabled children holding a statement/certificate recommending special education are also compulsory in nursery schools and alternative preschool education settings, although the regulations do not stipulate their minimum weekly number of hours. The number of hours for such classes should be adjusted to children’s individual needs.

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

The school education legislation provides for the employment of persons supporting the organisation of special education:

  • teachers trained in special education,
  • specialists,
  • teaching assistants,
  • teacher’s assistants - in Grades 1-3 of primary education,
  • tutor’s assistants for after-school classes/clubs - in primary education.

Mainstream nursery schools with integration classes, integration nursery schools, mainstream schools with integration classes and integration schools additionally employ teachers trained in special education in order to co-organise integration education which takes account of the recommendations made in statements/certificates recommending special education.

Mainstream nursery schools, alternative preschool education settings and mainstream schools providing special education to children and pupils holding a statement/certificate recommending special education because of:

  • autism, including Asperger’s syndrome,
  • multiple disabilities,

are required to employ additional teaching staff.

Taking account of the needs of pupils with the above-mentioned disabilities and of the recommendations made in statements/certificates recommending special education, the following teaching staff are employed:

  • teachers with qualifications in special education, or
  • specialists, or
  • teacher’s assistants - in Grades 1 to 3 of the primary school, or
  • a teaching assistant.

When mainstream nursery schools, alternative preschool education settings or mainstream schools are attended by children holding a statement/certificate recommending special education because of other kinds of disability and – in the case of schools – by socially maladjusted pupils or those at risk of social maladjustment, employing additional teaching staff is possible upon the consent of the school/setting managing body.

Additional teaching staff holding qualifications in special education:

  • conduct classes with other teachers and integrated activities and classes together with other teachers and specialists as provided for in individual educational and therapeutic programmes;
  • conduct, together with other teachers and specialists, educational classes/activities for disabled and maladjusted pupils and with those at risk of social maladjustment;
  • when necessary, participate in classes conducted by teachers and in integrated activities and classes included in individual educational and therapeutic programmes which are implemented by teachers and specialists;
  • support teachers conducting classes and teachers and specialists running integrated activities and classes included in individual educational and therapeutic programmes, in the choice of forms and methods of working with pupils provided with special education.

Taking into account the individual developmental and educational needs and psychological and physical abilities of disabled and socially maladjusted pupils and of those at risk of social maladjustment, heads of nursery school or schools, or persons managing alternative preschool education settings identify classes, integrated classes and activities, as defined in such programmes, which are conducted by additional teaching staff together with other teachers, or classes in which those teachers participate.

Specialists and teaching assistants perform tasks entrusted to them by the head of nursery school or school, or the person managing an alternative preschool education setting.

The tasks of teacher's assistants or tutor’s assistants for after-school club activities involve supporting teachers (or non-teaching staff who have qualifications deemed appropriate for particular classes by their school head) who conduct teaching and classes, or supporting after-school club tutors.

Assistants perform tasks solely under teachers’ supervision. Assistants are not entrusted with tasks for teaching staff with qualifications in special education who are additionally employed to co-organise the education of socially maladjusted and disabled pupils or of those at risk of social maladjustment.

In addition to holding a pedagogical qualification, teacher’s assistants should complete education at least at the level required of a primary school teacher. They are employed in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code.

Teaching assistants should be employed in mainstream nursery schools and schools with special classes for pupils with:

  • moderate and severe mental disabilities,
  • physical disabilities,
  • autism,
  • multiple disabilities.

In duly justified cases teaching assistants may be employed:

  • for children with the above-mentioned types of disability in Grades 4-6 of the primary school and in lower secondary schools,
  • for children attending integration primary and lower secondary schools and mainstream ones with integration classes.

The head of a nursery school or school, or the person managing an alternative preschool education setting, in agreement with their managing body and in accordance with the Labour Code, may employ non-educational staff also in other cases justified by pupils’ needs and define the scope of their responsibilities. It may include some tasks and activities for pupils with special educational needs attending mainstream nursery schools and schools.

The parents of disabled children may also submit a request to the local welfare centre to employ a disabled person’s assistant (Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 7 August 2014 on the classification of occupations and specialities for the labour market and the scope of its applicability; Journal of Law 201, item 1145). The tasks of such an assistant are to facilitate participation in social life for a disabled person, and provide care and offer assistance to their family. (Art. 50 (7) of the Welfare Act of 12 March 2004: Journal of Law 2016, item 930, as subsequently amended; Regulation of the Minister of Social Policy of 22 September 2005 on specialist care services: Journal of Law No. 189, item 1598, as subsequently amended)

Disabled person’s assistants are not employees of an educational institution; they may only perform their tasks on its premises in agreement with the head of the institution.

At each stage of education and in any type of school, particularly gifted pupils may follow:

  • individualised study programmes for one or more subjects/ types of classes provided for in the school curriculum for a given year;
  • individualised learning paths leading to the completion of any school within a shorter period.

(Regulation of the Minister of National Education and Sport of 19 December 2001 on the conditions and procedure for granting permissions for an individual study programme or learning path and related organisational arrangements: Journal of Law 2002, No 3, item 28)

An individual study programme:

  • is developed by the teacher who teachers at a given school and who will supervise the pupil/student concerned or is developed outside of a given school and approved by this teacher;
  • is adjusted to pupils’/students’ talents, interests and educational abilities;
  • enables developing their knowledge in the fields where they demonstrate above-average abilities;
  • is implemented during classes at school.

An individualised learning path:

  • concerns one, several or all compulsory classes;
  • is followed by the pupil/student in ways other than by attending compulsory classes set by the school timetable for a given grade;
  • may be implemented according to a school curriculum or an individual study programme developed by the responsible teacher or in collaboration with other teachers from a higher-level school, methodological advisers, psychologists, pedagogues or even the pupil/student himself/herself.

Pupils/students following individualised learning paths may:

  • attend selected classes in a given grade or in a higher grade in their school or a different one;
  • attend selected classes at a higher-level school;
  • follow the curriculum in full or in part on their own;
  • follow the curriculum of two or more grades within one school year;
  • be credited and promoted at any time during a school year.

Chronically ill children

Depending on their health, chronically ill children may require:

  • compulsory one-year preschool preparatory classes, full-time or part-time compulsory education provided as individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes or individual teaching when they receive home care and their ill health hinders them in, or prevents them from, attending a nursery school, other forms of preschool education or school;
  • education at a nursery school or special school within the healthcare institution where the child is staying (e.g.: in a hospital, sanatorium or health resort);
  • treatment in their nursery school, in an alternative preschool education setting, at school or in an institution (e.g.: injections) or regular application of medication when the child is able to attend a nursery school, alternative preschool education setting or school;
  • emergency assistance when the symptoms of an illness worsen or in the case of an accident.

Nursery schools, schools and institutions should be prepared to meet the needs of chronically ill children in all those situations.

Heads of schools/institutions should provide:

  • adequate conditions for all, including chronically ill, children during the time they spend in a nursery school, school or institution;
  • safe and healthy conditions for their participation in classes/activities organised by the school/institution outside its premises;
  • care to pupils and conditions for their harmonious psychological and physical development through active health-promoting activities;
  • facilities for first aid in emergency within their school/institution;
  • organisational arrangements which take account of the need to offer assistance to chronically ill children; this includes:
    • employing trained staff;
    • determining the responsibilities of school staff;
    • staff training;
    • in the case of schools and institutions, recruiting a nurse for an educational setting in consultation with the competent National Health Service centre.

Public schools are required to provide preventive healthcare and pre-medical care to pupils. Nurses in an educational setting or school nurses provide preventive health care. Nurses are not school employees. They only provide preventive health care on school premises.

Decisions as to whether a pupil should follow individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes or individualised teaching for health reasons are made in the form of a statements/certificate by committees at public counselling and guidance centres.

Individualised preschool preparatory classes and individual teaching are organised in such a way as to ensure the implementation of recommendations made in a statement/certificate.

Individualised preschool preparatory classes and individual teaching provided to children or pupils whose ill health prevents them from attending a nursery school, alternative preschool education setting or school are organised in their place of residence, in particular in their family home.

The scope, place and time of individualised preschool preparatory classes and individual teaching are agreed with the relevant school/institution managing body by:

  • nursery school heads,
  • school heads,
  • persons managing alternative preschool education settings.

In the case of children or pupils whose health problems significantly hinder them in attending a nursery school, another preschool education setting or school, such classes may also be organised in a nursery school, alternative preschool education setting or school respectively, if:

  • the statement/certificate provides for such options;
  • a given nursery school, alternative preschool education setting or school has premises where such classes could be held.

Individualised preschool preparatory classes:

  • cover contents included in the core curriculum for preschool education; however, at teachers’ request, nursery school heads may decide not to cover some contents of the core curriculum considering the child’s psychological and physical abilities and the conditions in the place where such classes are held;
  • classes are conducted by one or two teachers;
  • the weekly number of hours of individual preschool preparatory classes conducted in individual contact with the child:
  • is from 4 to 6 hours, spread over at least 2 days;
  • may exceed 6 hours upon the consent of the school/institution managing body;
  • may be lower than 4 hours at the request of parents in cases duly justified by the child’s ill health, however, the necessity to implement the core curriculum for preschool education should be taken into account;
  • while taking account of recommendations made in a statement/certificate or the child’s current health condition, children whose ill health hinders them in attending a nursery school, alternative preschool education setting or school may – in addition to their weekly number of hours of individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes – participate in classes developing their interests and talents, celebrations and nursery school or school events and in selected activities in a nursery school class.

Individual teaching:

  • comprises compulsory educational classes as provided for in the outline timetables for a given type of school; however, at teachers’ request, school heads may decide not to cover some contents considering the child’s psychological and physical abilities and the conditions in the place where such classes are held;
  • classes are provided by:
  • one or two teachers in Grades 1-3 of the primary school,
  • one or several teachers in Grades 4-6 of the primary school, and in lower and upper secondary schools;
  • the weekly number of class hours conducted in individual contact with a pupil or student:
  • is from 6 to 8 hours for pupils in Grades 1-3 of the primary school;
  • is from 8 to 10 hours for pupils in Grades 4-6 of the primary school;
  • is from 10 to 12 hours for lower secondary school students;
  • is from 12 to 16 hours for upper secondary school students;
  • may exceed the maximum number of hours upon the consent of the managing body;
  • may be lower than the minimum number of hours at the request of parents in cases duly justified by the child’s ill health; however, the necessity to implement the core curriculum for preschool education should be taken into account;
  • while taking account of recommendations made in a statement/certificate or a pupil’s current health condition, pupils whose ill health hinders them in attending school may – in addition to their weekly number of hours of individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes – participate in classes developing their interests and talents, celebrations or school events and in selected activities in a school class.

Rehabilitation classes for disabled children and psychological and educational support are organised in addition to the weekly number of hours of individualised preschool preparatory classes or individual teaching.

(Regulation of the Minister of Education of 28 August 2014 on individualised one-year preschool preparatory classes for children and individualised teaching for children and young people: Journal of Law, item 1157).

Adjustments in the primary school test and secondary school examinations

The conditions and - in the case of disabled pupils and school leavers - also forms of the test at the end of primary education, the lower secondary school leaving examination, the maturity examination at the end of upper secondary school and the examination confirming vocational qualifications should be adapted for pupils with special educational needs.

The adjustment of the form of tests or external examinations to the needs of disabled pupils and school leavers consists in the preparation of separate examination sheets adapted to a particular kind of disability; however, no examination sheets are prepared for school leavers holding a statement/certificate recommending special education because of mild intellectual disability (this refers to the maturity examinations and examinations confirming vocational qualifications).

The adjustment of the conditions consists in:

  • minimising limitations related to disability, social maladjustment or being at risk of social maladjustment;
  • providing an appropriate place of work adapted to the educational needs and psychological and physical abilities of exam takers;
  • using suitable specialised equipment and educational resources;
  • extending the duration of tests or exams;
  • determining the principles of assessing solved tasks, while taking account of the educational needs and psychological physical abilities of exam takers;
  • during tests or examinations, ensuring the presence and assistance of a teacher helping with writing and reading, depending on the type of disability, social maladjustment or a risk thereof, if it is necessary to communicate with a disabled student/school leaver or to use specialist equipment and resources; the presence of a specialist in a particular type of disability, if it is necessary to communicate with a disabled student/school leaver or to use specialist equipment and resources.

Pupils with mild intellectual disabilities are exempt from an examination in a modern language at the extended level. However, they may take such examinations at their parents’ request.

The Head of a Regional Examination Board may exempt fully or partly the following pupils from the primary school test and the lower secondary school examination:

  • pupils with multiple disabilities - at the request of their parents favourably considered by the school head;
  • pupils with serious health problems and in a difficult situation for reasons beyond their control – at the request of the school head submitted following consultation with their parents or an adult learner.

Children and young people with a moderate, significant or severe degree of intellectual disability do not take tests and external examinations.

Buildings housing nursery schools, schools and educational institutions should comply with technical specifications for public utility buildings. These specifications provide for access for disabled persons (Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure of 12 April 2002 on technical specifications to be complied with by buildings and their localisation: Journal of Law 2015, No. 3, item 1422)

Requirements concerning the premises where alternative preschool education settings may be situated are set out in detail in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 31 August 2010 on alternative preschool education settings, conditions for creating and organising such settings and the way in which they operate, Journal of Law No. 161, item 1080, and 2011, No. 143, item 839)

Early support for children’s development is provided in educational institutions which are able to implement recommendations made in statements/certificates recommending early support for children’s development, and which, in particular, possess teaching resources and equipment indispensable to provide such activities.

Early support for disabled children’s development is provided in public and non-public:

  • nursery schools,
  • primary schools,
  • special education-and-care centres,
  • special education centres,
  • rehabilitation and education centres,
  • counselling and guidance centres, including specialised centres.